Saturday, March 06, 2010

Babies with Something More

I originally posted this two years ago, but it says a lot about what I feel today ... especially the part about what mother's want. Praise God He is trustworthy to equip us for what He calls us to!

SOME MOTHERS GET BABIES WITH SOMETHING MORE by Lori Borgman, newspaper columnist and author

My friend is expecting her first child. People keep asking what she wants. She smiles demurely, shakes her head and gives the answer mothers have given throughout the ages of time. She says it doesn't matter whether it's a boy or a girl. She just wants it to have ten fingers and ten toes. Of course, that's what she says. That's what mothers have always said.

Mothers lie.

Truth be told, every mother wants a whole lot more. Every mother wants a perfectly healthy baby with a round head, rosebud lips, button nose, beautiful eyes and satin skin. Every mother wants a baby so gorgeous that people will pity the Gerber baby for being flat-out ugly.

Every mother wants a baby that will roll over, sit up and take those first steps right on schedule. Every mother wants a baby that can see, hear, run, jump and fire neurons by the billions. She wants a kid that can smack the ball out of the park and do toe points that are the envy of the entire ballet class. Call it greed if you want, but we mothers want what we want.

Some mothers get babies with something more. Some mothers get babies with conditions they can't pronounce, a spine that didn't fuse, a missing chromosome or a palette that didn't close. Most of those mothers can remember the time, the place, the shoes they were wearing and the color of the walls in the small, suffocating room where the doctor uttered the words that took their breath away. It felt like recess in the fourth grade when you didn't see the kick ball coming and it knocked the wind clean out of you.

Some mothers leave the hospital with a healthy bundle, then, months, even years later, take him in for a routine visit, or schedule her for a well check, and crash head first into a brick wall as they bear the brunt of devastating news. It can't be possible! That doesn't run in our family. Can this really be happening in our lifetime?

I am a woman who watches the Olympics for the sheer thrill of seeing finely sculpted bodies. It's not a lust thing; it's a wondrous thing. The athletes appear as specimens without flaw - rippling muscles with nary an ounce of flab or fat, virtual powerhouses of strength with lungs and limbs working in perfect harmony. Then the athlete walks over to a tote bag, rustles through the contents and pulls out an inhaler.

As I've told my own kids, be it on the way to physical therapy after a third knee surgery, or on a trip home from an echo cardiogram, there's no such thing as a perfect body. Everybody will bear something at some time or another. Maybe the affliction will be apparent to curious eyes, or maybe it will be unseen, quietly treated with trips to the doctor, medication or surgery.

The health problems our children have experienced have been minimal and manageable, so I watch with keen interest and great admiration the mothers of children with serious disabilities, and wonder how they do it. Frankly, sometimes you mothers scare me. How you lift that child in and out of a wheelchair 20 times a day. How you monitor tests, track medications, regulate diet and serve as the gatekeeper to a hundred specialists yammering in your ear. I wonder how you endure the praise and the platitudes, well-intentioned souls explaining how God is at work when you've occasionally questioned if God is on strike. I even wonder how you endure schmaltzy pieces like this one saluting you, painting you as hero and saint, when you know you’re ordinary. You snap, you bark, you bite. You didn't volunteer for this. You didn't jump up and down in the motherhood line yelling, "Choose me, God! Choose me! I've got what it takes."

You're a woman who doesn't have time to step back and put things in perspective, so, please, let me do it for you. From where I sit, you're way ahead of the pack. You've developed the strength of a draft horse while holding onto the delicacy of a daffodil. You have a heart that melts like chocolate in a glove box in July, carefully counter-balanced against the stubbornness of an Ozark mule. You can be warm and tender one minute, and when circumstances require, intense and aggressive the next. You are the mother, advocate and protector of a child with a disability. You're a neighbor, a friend, a stranger I pass at the mall. You're the woman I sit next to at church, my cousin and my sister-in-law. You're a woman who wanted ten fingers and ten toes, and got something more. You're a wonder.


The Cabe Family said...

This is an amazing piece! I am praying for complete healing for baby Jackson and for you and Ed as you travel this yucky winding road. Please let me know if there is anything that we can help you with! (Having the kids over during dr. visits, for example...)

Beth Rainey said...

Don't even get me started!!! Well, I'm here so I guess I'll start myself. I think Josh's issues were harder to accept, even though they were less severe than Lauren's because it meant that both of my kids were affected. Having one child with special needs is difficult enough but when there are two, it's just doesn't seen right in the universe some how.

Then again, I feel weird saying that. Who am I to say I'm not supposed to be the mom with 2 special needs kids. God allowed it to happen, didn't stop it, so He has a plan. I have tons of faith in Him.

Plus, I know that there are many parents out there that could not handle being Lauren and Josh's parents. My kids would be in foster care, out on the streets, drop-outs, or much worse(!) if they'd have had parents that were permissive, not on top of things all the time, not determined, positive, etc. You guys are the perfect people to raise your unique children and you'll do the same with baby Jackson. I LOVE the name, by the way! Is Erin happy now?

You and Ed are amazing. I love you guys with all my heart and do know how you are feeling. My heart is breaking for you, yet celebrating for baby Jackson to be so blessed to be given parents such as you two, not to mention the awesome brothers and sisters he will have to love and support him, figuratively and literally.

You and Ed also have more to learn from Jackson, and I know you already know this, because you are so perceptive and wise and tuned in. You talk all the time about how Jordan is a blessing in your life (most days, right? :) ) and just think what this handsome little guy will contribute. I can't wait to meet him.

Hey, maybe this means that we all get to hold him just a bit longer!! It took all the rest a bit longer to walk. He's just going to be following the trend.

We love you bunches!