A Mother’s Tough, Tough Love


People are always under the assumption that my parents somehow babied me or made my life as easy as possible because I was their disabled child—nothing could be further from the truth. Unless I was recovering from surgery or some particularly bad fall or incident, I was expected to take out the trash, wash the dishes and clean my room like any other child. Unlike any other child, though, my parents were tough on me in ways that other kids weren’t used to. Because of CP, I am sometimes unable to talk without my legs reacting—they sometimes move when I get excited by what I am saying or if something interesting is happening in the room. As a kid, after school, my mom would sit me on the bench that a church member had given me and on her knees before me, would hold my legs down as I told her about my day. In the beginning, I found it difficult to focus on what I was saying and keeping my legs still so that they didn’t fly up and kick her in the face. Day after day we would perform this ritual and if anyone had borne witness to this strange behavior, my mother would have definitely been labeled as a cruel parent. Over time, though, I was able to effectively talk without walking—which might seem like a strange accomplishment, but it serves me well to be able to carry on a conversation without injuring anyone (for the most part, and if I do, it’s their own fault). But more important than that, it speaks to the woman my mother is: steadfast. She gives up on nothing, even when you really, really want her to. Because of who she is, I am who I am: the independent daughter whose instinct it is to call her at the end of each day to tell her how it went. So, happy Mothers Day to all the steadfast moms.

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