As usual, there are lots of things being posted on Facebook about being a mother, about what type of mother to be, and posts reminding people that there are people hurting out there who would like to be mothers or who are missing their mother, etc.
One that struck a chord with me was this article listing the wonders of a special needs mother from Huffington Post.
It struck me two ways. The first way would be obvious...my son is a special needs child. Yes, a lot of the things listed in the article I have done and will continue to do.
However, looking at the list, started giving me mixed emotions. Because some of the items on the list, like patience and energy and flexibility...well, those are items that every mother needs to deal with all the time. Just because I have a child who is special needs doesn't mean I am superior or that I have special MOM powers. It just means that I have to tap into those abilities far more often.
This (almost past) school year has been a trying time as a parent for me. Michael is dealing with his identity not only as a teenager/young adult/high schooler but as a person who has special needs and issues.
Last week, his English class read a book about autism and Michael asked us to read it too. In reading it, I realized some things about being his mother. Some I am very proud of, some I wonder at my naivety regarding his issues. I am very proud that I have always treated him as a "normal" child. I have always expected him to do his best and to challenge himself. I realized that some of that was because for the longest time I just assumed he was just a bit quirky, or "just" had ADHD, the diagnosis of High Functioning Aspergers was actually not final until he was in middle school after all. I think Michael and we as his parents are still trying to find our way through his Aspergers and while his transition to high school has been tough, I have seen my son start to emerge and progress to someone who can have a fulfilling life.
This does not mean I don't worry about him constantly. I think the amount of stress the last year or so has put on both his father and I has been pretty measurable. But I don't think this makes me an extraordinary mother.
In fact, I worry that I have been not as dutiful in the past year with our daughter as I should have been. The energy has not been there sometimes and I know there have been times when I have not had it in me to go that extra mile for her.
But that is also part of being a mother. Knowing when you need to do better. Knowing when you need to listen more. Knowing that time is short and they are changing before your eyes.
Part of being a mother is learning and adapting. Learning from your children...that is something I take to heart. Because I find them the most loving, intelligent, wacky, annoying, exhausting, wonderful people in my life.
Today was a bit frustrating for me...I was single parent most of the day and the kids were mostly good, but there were some challenges that presented themselves. (Willow shoes, Michael having constipation and obsessing over it--being in a restaurant and Michael needing to do his pacing, etc.) All in all, nothing extraordinary...in fact, pretty normal stuff. Another normal --- Michael taking his sister out to play zombie while I was busy helping grandma; Willow hugging me and telling me how much she loved me, Michael talking about the Eddie Izzard concert to his father, telling him the jokes and showing him how much he enjoyed it).
Despite the stresses of the past year, on the eve of Mother's Day....all I can think of is how wonderful my children are and how thankful I am to be a mother to both of them.