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I’m the mother I am thanks to my daughter’s disability

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On the first Mother’s Day that my daughter, Sesha, no longer lived at home with us, I received a lovely basket with various hand-crafted gifts from her. With help from her aide, she handed it over to me, and as I gushed she looked so very pleased.Mother’s Day is a time for children to reflect on what their mothers have done for them and to express gratitude in the form or flowers, meals in restaurants, or a sweetly written card or letter. I am fortunate enough to have two wonderful children who are now adults. Every Mother’s Day I get a beautifully written note from my son Leo—I cherish each word—and often a gift or visit expressing his gratitude.And while I may get a hand-made card and a hand-crafted gift from my daughter, the words on her card do not come from her, and the hand-crafted items are not from her hands. Although she is 49 years old, even releasing the gift so that she could hand it over to me was an achievement. Sesha has very significant developmental, intellectual and physical disabilities. Yet I look forward to the gratitude I will feel in response to my son’s thoughtful, eloquent words, and to the smile, hug, and efforts from my daughter.You see, Sesha is not a tragedy and she, no less than my son, makes me want to express my gratitude to her for the rich experience of being a mother. Many may wonder at this, and so on this Mother’s Day I want to turn the tables on the standard narrative—a grateful child thanking and extolling the mother. It seems the right moment to explain how something so many fear has given me something to cherish. For she has elevated my understanding of a mother’s love.I don’t think I am at all exceptional in not only accepting my disabled child, but feeling deeply grateful for her. Nor is my feeling surprising for most whose lives are inflected by disability. Let me tell you about a mother I know. She had one daughter as significantly disabled as my own, who very sadly passed away shortly after her thirtieth. . .

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News source: OUPblog » Philosophy

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