Yesterday was “spread the word to end the word” day – and I just wanted to let you moms know that you and your children are loved! ~Jessica
I’ve watched you incredible mamas of kids with special needs pour your hearts out. Your beautiful, passionate, and honest words have had this “typical” mom in tears.
I’ve read your heart – of the ache that cuts deep, the life shattered into a million tiny pieces, and yet the breathtaking beauty found in unexpected places.
And I sit here with my stomach in my throat cringing at the ways I may have hurt you. The ways I still hurt you. The times when I have no idea how to respond and yet babble the first words I can think of without really thinking, or when I spill gruesome silence and awkward stares instead of a blessing. The times I wrestle with whether to help or smile or just ignore.
And I am sorry.
I hope you know that it’s not because I want to hurt you or desire to make things more difficult for you. Those ignorant comments and thoughtless looks that pierce your heart and hurt for days? or years? They’re most likely completely inadvertent. I either had no idea of the pain I caused, or spent hours in bed stewing over the awkward situation wishing I could make it better.
I know not everyone feels that way. I know there are mean people out there that say ugly things just because they can. Some people are just nasty. And then there are others of us with ruler in hand desperately trying to measure our own worthiness against you and your child.
But maybe we’re all like that to some degree?
Every time I think of how I would do things differently. And every time you compare my child with yours. Every time I usher my children away from the uncomfortable differences that are your everyday. And every time you display my inconsiderate comment to others on Facebook or write me off as just another one of those “typical” moms.
You and me and all of us tearing each other down – whether we’re trying to or not.
I hope that we can extend forgiveness and grace to one another.
For I think we’ve all been in those delicate moments when one of our children is shrieking and drooling in the library or throwing stuff off the shelf at the grocery store or going into complete meltdown mode because the boy next to him isn’t lining up the cars perfectly according to make, model, and color hue.
And we’ve all had days (maybe too many to count) when all we know to do is tie the end of our rope and hang on for dear life.
For the conundrum is that my six very normal kids shriek and drool and throw tantrums too. And I’ve felt my cheeks burn to blazing, and my hands all raw from gripping onto that rope.
But I know to you it’s very, very different. Your lows may dig much deeper and the highs may soar higher. There’s this love unspeakable, and yet a countless number of tears that no one else – this side of heaven – sees.
And I want to help. And I want to say the right thing. And I want to try to understand. But it’s here that I’m afraid. I’m afraid of hurting you more. And I’m afraid that I’ll be your next angry tweet victim. For as much as I would like to, I know that I will never completely understand. But you know that too, don’t you!? And maybe that’s why you feel so alone.
As if you have to fight and battle and build bridges all by yourself.
And here I sit on the other side feeling just as lonely.
But what I want you to know is that you are not alone. I see you. And I see your precious children.
I’ve seen the struggle and the grief and the joys and the breathtaking beauty –
The courage and the intense yet dazzling perseverance.
I’ve seen the fears and the longing for just one hour alone with your husband.
I’ve watched you reinvent a whole new way of cooking. And I’ve seen you cheer because you only have one appointment to take your child and all those extra pieces of equipment to every day this week. I’ve witnessed the cries of desperation when you can’t understand the words of your five year-old or leave the house without tantrums raging or pay the medical bills that keep piling. And I’ve sat speechless as you’ve humbly changed the poopy diaper of your nine year-old daughter. I’ve rejoiced with you from afar over each tiny accomplishment, and witnessed the beautiful way those little (and not-so-little) lives have wrapped around your heart forever. And I’ve seen the indescribable way you look beyond the disability to see the priceless value of the person. Oh, how I admire you.
And with a tear stained face I’ve beheld those tender moments when you’ve held a seemingly broken baby in your arms. When you’ve wrestled between the ache of what could have been and the sweetness of what is.
And there in your reflection I see someone different, yet so much like me.
Lonely. Fearful. Some days just barely hanging on. Hurting. Desperate. So thankful for His grace.
Brave. Compassionate. Finding beauty in the pieces. Warrior. Lover. Friend. Mommy.
And so I’m wondering if we can reach out and grab a hold of one another. If we can start building together. If we can go to battle on the same team. For that’s what we moms do – isn’t it!? We battle for hearts and lives and truth and little people and what is right.
I see you. Not with pity. Not with despondent sympathy. But with love.
Love – one of your greatest fans