When you are raising kids with mental health issues you get used to having your kids identified by the letters tacked on to the back of their name. ADHD, ODD, OCD ... It is very challenging when there is only one child in the house with these issues but in mine we have FIVE. Sometimes I just wonder what I did in a former life to have been sentenced to a life that revolves around their moods, doctor and therapy appointments, medication schedules ...
Every now again when I feel the "burden" of being a mom to 7 kids, 5 with mental illness, I pull up this page - have a good cry - and realize how blessed I really am. I don't know who wrote the following, but an on-line friend (who I have lost touch with) had this on her web page. I copied it down and keep it in a special file on my desk top for days like today when I start feeling a pity party coming on.
Some women become mothers by accident, some by choice, a few by social pressure and a couple by habit.
This year, nearly 100,000 women will become mothers of handicapped children. Did you ever wonder how mothers of handicapped children are chosen? Somehow I visualize God hovering over earth selecting His instruments for propagation with great care and deliberation.
As He observes, He instructs His angels to make notes in a giant ledger.
"Armstrong, Beth, son... Patron Saint, Matthew"
"Forrest, Marjorie, daughter...Patron Saint, Cecilia"
"Rutledge, Karen, Twins...Patron Saint...give her Gerard, he is used to profanity."
Finally, He passes a name to an angel and smiles, "Give her a handicapped child."
The angel is curious, "Why this one, God? She is so happy."
"Exactly," smiled God. "Could I give a handicapped child to a mother who does not know laughter? That would be cruel."
"But has she got patience?" asked the angel.
"I don't want her to have too much patience or she will drown in a sea of self pity and despair. Once the shock and resentment wear off, she'll handle it. I watched her today. She has that feeling of self and independence that is so rare and so necessary in a mother. You see, the child I am going to give her has his own world. She has to make the child live in her world and that is not going to be easy."
"But Lord, I don't think she even believes in You."
God smiled, "No matter. I can fix that. This one is perfect. She has just enough selfishness."
The angel gasped, "Selfishness? Is that a virtue?"
God nods. "If she can't separate herself from the child occasionally, she will never survive. Yes, here is a woman I will bless with a childless than perfect. She doesn't realize it yet, but she is to be envied. She will never take for granted a "spoken word." She will never consider a "step" ordinary. When her child says "Momma," for the first time, she will be present at a miracle and know it! When she describes a tree or sunset to a blind child, she will see it as few people ever see my creation. I will permit her to see clearly the things I see...ignorance, cruelty, prejudice... and allow her to rise above them. She will never be alone. I will be at her side every minute of every day of her life because she is doing My work as surely as if she were here by My side."
"And what about her Patron Saint?" asked the angel, his pen poised in mid air.
God smiles, "A mirror will suffice."