Does Mother’s Day make you sad? You’re not the only one

Gus and Beth.

Gus and Beth

For years after our son Gus was born, I begged my husband Mike not to get me a gift for Mother’s Day. “I’m not your mother!” I told him.

Our son Gus has severe mental and physical disabilities — he doesn’t understand what Mother’s Day is. Gus wouldn’t be making me a card. He wouldn’t be presenting me with dandelions picked especially for me. I knew that. But I was determined not to let any of that bother me. I knew I was a good mother, and I knew my son loved me in his own special way.

And then one year — Gus must have been 5 or 6 — I burst into tears on Mother’s Day. “I’ll never get to celebrate like all the other mothers do!” I wailed. Poor Mike didn’t know what to do.

This article about Parental Grief and Adjustment to a Child with a Disability reassured me I am not alone when it comes to feeling a bit of sadness on Mother’s Day — in fact, Mother’s Day is one of the more common occasions of stress for families of a child with a disability. Ditto Father’s Day.

Ever since that outburst of mine, we’ve gone out of our way to celebrate Mother’s Day, and not always in traditional ways. This Sunday we’re heading to a White Sox game — it’s Family Sunday at White Sox Park. We’re proud of Gus, and I’m proud to be his mom. We’ll order hot dogs, clink our plastic cups at Sunday’s game, say “cheers” to Gus and hope for another White Sox win.


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  1. Beth Finke Says:

    Ah, yes. I just appreciate he recognizes me as his mom!

  2. Andrew Says:

    First you’re “my mommy”, then you become “oh that’s just my mom”. Shortly you’re “uhg…mom”, and at some point, in their teens you become a piece of furniture. You will become “hey mom”, then “mom, what do you think”. Eventually you will hear your own voice and thoughts coming straight out of their mouths and you’re ” my MOM”.

  3. Beth Finke Says:

    I understand what you mean.

  4. Susan Molica Says:

    My son was not born special needs but became special needs do to illness when he getting ready to enter Jr HS. It is a miracle that he is alive. I do mourn for the child he was who died. It was as if a death;

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