How do special moms celebrate Mother’s Day?

Mother’s Day can be a mixed blessing for a woman who has a child with a disability. For years after my son was born, I begged my husband not to get me a gift for Mother’s Day. “I’m not your mother!” I told him.

I knew my son wouldn’t be making me a card. He wouldn’t be presenting me with dandelions picked especially for me. My son has severe mental and physical disabilities — he doesn’t understand what Mother’s Day is.

I was determined not to let any of that bother me though. I knew I was a good mother, and I knew my son loved me in his own special way.

And then one year — my son 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. My poor husband didn’t know what to do.

This article on parental grief and adjustment to a child with disabilities reassures me I am not alone when it comes to feeling a bit of sadness on Mother’s Day. It lists Mother’s Day as one of the “common occasions of stress for families of a child with a disability.”

Ever since that outburst of mine, we’ve gone out of our way to celebrate Mother’s Day. This year we started early. Last weekend I needed new clothes. My husband came along on a shopping spree. When I couldn’t decide between two outfits, he whispered, “get them both.” He said our son wanted me to have new clothes for Mother’s Day. I wore one of the new outfits last night. We went out for a special dinner. I’m making up for lost time — instead of Mother’s Day, I now celebrate Mother’s Week!

And for the real Mother’s Day we’re heading to Wisconsin to visit our grown son in his group home. We’re proud of him. I’m proud to be his mom and happy to celebrate as a family.

I’d love to hear how other special moms have come to terms with Mother’s Day and how other families with special children celebrate each year — I’m always open to new ideas.


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