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Happy Mother’s Day to the Grandma of My Special Kid

Jamie Sumner
Special needs mom, author and blogger
05/02/19  10:37 AM PST

Dear Mom,

Today is your day too. I know you’ve had your fair share of Mother’s Days in the past and I hope you enjoyed each and every one. I’m sure there were ones you remember more than most. Maybe the very first year that you could officially be called “mom” or that time I gave you a tree, yes, a full-grown tree, which we had to plant on a day that was meant to be full of rest. But of all the Mother’s Days, I have a feeling the one you remember most is the one you spent in the NICU, with me, your only daughter, who had just become a mother herself. I knew nothing of motherhood other than the intensive care and wires and stats and things gone awry and you held my hand as I learned this new life.

In case you were wondering, you did alright by me. If asked, I’m sure you could name a laundry list of you own missteps (can’t we all), but somewhere down the line, you did something that made it possible for me to raise my special kid. You gave me grit – taught me the value in hard work. I can shovel a driveway, edge/weed/mulch a garden, and almost make “hospital corners” on the sheets. It is that stick-to-it-ness that got me through the ten weeks in the NICU and the night and day suctioning of the tracheotomy and the changing of the g-tube and the surgeries and the wait as we watched and wondered how my child would thrive.

But he did thrive. He graduated from the trach and the g-tube and gained a wheelchair and a speaking device. He is seven now and so very smart. And this is where the next part comes in. Along with grit you gave me love and showed me how to use it. Because of you, I read as many books as my kid asks for and sing nonsense songs even though I am never on key because kids don’t care and adults shouldn’t either. I am more patient because of you (or I am trying to be) and as he begins to push boundaries, as all kids do, you taught me to celebrate that too because it is the independence we have always hoped for.

I know there have been many held breaths as you watched me worry over my son, who must work so hard for things that come easy to others. But while I fight for him, you fight for me. You do the things that no one notices. You fold the laundry that has been in the dryer for a week. You wash the dishes sitting in the sink. You tell me where gas is cheapest and offer to drive my van to fill it up. You babysit. Oh, Mom, you babysit. It is a gift I did not know I needed, to be able to leave the house with my husband and know that our son is in the best possible hands. To know that he will actually eat his dinner and then be rocked in the swing on the porch and carried to his bed with so much love. When we come home, I know you will be there, on the couch, smiling in the glow of your iPad because you will be so glad to have done this for us. Though no doctor has confirmed it, your heart is bigger than most. I am sure of it.

So on this Mother’s Day, I would like to remind you of what I hope you already know: I am so grateful for you. Thank you for raising me to be uniquely suited to take care of my special boy. I mother the way I do because of you.

child with special needs

Jamie Sumner is a special needs mom and author.

Discover her new book, Roll with It.

Follow her on Facebook.

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