Two inspirational articles are below. The first honors mothers of children with special needs. Our two cents is that it honors the fathers too. The second honors the children themselves, and the purest form of love.
Some Mothers Get Babies With Something More
By Lori Borgman
Jewish World Review May 10, 2002
My friend is expecting her first child. People keep asking what she wants. She smiles demurely, shakes her head and gives the answer mothers have given throughout the ages of time. She says it doesn't matter whether it's a boy or a girl. She just wants it to have ten fingers and ten toes. Of course, that's what she says. That's what mothers have always said.
Truth be told, every mother wants a whole lot more. Every mother wants a perfectly healthy baby with a round head, rosebud lips, button nose, beautiful eyes and satin skin. Every mother wants a baby so gorgeous that people will pity the Gerber baby for being flat-out ugly. Every mother wants a baby that will roll over, sit up and take those first steps right on schedule. Every mother wants a baby that can see, hear, run, jump and fire neurons by the billions.
She wants a kid that can smack the ball out of the park and do toe points that are the envy of the entire ballet class. Call it greed if you want, but we mothers want what we want.
Some mothers get babies with something more. Some mothers get babies with conditions they can't pronounce, a spine that didn't fuse, a missing chromosome or a palate that didn't close. Most of those mothers can remember the time, the place, the shoes they were wearing and the color of the walls in the small, suffocating room where the doctor uttered the words that took their breath away.
It felt like recess in the fourth grade when you didn't see the kick ball coming and it knocked the wind clean out of you. Some mothers leave the hospital with a healthy bundle, then, months, even years later, take him in for a routine visit, or schedule her for a well check, and crash head first into a brick wall as they bear the brunt of devastating news. It can't be possible! That doesn't run in our family. Can this really be happening in our lifetime?
I am a woman who watches the Olympics for the sheer thrill of seeing finely sculpted bodies. It's not a lust thing; it's a wondrous thing. The athletes appear as specimens without flaw - rippling muscles with nary an ounce of flab or fat, virtual powerhouses of strength with lungs and limbs working in perfect harmony. Then the athlete walks over to a tote bag, rustles through the contents and pulls out an inhaler.
As I've told my own kids, be it on the way to physical therapy after a third knee surgery, or on a trip home from an echocardiogram, there's no such thing as a perfect body. Everybody will bear something at some time or another. Maybe the affliction will be apparent to curious eyes, or maybe it will be unseen, quietly treated with trips to the doctor, medication or surgery.
The health problems our children have experienced have been minimal and manageable, so I watch with keen interest and great admiration the mothers of children with serious disabilities, and wonder how they do it. Frankly, sometimes you mothers scare me. How you lift that child in and out of a wheelchair 20 times a day. How you monitor tests, track medications, regulate diet and serve as the gatekeeper to a hundred specialists yammering in your ear.
I wonder how you endure the praise and the platitudes, well-intentioned souls explaining how God is at work when you've occasionally questioned if God is on strike. I even wonder how you endure schmaltzy pieces like this one saluting you, painting you as hero and saint, when you know you're ordinary. You snap, you bark, you bite. You didn't volunteer for this. You didn't jump up and down in the motherhood line yelling, "Choose me, God! Choose me! I've got what it takes."
You're a woman who doesn't have time to step back and put things in perspective, so, please, let me do it for you.
From where I sit, you're way ahead of the pack. You've developed the strength of a draft horse while holding onto the delicacy of a daffodil. You have a heart that melts like chocolate in a glove box in July, carefully counter-balanced against the stubbornness of an Ozark mule. You can be warm and tender one minute, and when circumstances require, intense and aggressive the next. You are the mother, advocate and protector of a child with a disability. You're a neighbor, a friend, a stranger I pass at the mall. You're the woman I sit next to at church, my cousin and my sister-in-law.
You're a woman who wanted ten fingers and ten toes, and got something more. You're a wonder. Happy Mother's Day.
Lori Borgman is a newspaper columnist, author, and wrote "I Was a Better Mother Before I Had Kids."
Why does God create handicapped babies?
By Aron Moss
Every birth is a gamble. A soul enters the world innocent and pure. But it may not stay that way. This world is a maze of diverging pathways, both good and evil, and the choice is ours, which way we go. Once a soul enters a body, it is free and therefore vulnerable to corruption. While acts of good elevate the soul, every act of evil makes a blemish on the soul.
Some souls are so lofty it simply isn't worth the gamble. These souls are too precious to risk being compromised by life in a body. They are too high to come down to this world. But the other option, not to be sent down at all, to never reach this world, would mean that we would miss out on meeting these holy and lofty souls and hearing their message.
So these souls do come down. But in order to be protected from the potential evils of an earthly existence, they are sent down into a body that will not compromise their holiness. They enter this world in a form that is above sin, above evil. From a purely physical perspective we call them "disabled" or "handicapped"; from the perspective of the soul, they are protected. They will never sin. Their sojourn in this world is often brief, and in terms of this world may seem sad. But they have retained their purity, and they have fulfilled their mission.
These special souls remind us that true love does not need a reason. We often love others for what they give us - we love our children because they are cute, smart and high achievers; we love our spouse for the contentment they give us; we love our parents because they care - but it is not pure. When a child is born that will never achieve worldly success, cannot provide the usual source of pride for her parents, all extraneous reasons to love her fall away and what's left is the purest love that can be. These children are lovable not because of what they do for you, and of because of what they will one day become, but simply because they are.
These pure souls remind us what love should be. Only such a pure and holy soul can elicit such a pure and holy emotion. We can only stand in awe of them, and the parents and friends who care for them. And we can only thank them all, for giving us a glimpse of what true love really means.
Rabbi Aron Moss teaches Kabbalah, Talmud and practical Judaism.