The Special Mother...
by Erma Bombeck
Most 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 these mothers 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 take notes
in a giant ledger.
"Armstrong, Beth, son. Patron Saint, Matthew."
"Forrest, Marjorie, daughter. Patron Saint, Celia."
"Rutledge, Carrie, twins. Patron Saint...give
her Gerard. He's 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's
"Exactly," smiles God. "Could I give
a handicapped child a mother who knows no laughter?
That would be cruel."
"But does she have the patience?" asks the
"I don't want her to have too much patience,
or she'll drown in a sea of self-pity and despair.
Once the shock and resentment wear off she'll handle
"I watched her today.
She has that sense of self and independence so rare
and so necessary in a mother.
You see, the child I'm going to give her has a world
of it's own.
She has to make it live in her world, and that's not
going to be easy."
"But Lord, I don't think she even believes in
God smiles. "No matter, I can fix that. This
one is perfect. She has just enough selfishness."
The angel gasps, "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 whom I will bless with a child
less than perfect.
She doesn't know 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 witness to a miracle and know it.
I will permit her to see clearly the things I see--ignorance,
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
Because she is doing my work as surely as she is here
by my side."
"And what about her Patron Saint?" asks
the angel, his pen poised in the air. God smiles.
"A mirror will suffice."
to Touching Our Hearts
The support, information and encouragement provided by the PPFL parents is not meant to take the place of medical advice by a medical professional. Any specific questions about care should be directed to a health care professional familiar with the situation.