by: Camille Ovard
It was like any other morning. I pulled his shirt down over his head; put his socks on one foot at a time; then worked on his pants, carefully sliding each foot in the appropriate pant leg and fastening the snap at his waistline. But this time as I knelt on the floor facing him to put on his shoes, he deliberately took the shoes from my hands and with his right hand patted the seat next to him on the couch indicating he wanted me to sit down next to him.
I watched patiently as he held a shoe with both hands and moved his foot one way then the other while tugging the shoe with his hands, and then success. He held the shoelaces and made small circling motions with his hands, as he’d seen me do, and then went on to the next shoe. The look of victory and accomplishment was apparent in his face. Although he had asserted his independence in other matters before, this time was different. It touched my mother heart. For Dylan, our youngest child, was not a young child; he had just turned 18 years old.
He was born, as my four children before, with no unusual circumstances. But as his first days fell into weeks that turned into months, it was apparent that something was different. Dylan wasn’t progressing as my other children had. He wasn’t rolling over and sitting up at the appropriate “normal” times. An MRI at eight months confirmed my fears and showed damage in his brain caused by . . . no one knew; perhaps a lack of oxygen during pregnancy.
At that time, I couldn’t have imagined how mothering this wonderful little boy would shape and change my life. But isn’t that what mothers learn every day? Children change our lives. It doesn’t matter if we’re teaching our “normal” young one to say, “Mama” and “Da-Da,” or coming to a realization after years of “anything but normal” that our child will never be able to speak. When we become mothers, we never know exactly what experiences will come with this precious newborn gift from God placed in our arms. But we continue on and do our best. And our mother hearts grow. We wipe noses, doctor skinned knees, make birthday cakes, help with late-night school projects, worry about our teenagers, and pray. We pray a lot for our children. And we pray a lot for ourselves, that we can be patient, good mothers. Through wonderful times and through heartbreaking times, we serve our children and we love our children. We hope they will become responsible and loving adults. And when they move out on their own, we are so very proud of them, yet we still worry about them and do “mother” things. And when they are unable to move out on their own, and we know they never will, we continue to do “mother” things, for we are always mothers.