As Mother’s Day passed this week I found myself thinking about my Mom and how all I am today is because of her. To be sure my Dad was there and providing for our family like Dads did in those days. It was my Mom though who never let me quit. That is the story of Moms across the disability community.
It is sad to say, but true that when a child with a disability comes into a family at birth or later by accident or disease it is most often the father who cannot take it on and becomes distant or leaves all together. It is our Moms that stay the course, learn, teach, fight, and become our greatest cheerleaders.
It is no secret that Dads today are more involved with their children then when I was a boy. It is also no secret that in many families’ fathers struggle when they find out that Johnny is not going to be a football player or even walk or see again. From the time I was young up until today I have witnessed Moms become the Steele backbone that keeps the family going and refuses to allow their child with a disability to quit.
If you want to have your heart opened, then visit a children’s hospital or a class room where Moms volunteer to help their child and others with disabilities. You may see in a moment how tired they are, but not when their child can see them.
In 2018 quite often both parents and sometimes even the older siblings work to support the family. In families where there is a child with a disability a large part of that support often is centered on that child especially when the complications of a significant disability come into play. More often than not, it is the Mom who coordinates, galvanizes and focuses the family.
In 2018 when single parent homes are often the case we do find the role of Mom and Dad being filled by one person who must manage all that is necessary. When there is a child with a disability in the picture family life gets more complicated with the complexity of the disability. Everyone must pitch in.
Where we find families that include a Mom with a disability they are today often required to fight to keep their children. This is because of an ugly trend today that finds the State and sometimes the courts challenging the right and ability of a parent to raise their own children. Why is this happening? I believe quite often it is because those challenging the circumstances are just scared at the prospect and cannot find it in themselves to face such a prospect.
Many people without disabilities are afraid of disability because they do not see how they would face the same issues. Through all these complexities it is the Mom who stands strong in the vortex of life that protects and provides.
My Mom Thelma was all a child with a disability could ever hope for. She never wavered in her support and encouragement of my sister and myself who are both totally blind. She never said you cannot, she always approached things from the point of view of what will make it happen. We most always found a way.
All I am or ever hope to be is in large part due to her. When I became one of the first blind students to graduate from public school in New York she gave me a beautiful rose wood briefcase and said, “get a job.” She gave me the support I needed to do what I wanted to do, but never enough so I could sit around and do nothing. I love you Mom.
Douglas George Towne
Chair/Chief Executive Officer – Access Ready Inc.