Wednesday, January 6, 2016

A letter to those who call me an inspiration

When I think about people who embody the definition of the word inspiration, the names of Helen Keller, Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder, or others who have overcome substantial obstacles flash across.  I think about those who have made profound contributions to society, Bill Gates, Albert Einstein, or Steve Jobs.  I see the faces of those who have forged through roadblocks and were forced to defend himself or herself, Rosa Parks, Mahatma Gandhi, or Anne Frank.  I think about countless others who lay their lives on the line daily protecting our streets, our communities, our countries.  

I personally do not feel comfortable being placed amongst these prestigious ranks.  The people I have mentioned have made a profound impact on millions upon billions of people.  They have redefined industries and caused ripple effects that have lasted decades beyond their times, they are visionaries.  When I think of myself, the word that comes to the forefront of my mind is "mom".

I am a mom of four beautiful children, three who are typical, and one who has CDKL5, a genetic disorder that will leave her with a lifetime battling seizures and profound developmental delays.  I will make decisions on all of my children's behalves until they are old enough to weigh in.  I will be an advocate for all of my children no matter their cognitive abilities.  I will defend my children in all situations.  I will love each of my children unconditionally, not because I am an inspiration, but because I am a mom.

I am a mom who makes mistakes daily, but who tries her best each day.  I may have to make decisions that you will never have to in your lifetime, but that does not make me any more of an inspiration than you.  I am sure you are faced with decisions that I am not.  Yes, I am a mom who is faced with tough challenges, but I am not alone, there are others on parallel journeys, others on journeys more difficult than mine.  I am not special.  I am a mom who will go to the ends of the earth, just like you, because that is what a mom does.  

While I appreciate your kind sentiment and am flattered that you hold me to such high esteem, I would like to ask, "Why am I considered to be inspirational?"  Is it because I have to watch my child endure minutes of daily seizures?  Is it because I have not publicly cracked under the insurmountable pressures of raising a child with special needs?  Is it because I do not place blame for the situation I am faced with, G-d included?  

While your words of encouragement, praise, and support offer me much needed support during my darker days.  I would like you to know that I am no-more an inspiration than YOU, the mom of one or multiple children; YOU, the mom of a typical child, YOU the mom of a special needs child; YOU, the mom of a child who is no longer physically present.  It may appear that I am an inspiration, but I assure you, I am not doing anything differently than YOU would do if you found yourself in my shoes. 


I am just a mom.  

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