Wednesday, December 7, 2011
Beautiful Joy has a Beautiful Advocate
Yesterday, I wrote about my cousin April. I hope you got to read it. If you didn't, just go back one post until you see her joyful face!
Today, I want to write about a different kind of beauty. This beauty is cultivated in the hearts of mothers of children who need long-term support. Like April's mother, Julie. Julie is one of the most beautiful women I have ever known. Not just because she is my aunt, but because she is compassionate, fun, loyal to her family, and creative. She's also a life-long advocate for her daughter, April.
When women become mothers, advocating for our children becomes one of the most important aspects of our mothering. For some of our children, like April, that job is not only what we should do, it is a job that will not end.
Mothers need to intercede for their children all through the growing-up process. We need to make sure they are in the right classes at school. We help them figure out what to do if they are being bullied, and we need to step in when they can't handle it themselves. We get them up to meet the bus in the morning, we make sure they get their meals, get their sleep, and get the knowledge they need to make it in the grown-up world.
For Julie, and for other mothers I know, though, that basic need to actively seek the best for their children does not end when the child becomes an adult. April will always need her parents to advocate for her, almost as much as she needed them to do it when she was little. That job, for Julie, will not end. But that's ok, because Julie does not want to be in a world without April's joyful face. The love Julie has for April keeps her from being bitter about her own sacrifice, and she doesn't see it as sacrifice in the first place! She'll keep on advocating for her daughter, and she'll keep on becoming more and more beautiful because of it.
I know other mothers like Julie. Mothers who have children with autism, cancer, severe food allergies, ADHD, the list goes on. These 'mama bears' look after their 'cubs' with ferocity! Don't mess with them!
Really, though, isn't that what being a Beautiful Mother is all about?
My son is grown, technically. He's 18. He's in college. I don't need to make sure he gets his meals or make sure a teacher is treating him right. He's old enough to take care of himself, mostly. I've raised him, I'm done. He's smart, he's resourceful, he's able. In fact, he gets mad at me if I do try to help him. But I still try.
I think that our children are part of us, and when we advocate for them, we're advocating for ourselves, too. Is that selfishness? I don't think so. I think it's love.
Even though I still choose to help my son, as unwilling to accept the help as he is, it's still a choice. I can stop whenever I want. I can decide, (maybe when he's 40 and my daughter is 37!) that I've done enough and they'll have to do without me, that they don't need me any more. And they'll be fine.
Moms like Julie will never decide that, because their children will never stop needing them.
Women who advocate for their children, special needs children or not, are beautiful. Women who commit to advocating for their children even though there is no end in sight...now that is a special kind of Beautiful Girl.
Posted by Ruth Ronk at 7:18 PM