A friend of mine sent me a poem this morning. I’m not sure where she found it from or if it is particularly well-known, but I was very touched and it did make me smile.
The Special Mother by Erma Bombeck
Did you ever wonder how mothers of disabled children were chosen?
Somehow I visualise God hovering over the earth selecting his instruments of propagation with great care and deliberation. As He observes, He instructs His angels to make notes in a giant ledger.
“This one gets a daughter. The patron saint will be Cecelia.”
“This one gets twins. The patron saint will be Matthew,”
“This one gets a son. The patron saint…..give her Gerard. He’s used to profanity.”
Finally He passes a name to an angel and smiles. “Give her a disabled child.”
The angel is curious. “Why this one God? She’s so happy.”
“Exactly,” smiles God. “Could I give a disabled child to a mother who does not know laughter? That would be cruel!”
“But has she patience?” asks the angel.
“I don’t want her to have too much patience or she will drown in a sea of sorrow and despair. Once the shock and resentment wears off, she’ll handle it. I watched her today, she has that feeling of self and independence that is so necessary in a mother. You see, the child I’m going to give her has his own world. She has to make him live in her world and that’s not going to be easy.”
“But Lord, I don’t think she even believes in you.”
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 won’t survive. Yes here is a woman whom I will bless with a child less than perfect. She doesn’t realise it yet, but she is to be envied. She will never take for granted a ‘spoken word’. She will never consider any ‘step’ ordinary. When her child says “Momma” for the first time she will be present at a miracle and will know it. I will permit her to see clearly the things I see…ignorance, cruelty and 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 her life because she is doing my work as surely as if she is here by my side.”
“And what about her patron saint?” asks the angel, his pen poised in mid-air.
God smiles, “A mirror will suffice.”