Happy Mother’s Day, everyone! I hope it was an exceptionally wonderful day filled with love and beauty for all. To all the mothers, grandmothers, aunts, stepmothers, foster mothers, and soon-to-be moms, I wish you every blessing the world has to offer. I extend my love also to all the “mothers at heart,” and all the teachers and educators, nannies, and women who nurture and get to be “surrogate mothers” for children.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what it takes to be a mother. Lord knows I don’t know! But I’m sure I’ve had the best example from the women in my family, especially my beloved mother, Myrna.
For many women, being a good mom means staying positive and thinking good thoughts for your children. For many other moms, it means helplessly worrying the moment you hear the words “spina bifida.” Those two words can change your whole perspective on what it means to be a mother.
Many times these moms need to be coaches, instructing their children in the very basics– and then some. Other times, they need to be cheerleaders, sitting on the sidelines, and standing up to cheer when the child needs encouragement. It seems to me that mothers of children with spina bifida do a lot more coaching and cheerleading than most moms– sitting at hospital bedsides, going to parent-teacher meetings to explain in detail over and over what spina bifida is, and how it will affect their child in school. Sometimes it means listening or being the shoulder-to-cry-on the first time the child realizes he or she feels “different” from his or her peers.
The mass media does little as far as I can tell to properly honor these moms, and all moms of children with special needs.
This week, Mom got an early Mother’s Day gift. I found out my grades from the spring semester, and they were three A’s and a B! I was elated– and very relieved.
But my triumph is still overshadowed knowing that mine isn’t the same story as everyone else’s. As we speak, I have “mom-friends,” with children with hydrocephalus or some other condition who have been in and out of the hospital. I have no idea how they spent their Mother’s Day. Any day, whether a holiday or not, that is spent at your child’s bedside with monitors beeping and uncertainty looming, is not a happy one.
But in awareness, there is hope. It’s important for these moms to know that hope exists, and that they’re not alone. That’s what I hope to keep doing in the future– letting them know that anything good is possible for their children.
From this, we must somehow segue to politics. Rep. Bob Goodlatte of Virginia has joined the Congressional Spina Bifida Caucus. He’s also a member of the Congressional Caucus on Adoption, the House Judiciary Committee, and the Rural Health Care Coalition.
In spite of all this, I did not yet find evidence of many pieces of legislation related to health or civil rights issues that he has written. Hey, I’m sure I’d be all for supporting a bill requiring the Secretary of the Treasury to issue a coin commemorating the centennial of the establishment of Girl Scouts of America.
To be fair, he has supported several health-related bills introduced by other members in Congress, such as one to amend the Public Health Service Act “to provide for a Pancreatic Cancer Initiative.”
Also, Congressman Goodlatte voted in favor of the Human Rights Enforcement Act of 2009.
My only point in mentioning the absurdity of sponsoring a bill merely to “commemorate the establishment” of an institution is that there are so many pointless, ludicrous bills authored all the time. Congresspeople have the time and energy to author and support these bills, and yet they devote very little time and energy to making sure “spina bifida” is established as a household word.
Call me crazy, but the latter should be a bigger priority. In the meantime, if you want to commemorate the establishment of the Girl Scouts, show your support by buying a few dozen boxes of Thin Mints.
*AHEM.* Please excuse my cynicism. It’s just that I’ve been hearing and seeing too much reality in the true stories I get from moms all the time. I just wish Congress in general would get its priorities straight.
I think it’s obvious by now I need some sleep. A great, big shout-out to all the mothers! You were our first heroes, and you will always be our bravest heroes!
Love and Blessings,