Mother’s Day is a wonderful time to appreciate moms, step-moms, birth moms, adoptive moms, wanna be moms and women who love children. Bless you for making a difference in a child’s life! Don’t you get joy from seeing the joy in a laughing child, the shy smile of a child with twinkling eyes, and the serene look on their faces when they are sleeping?  Ahhhhhh……..what sweet little rewards of being with a child…

Most of us know, however, that it is VERY difficult to be a mom and sometimes the REAL rewards are far apart….

When my son Steven was in nursery school, it was a real challenge because of his autistic and ADHD problems. He had been born addicted to cocaine and heroine and his nervous system was “messed up” (my professional diagnosis.) Bringing him was a real challenge as he would kick and scream and cry, yet I did it because he could not hide out safely at home for his entire life with me vacuuming around him. At first, he would  spend most of the time in school hiding out in the “quiet tent”, playing with his plastic reptiles, sometimes soaking in the information from the teacher. Eventually, he sauntered out of his safe space to see what was going on.  He did not join the other children, but he was with them…a huge improvement.  Eventually, nursery school became normalized for him; part of his routine.  He would come home with his little projects; a paper flower, a painted snake, a play dough alligator.  I had learned not to make a “fuss” over these things, but to quietly tell him they were wonderful while his head dropped to his chest, eyes closed.  (He was not a child who could tolerate excitement of any kind.)  He survived two years in that classroom, and I wondered how he would act on “graduation day”, a celebration seemingly out of his tolerance level.  All of the children stood there in their little paper graduation caps, tassels dangling in front of their noses so they had to keep blowing them away.  All of the children except Steven.  The children sang a song, and thanked their moms and generally wowed the crowd with their antics.  All of the children except Steven.  The children walked in a nice, straight line to get their nursery school diplomas; all except Steven.  When all but one diploma had been handed out, the teacher walked over to where Steven was hiding under a chair, butt facing outwards. (If I had been smart, I would have sewed a smiley face on the butt of his pants, but, alas, I had been unrealistically hoping that he would join the other children in the graduation ceremony.)  The teacher bent down with the document and Steven’s  little hand reached out to grab it.  He quickly pulled the diploma out of sight.  Calm and cool under the seat, he had made it! Steven had graduated from nursery school without a tantrum, yelling or screaming.  He graduated in the manner he felt most comfortable, but graduate he did!  What a reward that was for me; I was a proud mother, indeed!

Diagnosed in elementary school with Dissociative Identity Disorder, Angel, has been very carefully placed in specialized classrooms.  Although intelligent and able to do grade level work, he frequently changes “parts”, (his word for his alternate personalities.)  His teachers and teacher aids, bless their souls, understand him well, and manage to educate him, even if it means repeating the same lesson because a different “part” was out that day, or giving his the test over because the “part” that studied for the test is not the “part” that took the test!  He has a baby part which necessitates him to just “veg out” in a large mushroom chair.  On those days, nothing was learned.  His condition has been kept top secret and no unnecessary teachers or others in the school know about it. Fortunately, he has been living a very “normal” life.  I have found one surprising benefit…he has a “Game Show Host” part.  I work with a recreational group of adults with disabilities, and every now and then we play Bingo or Family Feud. Angel, as have all of my children, regularly comes with me.  One day, he asked to be the moderator for Family Feud and his “performance” was beyond hilarious.  Usually a reserved child with groups, all of a sudden he channeled Richard Dawson! He went down the rows of “contestants”, gave each of them a peck on the cheek, and, while holding their hands in his, asked their names and a little about themselves.  The older women, who probably have not had much attention in their lives, giggled and smiled and blushed.  Then, Angel read each question with gusto, and made a “ding” noise when they got it right, and a loud buzzer noise if they got it wrong.  It was sooooooooooo funny because it was so out of character of the Angel that they knew.  This group of adult with disabilities, many of whom live alone on a minimum income with this once a week outing their only time out of their houses, were laughing hysterically that evening. Ever since then, they look forward to Family Feud and “Gameshow Host” Angel! What a reward for me to see Angel’s  give such joy to these wonderful people!

As a graduation present, my daughter, Dinora, and I took a trip back to her birth country in Guatemala.  She had done fundraising to assist with the opening of a soup kitchen in Antigua, and we were there for “opening day”.  We went shopping that morning, taking a little “putt putt” (2 wheeled open air taxi) into the village, giggling all the way as it bounced along. We bought flowers of all bright shapes and sizes, which stuck out of the putt putt on the way back, narrowly bopping passers by on the head. We spread the flowers out in front of  the  alter where a mass was to be said in honor of the opening of the facility. An overflowing crowd of people filled the make-shift pews, and it was a beautiful, emotional mass. Even though it was all in Spanish I seemed to understand every word, and I could certainly feel the emotion in the songs which the Indigenous Guatemalans sang.  After mass, people lined up for the food in their brightly colored clothing. There was my daughter, a young adult, behind the counter, dark hair pulled back into a pony tail, serving food with a beaming smile on her face showing dimples I never knew she had, (or perhaps she had never smiled so brightly.)  She was old enough and cared enough to give back something and help “her people” as she called them. I will never forget the sight of her…sweat on her brow, wiping her hands on her apron, making pleasant conversation in Spanish while smiling that amazing smile…   How could that sight NOT be a reward for a mom after years of raising a difficult teen?

Raising Marie has been the most difficult because of her many serious challenges.  When she came to us, she was street smart at the age of seven.(See post “All She did Was Scream and Say No! No! No!) She had no thought of danger and no social skills.  Although this may sound silly, one of my concerns was the fact that she would litter.  Get a drink; throw the bottle on the ground.  Have a piece of gum; throw the wrapper on the ground. Popsicle; stick thrown in the grass.    Repeatedly, I would have her pick it up and throw it away, explaining that we don’t litter in our family.  Marie could not have cared less…she did not want to be in our family anyway…  It took many months with us before she learned not to litter.  That’s why it shocked me when we were at the mall one day and she casually flicked the paper from her straw onto the ground.  My eyes widened, and just as I was about to ask her to pick it up, she bent down and picked it up, signing to me “I was just teasing you!  I know we don’t litter in this family!”  What a reward it was to hear her say that!  Finally, she felt part of our family!

My most favorite reward I saved for last.  For all of you parents, especially parents with children with disabilities, I will share that there has been no greater reward in my life than seeing my son, Francis, become a successful adult. Despite being legally blind, he has a college degree, is very successful in a job which he loves and through which he is benefitting others, and he recently married a great woman who not only loves him for the wonderful person that he is, but can also drive a car so he won’t have to take public transit to work any more!  There IS no greater reward for a parent; to know that the problems, fun, hard work, love, difficulties and dispersed joys of childhood have come together in a positive way. My son has officially “made it” to adulthood.  Now he can look forward to the rewards he will experience in raising his own children. Then I get the extra rewards of grandchildren!

To all of you mothers and others out there, Happy Mother’s Day!  Beyond the handmade cards, the flowers, the breakfasts and dinners out, and the gifts of the day, so many more rewards await you.  Sometimes you just have to be patient…


Comments on: "Mother’s Day and Delayed Rewards" (77)

  1. Happy Mothers Day, I hope you and your family have a wonderful day. You and your children are an inspiration.

    • Thank you so much for your kind words!

    • You are amazing! I am going to try and remember this post when I am feeling a little less than patience. Sometimes I think as mother we worry to much and trust to little. These children will teach us everything we need to know to parent them. We just have to pay attention.

  2. Happy Mother’s Day, I hope you have more wonderful things come your way.

  3. Thank you for this I posted about how hard mom’s day can be with a pecial needs child too, but mine certainly was not as optimistic as yours :-/ Bless you today, and each day!

    • It is VERY hard to raise children with special needs, and I don’t ever want to minimize that. However, I push that into the back of my mind and try to focus on the upbeat sides to it. That is what keeps me “sane”!

  4. Beautiful post. I can so relate to this.

  5. Happy Mother’s Day! Loved your post and hearing about your unique children that bring you so much pleasure. 🙂

  6. Happy Mothers day to you too hun

  7. What a wonderful way of honoring Mother’s Day! I told my son thanks for being such a great kid.

  8. Bless you and your family.

  9. Happy Mother’s Day! You are truly inspiring, you and your family! You should be Mother of the Century! Consider yourself officially nominated! 🙂

  10. Happy Mother’s Day!

  11. Thanks for sharing! It was just what I needed today and I don’t have a child with disabilities; unless you count a grandson who feels abandoned by his biological mother and that causes him to become reclusive at times and surly. God bless you!

  12. Happy Mother’s Day!!! God bless you and your family 🙂

  13. I’m always so moved by your stories. Thanks:) And Happy Mother’s Day:)

  14. Amazing, wonderful post! I have a stepson with social anxiety. That’s it. Your openness and love is contagious! Happy Mother’s Day!

  15. Happy mother’s day! A great post.

  16. HI. Totally loved this post. it’s a reminder that even when things are tough there are rewards.

  17. Thank you for sharing your and your children’s experiences on this Mother’s Day. I hope you had a wonderful day. My son with autism didn’t go to public pre-school, they never could have handled him. He went to a full day school for kids with special needs too severe for their home districts to handle. No more than 10 in a class, and each had a nap mat. He “graduated” and went to public kindergarten, then 1st grade, where it all fell apart. The teacher didn’t know how to teach him while all the others made fun of him, making him cry, giving them more fuel. You get the picture. Back to out-placement which he did very successfully. At 21 he graduated with 2 diplomas, one from our town (he’s really proud of that one) and one from his school, where he excelled in so many things, including work. It is a challenge, but there is no greater educating (we had to teach the teachers, doctors, etc. in home district), or greater reward than seeing them grow.

    • My son, Steve, ended up in out of district placements that were wonderful…4 kids in a class with a teacher and a teacher aid…individual little learning cubicles…minimum extra stimulation…lots of hands on learning. His education was great, but not something that the school department currently does any more due to the finances. For my son, Angel, who would need a similar environment, the school department developed specialized classrooms within the regular schools which ended up working out just as well. For both of these children, mainstreaming and attending classes with kids without severe emotional disabilities would not have worked at all. Sometimes, and individual education is what is needed for the child to learn…inclusion in regular schools does not solve all problems.

  18. A Happy and Blessed Mother’s Day to you. We never faced the challenges with our four children that you face daily . They’re all grown now, and in four different states, but they all called today or came to see us to wish Mom (and me) Happy Mother’s Day. We are so thankful for the children God gave us. We don’t see them as often as we’d like, except the daughter who lives here, but they called us today.

    Thank you for this post, and for your courage in opening your life to us. God continue to bless you.

  19. I have two wonderful sons, grown now, that have been such a joy in my life. My finance took me out for a Mother’s Day brunch and both the boys called to say, “I love you, Mom”. How could this day get much better!

  20. Thank you for this wonderful post. I enjoy your stories and your sense of humor. I hope you had a Happy Mother’s Day. I’m sure you did.

  21. I don’t know how you do what you did all these years. I truly respect your dedication and commitment to raising up your kids in partnership with God. God bless your heart and your life a thousand fold and more.

  22. Beautiful and inspiring! You are an amazing Mother! Blessings on you and your family — what beautiful memories of life being well lived! You give of your life so completely!

  23. One day at a time, one small step, one quiet success….and patience. Thank you for sharing all this. I couldn’t agree more.

  24. […] Raising 5 Kids With Disabilities and Remaining Sane Blog … this mom has adopted several kids with disabilities and will have you laughing at the smallest, funniest real-life situations—writing style with Erma Bombeck flare ❤ Lesley Carter @ Bucket List Publications … travel blogging mom, including posts about home and her adorable toddler daughter ❤ Especially Made … mom to son with special needs and seeking Biblical strength ❤ Kodiak My Little Grizzly … mom to 3 great kids, including son Kodiak who is deaf, blind and has CHARGE Syndrome ❤ […]

  25. Beautiful. Children bring smiles in ways that nothing else can! What a blessing. Thanks for sharing yours.

  26. Penny at Mom Rants and Comfy Pants said:

    What a beautiful and amazing post. Thank you so much for sharing your family with us. You are all an inspiration!!

  27. Reblogged this on Game On Everyone and commented:
    Hi all, this is a lovely post…..

    • I have a little technical question! I have re-blogged on our GameOn wordpress site but I can’t see how to post it to a Facebook page = how most people read us. It won’t allow me to create a FB post from this site or from the reblog on GameOn. It may be that I can’t or it may be that you have a magic answer for me! If so, let me know. And keep writing, I love your posts!

      • I am not technical at all. The only way I would know how to put it on Facebook would be to highlight and copy it and post it…

        thanks for liking my posts!

  28. Great post! Your blog is amazing! Happy (late) Mother’s Day to you!

    On another note I hope it’s okay that I nominated you for the Bouquet of Three Award. 🙂

  29. You’re Amazing!

  30. Wow, thanks for sharing your heart. You are a wonderful blessing to these little ones. I can relate to some degree, since our son was diagnosed with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. It’s very difficult for parents to stay at a tolerant level, but it sounds that you just have a beautiful caring heart. Hope you had a wonderful Mother’s Day! Blessings, Edith

  31. I love this post.

  32. Your children sound wonderful 🙂

  33. Go check this out. You are a recipient of these no-strings-attached awards

  34. Happy belated Mother’s Day!

  35. chrissy50 said:

    This is such a fantastic post. I always think that I took so much from my mother because of my psychiatric disabilities. I think that I drain her, that I tire her out….that I worry her, that she worries for my future. It knocked me out that you “liked” my blog post about the blanket I had crocheted for her for Mother’s Day. It seemed like such a small thing, and yet–at 85 years old, it is something she might not have much time to enjoy. Although, she could surprise us all and live to be 102! She has no dementia, thank God, and her diabetes is under control…she strives to exercise and eat right…she’s a true inspiration, as are you and your children. Thank you, thank you, thank you. And Happy Mother’s Day!

    • I love that you crocheted a the blanket for your mom. I’m sure that it took a long time to do, and I am sure that she appreciates it and is proud of of you. After all, she IS still alive….so she lived through it! (That’s a good thing!) Most moms have a tendency to love their kids through thick and thin.

  36. Your children make me smile and sometimes get teary-eyed. Blessings to your family, and a happy belated Mother’s Day to you 🙂

  37. Having adopted a special needs son from foster care five years ago, I was able to identify with something in just about every descriptive word you wrote! It is definitely a challenge and I feel inadequate much of the time (I have found humor to be a lifesaver!) but to look at the progress my son has made. I was reading back over his history the other day, which I had not done in a few years, and it is remarkable what love, stability and commitment will do for a child. God bless you and your family for your commitment to make a difference!

    • You should never feel inadequate. We, as parents, do the best we can given the circumstances. You can’t ever second guess yourself or you would drive yourself crazy!
      Congratulations on living though these 5 years with you and your adoptive child still alive!

  38. Thank you so much for this, what a beautiful read. Although it is not Mother’s Day time of year here in the UK (ours is in March) I still loved reading this. Thank you also for including “women who love children”. I have no children of my own, but being married to an older partner means that I now have grandchildren. I love all three of them as if they were my own, and often feel that women like me should also be recognised on Mother’s Day. Thank you!

    • Yes, any woman who loves kids should be recognized on Mother’s Day. Often, women who have not technically given birth love the children better than their biological moms, as is the case with my four kiddos who are adopted. Your grandchildren are lucky to have you!

  39. This is so beautiful. I work with adults who have learning disabilities and so many of their achievements go unnoticed by the world. I love the celebration of doing life in the way you feel best 🙂

  40. Your life is extraordinary, and so is your faith. Thanks for sharing both with us!
    Be blessed!

  41. What a wonderful recounting of the joys and rewards of parenting. Sometimes it is the smallest things that give us our greatest joys. I have always felt that my biggest blessing is that I like my children. Of course, I love them. Liking them is the gift of who they are. Thanks for a wonderful message.

  42. You are so blessed, to have such special children and that they have you!

  43. What a beautiful story is it! You are so great Mom, and today I realize every other mom is great also! Thanks sharing your story. I hope god bless you and your children!

    • Thank you for your kind words. Yes, moms are great! So are step-moms, birth moms, adoptive moms, mothers-in-law, and any woman who loves children. To love a child is to experience God’s love first hand!

  44. Inspiring! Thank you for discovering my blog, so I could find yours. Right now I am going through the process of finding out if my son is on the autism spectrum (as you read about). I hope that if that diagnosis is made, we can come up with more/ different accommodations in school that will help his experience be a better one. Looking forward to reading more of your blog.

    • Your journey with your son is why I read your blog. I would like to reassure every parent out there facing that situation that such a diagnosis only means accommodating a different life, but the potential of a successful life none-the-less.

  45. hello there! wow this is so amazing! what a wonderful story. you clearly are a very special person for having the patience you do to raise children with special needs. it absolutely warms my heart that there are people like you out there because i always wonder what happens to kids like you spoke of because it can be so difficult and yet those kids need/deserve loving homes as much as the next. i know i’ll be coming here more often. 🙂

  46. wow!! you are amazing and definitely inspiring!!!

  47. liamsmomma said:

    Your post is truly inspiring. My son has been diagnosed at 4 years, with adhd, a bit of ocd, behavioral problems and a form of bipolar disorder, or mood disorders, we are not sure which yet as he is yet to see the neurologist, that is next. His behavior was so horrible that we would not be able to live normally. I began doing domestic shopping online, forgetting all outside stores, no restaurants, no parks, nothing. Someone would always end up hurt, or he would hurt himself. I became a recluse, only taking my son into the yard to get exercise and play with the kids in our building, which still ended badly. I cut off all social contact, because no one wanted to be around my son, not even family, they decided to judge instead and deem me a horrible parent. But the truth is, I am a single parent and caring for a sick child with disabilities, he has been sick since birth, had taken a toll on me and I felt lost as to how to handle him. He even gained all control from me at one point, I had nothing, my control was handed over. His doctor finally realized he was beyond discipline, he needed medication to help him behave better and be safer around himself and others. since he has been taking it, I have gained all control back, he has been an angel 95% of the time. We go to the store hand in hand and he helps me shop, we take great walks to the park where he now has friends and all thanks to one pediatrcian who didn’t pass the buck on like the others did and actually gave a child the help he needs. Some doctors, just don’t focus on the problem and they can never come up with a solution, but he did and he is amazing. I feel that your post can be a beacon of hope to parents and kids alike. 🙂

    • I have such empathy for you and what you have been through because I lived through the same thing. I know many people deem medication an “easy fix”…but they are the parents who have not had to live through what we have lived through. I thank God for medication every day. Without it, none of my children would be where they are. It was no easy fix, believe me, but it enabled them to more fully participate in the world around them. If a parent has the problems that you had with your son, and a pediatrician wouldn’t provide access to medication, I would change doctors, (like you did.) It was awful that you had to go through feeling like you were a failure and a “horrible parent”…it’s bad enough a child with such disabilities, but to be blamed for them also is like throwing oil on an uncontrollable fire!

  48. Love it! What an inspiration.

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