As CreativelyAble people, we have to acknowledge the fact that many of us require help or have required it at some point. If you are a family member or a friend who has helped with support or care of a CreativelyAble person, consider the letter below as my appreciation for all you do or have done. My son has been extraordinary in his support, help, and unconditional love for me. Although I have carried “mama guilt” for getting sick in the first place, he has NEVER and I mean NEVER, treated me as helpless, or forced his help upon me! I was always, just mom! And I still am.
This blog is a letter to him!
My Dearest, Funniest, Coolest, Handsomest (I could go on) Son,
When you were in my tummy 20+ years ago, I was scared shitless! I was thinking about how selfish I was to bring you into a world so cruel and unjust. I was worried that you wouldn’t be strong enough, smart enough, savvy enough or kind enough to make it. Oh, was I wrong!
You have always had the ability to wick off the negative shit like water off a duck’s back. I’m just now learning how to do that. Yeah, I know you had your moments, but you never let anything into your psyche too deep. You were raised from the age of 5 by a mother who at one time was deathly ill. A mom who then lived your full upbringing as a person with a disability. This seems to have made you even stronger. Go figure!
No young child should have seen or been through what you have. You have watched me literally fall to the floor multiple times (long before you were big enough to help), and cried with me. You fed me with a spoon when I couldn’t feed myself. You helped dress me, tied my shoes, and buttoned my pants. You attended therapy with me, and we drew circles with fat crayons because that’s all I could do. You cheered for me, in physical therapy, saying “good job, mom!” But also let me know when I could have done a little better. You kicked my ass at Jenga when I was in rehabilitation (not drug rehab people) once you realized I had nerve damage in my hands. I mean, you’d beat me, then point and laugh! Who does that? Silly?! At 6 years old you charmed the hospital staff into giving you lunch when you were with me! Why did YOUR food always look better than mine?
You were the reason I made it through the tough years, honey! When we were finally able to live together again, I loved seeing you every morning. At 5 years old, you had to grab your own uniforms for school and get yourself ready. You learned how to use the microwave that was in my bedroom. We (you and whoever came to help) would load that little fridge with our TV dinners for the week. You gave me foot rubs and made me laugh all the time. AND you learned to drive my motorized chair from the age of 5!
Looking back, we have always been so proud of each other. We had so much fun when you held the back of my chair on skates. I remember your friends wanting to try it, but I wouldn’t let them for fear they would get hurt. You acted like it was some sort of privilege just for you!
I had so much guilt over the years because I was active and sporty as a young woman. I wondered why God chose to show you so little of that part of me. I was so angry with God back then. I couldn’t figure out why you were brought into a family of divorcing parents an absent father, AND a disabled mother. You did not deserve that, and I’m sorry.
Despite it all, the man you turned out to be is witty and funny as hell! You have a sense of humor that leaves people buckled over with laughter and spitting out drinks! I have no idea where you got that (wink-wink)! I guess our telling “yo’ mama” jokes at dinner when you were little turned out to be a good thing?
I worked hard to allow you to have as normal a childhood as possible. You had sleepovers, birthday parties (large and small), went trick-or-treating, got way too many holiday gifts. We went on vacations to Zihuatanejo and multiple cruises to Mexico and Hawaii. We fed the giraffes at the San Diego Zoo, watched Shamu at Sea World and went to Las Vegas more times to count! I thought we had a blast and I enjoyed every minute of it! Well except your size 13 shoes in 7th grade, and the 5 inches you grew between 8th and 9th grade! I spent money on clothes you barely wore!
I’m sorry that you had such achy bones from growing so fast! But, you asked to be tall when you were 4! HA!
I wish I had your confidence when I was your age. I call it “cocky” but I know how you feel about the negative connotation. WHATEVER… you ARE cocky! You also know who you are, and are proud to tell anyone who wants to know. You are proud of what you stand for, you express your opinion, you speak your truth. Of course, you will continue on the road to self-discovery as you age and mature, but you have a great start.
I admire you so much. You have tried to protect me since you arrived on this planet. You volunteered as a deep water helper for adaptive surfing events. You convinced them that you were old enough! There were adults in the water with us, but you insisted on taking care of your mama! Good thing you’ve always loved the beach and been a great swimmer! Not only that but you helped the other adaptive surfers too.
I remember when you were in elementary school being teased about your mom being “a cripple”. You came home so angry and I told you that if I didn’t care, why should you? After that, you were better able to endure the teasing. I told you to never let words make you fight, but fight to protect yourself, and those you love when necessary. Now when you are with me, standing 6’4″ plus. I feel so protected and loved. You literally pick me up now! Drives me nuts but I can’t stop you anymore! You do realize I would still jump in front of a bullet for you!
I’ve loved watching you play sports. You played tee-ball, baseball, flag football, tackle football, but I especially loved volleyball. How were you able to accomplish team captain your junior year of high school!? How were you league ranked 2nd place junior year, and 1st place senior year? I know you were 6 foot 3 at the time, but not many African American kids played volleyball. And none were friggin ranked in the sport! Unbelievable! I love your uniqueness! Always have!
How many 6 foot whatever black kids are athletic AND in the school choir? YOU! Breaking all of society’s rules…and I LOVE THAT
You made the decision to do what you are doing now. I am so proud of you for being brave enough to have made the choice (for security and personal reasons, I won’t be specific. But those who know me, know what I’m talking about). Of course, I don’t see you enough, but I’m your mom… sue me! Every day wouldn’t be enough.
Thank you for:
Laughing at me and with me
Cheering for me
Loving me, unconditionally
Being such an awesome son
I love you more every day! You are my perfect day! You are an angel, and the love of my life… hands down! You are my Spirit Animal, my greatest gift, and my pride and joy.