You amaze me. Everything from your body to your personality. And by “your body,” I am not talking about attraction. I am talking about the ways your body stretched to accommodate new life, and how your personality stretched to go with it. I am humbled beyond belief at your ability to bounce back, even though in some ways, you don’t have a choice. I think it takes being an adult to really appreciate how much you’ve sacrificed for me, a child who may never have children but understands the magnitude of your gift.
I was going to be a mother. I read all the books, I prayed for my journey, and I happened upon the path more than once. However, it just didn’t take. Dana and I were embarrassed the first time we went to our OB/GYN, because she judged us on the clothes we were wearing and not, as Martin Luther King, Jr. so eloquently said, “the content of our character.” At the time we were making big bucks. I was working for a software company and Dana was working for a high-end grocery store. We did not need help with providing for a child, but at the same time, our doctor was right AND offensive when she said, “my pregnancies are $14,000 give or take. You can’t afford me. You should just find a friend and go home.” We’d put on our Sunday best for this appointment, and she crushed our dreams in 15 minutes. There was no way we’d go with a known donor, because we didn’t want to deal with a custody battle later.
We were so baby-crazy that eventually we decided to try to accept our fate. Every straight guy we asked was confused and wanted to sleep with me. They did not understand the concept of passing on genetic material without it. The gay one understood, and was up for it, but by the time we were ready to conceive, our finances weren’t. People kept telling us that if we waited until the right time, we’d never do it. Perhaps it was a self-fulfilling prophecy, because we weren’t going to bring a baby into the world in poverty. We did not put any investment into a baby after that, because we knew that our baby plans were on hold indefinitely, and we wore the shame of our OB/GYN appointment like button-downs. Maybe my next partner will want children, or already have some, and that’s ok with me. However, I am not looking to get my MRS. degree just to bring life into the world. I already have children and parents around me that need me as a support person now. I don’t have to wait for my own baby. Exhausted parents will give me theirs for hours at a time and that’s really all I need. To be close to a baby, because it makes my heart, body, mind relax in a way that I don’t get anywhere else.
BABIES ARE AWESOME.
I used to be a baby. I was awesome to someone, too. However, I was a difficult child for my mom to raise, because within minutes of being born, my lungs collapsed and I was deprived of oxygen, leaving a cerebral palsy with it. My parents never sued the hospital for malpractice, but they were well within their right. But, they reasoned, most of the problem was that I was born in East Texas in 1977. Unless they’d Life Flighted me to Dallas, there wasn’t much technology that would have saved me from always tripping on everything. Additionally, my eyes never learned to track together, so between that and the palsy, I have never physically moved in the world like everyone else. In fact, the only reason I can walk at all is due to my mother’s diligence in physical therapy every day. Her first move was to get me into a swimming class at 6 moths old, because babies are born with what’s called a “dolphin reflex,” which allows them to learn swimming at an incredible rate. By the time I was a year old, I could probably swim better than my mom could.
She also exercised my legs constantly, and at first, it was very painful for me. She would scream and cry just as much as I did, because I was using muscles that I hadn’t before and it hurt. I didn’t grow very fast. When I was a year old, I looked like I was still at 6 months, because I was eight weeks early with legs that couldn’t support me. In fact, my mother was in the grocery store once, and a woman insisted that she was a ventriloquist and was throwing her voice because I could talk in sentences.
It’s amazing what I could do verbally because I had no choice but to just lie there, not moving, but soaking up all the adult conversation I could muster. My first words were “car keys” and “peaches.” I have no idea where I got the idea for either one, but it set me on the path of being an intellectual that would never play baseball. I couldn’t run very well, and with no depth perception, I couldn’t tell how far the ball was from me so I could catch. I loved soccer because depth perception was easier when the ball was on the ground. Depth perception is also the reason I decided to give up my car and take public transportation. Honestly, I am regretting that decision a little bit, because since I have a cerebral palsy, I fall all the time when I’m walking. It’s not pretty. But at least I’ve been tripping on curbs since I was young, so scraped knees are just part of life. For instance, I have Neosporin on both knees right now.
Through it all, my mom has been my best cheerleader, because she’s the one that cured me of being disabled…. Because I surely would have been without her dedication.
When I think of what my mom went through to raise me, it gives me greater respect for all the sacrifices that mothers make for their children, because so far, I haven’t met a mother yet who’d say that their child needed more than they could give.