Got Mom?

As most of you know, I am the mother of 2 boys. My oldest son David recently turned 30.

Madeline’s son David

He has brain damage and a severe handicap.

Since about the age of 3 David has needed a wheelchair, which is nothing any mother wants for their child. I have always felt deep sadness that my son needs a wheelchair.

I remember the perky little physical therapist bouncing around with such great excitement, paperwork in her hands, “David’s insurance is going to cover his 1st wheelchair! Aren’t you excited? David’s going to get a wheelchair!”

As I responded I began to cry, “No this is nothing to be excited over.” My son needs a wheelchair.

She viewed it as kind of like ordering a new car from the dealership. “You get to pick out the colors!”

I didn’t feel that way. I still don’t feel that way even after ordering his next one about 10 years later and so forth. I’ve become an expert on non-motorized wheelchairs through the years, yet I still don’t like them but that’s a whole different story.

This story is about a personal experience I had with a mother, 25 years ago, in Tucson. An experience I know I will never forget. I had this experience because I am a mother of a handicapped child who uses a wheelchair. I have always wanted to submit my experience to Chicken Soup for the Soul, or a letter to the editor of the Tucson newspaper, to honor this mother on Mother’s Day.

I’m glad I can share this story with all of you.

I was standing in the checkout line in a grocery store. David was about 5 years old seated in his wheelchair.

In front of us was a mother holding a baby on her hip with one arm, using her other arm to empty the groceries from her shopping cart onto the conveyor belt. Standing alongside her was her son who was probably about 4 years old. He was pulling on her leg to get her attention, looking back at us and saying, “Mom! Look! There is a boy in a wheelchair!”

I slightly cringed and pretended not to notice. It was a very awkward feeling. A feeling I had only a couple years experience with.

She said something to him that I couldn’t quite hear. Neither did the boy. She continued to remove the items from her cart with one hand, rather methodically, baby on hip, never looking back at us.

The boy continued pulling on her and now at the same time pointing at us, and with great urgency continuing to say, “Mom! Look! There’s a boy in a wheelchair!”

She continued removing the groceries from her cart, never looking back at us and repeated what she had said a moment earlier.

This time I heard what she said, “Did you say Hi?”

The boy stepped over close to David, looked directly at him and smiled. They were now face-to-face. He raised his hand in motion and said, “Hi!”

Happy Mother’s Day to all the beautiful Mothers reading this.

Madeline Pallanes

 

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