by: Erma Bombeck
Most women become mothers by accident, some by choice, a few by social
pressures and a couple by habit. This year, nearly 100,000 women will become
mothers of handicapped children. Did you ever wonder how mothers of
handicapped children are chosen?
Somehow I visualize God hovering over Earth selecting his instruments for
propagation with great care and deliberation. As he observes, he instructs
his angels to make notes in a giant ledger, "Armstrong, Beth - son; patron
saint - Matthew. Forrest, Marjorie - daughter; patron saint - Cecilia.
Rudledge, Carrie - twins; patron saint - give her Gerard. He's used to
profanity." Finally, he passes a name to an angel and smiles, "Give her an
autistic child." The angel is curious. "Why this one, God? She's so happy."
"Exactly," says God. "Could I give an autistic child to a mother who does not
know laughter? That would be cruel."
"But has she the patience?" asks the angel.
"I don't want her to have too much patience or she will drown in a sea of
self pity and despair. Once the shock and resentment wear off, she'll handle
it. I watched her today, she has that feeling of self and independence that
is so rare and necessary in a mother. You see, the child I'm going to give
her has his own world. She has to make it live in her world, and that's not
going to be easy."
"But Lord, I don't think she even believes in you." God smiles, "No matter, I
can fix that. This one is perfect. She has just enough selfishness." The
angel gasps, "Selfishness? Is that a virtue?" God nods, "If she can't
separate herself from the child occasionally, she'll never survive. Yes, here
is a woman whom I will bless with a child less than perfect. She doesn't
realize it yet, but she is to be envied. She will never take for granted a
'spoken word.' She will never consider a 'step' ordinary. When her child
says'Momma' for the first time, she will be present at a miracle and know it!
I will permit her to see clearly the things I see... ignorance, cruelty,
prejudice... and allow her to rise above them. She will never be alone. I
will be at her side every minute of every day of her life, because she is
doing my work as surely she is here by side."
"And what about her patron saint?", asks the angel, pen poised in midair.
God smiles, "A mirror will suffice."