Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mother's Day Musings


Mother's Day is a bittersweet holiday for me.  I have often felt my life only began when our first child was born and I became a mother.  Tyler arrived far too early and was severely handicapped from birth injury.  Learning to love and care for this precious exceptional child forced this perfectionist-driven and highly impatient person to open her heart to the gift of unconditional love. His life required numerous hospitalizations and hours upon hours of therapy. However, Tyler's compromised health and limited physical abilities never impaired his capacity to love.  His expressive eyes and winsome smile spoke volumes and conveyed his joy of being with his family.
This formerly impatient and often critical woman waited nine and a half years to hear her boy speak. God had granted me patience and had shown me the beauty and inherent grace in imperfections.  Tyler used an augmentative communication device or AAC, programmed for his needs, to pick out phrases and then "voice" them with a press of a button, mounted on his wheel chair head array.  When given a menu of 30 phrases to choose from, he chose "Mom, I love you" as his 'first' spoken words. They were some of the sweetest words I've ever heard.  How I long to hear him again.  I miss him so much.

Of course, by finally giving Tyler a voice, it was another window into the fascinating workings of his mind.  We always appreciated his smile and infectious laugh, but now, he had a voice and could joke.  I'll never forget one time, when Tyler kept saying "Mom" over and over again. It was rather like a scene from Family Guy, with the notable exception that he did not stop at the 45 second mark, but kept up the "Mom" entreaty for 45 minutes.  I kept asking him, "did he need a drink?" Big Tyler grin.  "Do you want out of the wheelchair?" Big Tyler grin.  "Are you hungry?"  Bigger Tyler grin. "Mom. Mom. Mom."  I was getting a little weary of the "moms" by now and told Tyler, "I'm going to take a nap on the  couch and when you can tell me what you want, I'll help you, but not until then!"  I stomped over to the couch and turned my back to him.   As I faced the wall, feeling a bit guilty, I could hear Tyler clicking his way though his dictionary and picking out words slowly but very deliberately.  After ten minutes of scanning and clicking, I hear....."Mom, BIG BUTT" and hysterical laughter.  Yes, Tyler, my love, momma has a big butt.  And my dearest angel, I still do.  

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