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Los Angeles Times: These moms know true love

May 11, 2009

Really touching article about reporter Sandy Banks’ experience at a retreat for moms who have children with various disabilities. HT to Patricia E. Bauer.

These moms know true love

Mothers face tough challenges in raising children with disabilities, but there are rewards in the role.
Sandy Banks
May 9, 2009

Deedra Williams doesn’t need breakfast in bed or a spa massage to celebrate Mother’s Day tomorrow.

She received her gift last weekend at a quiet Montecito retreat from 15 women who, like her, are mothers of children with disabilities.

They hiked eucalyptus-shaded hills, listened to music and made collages with pictures cut from magazines. They talked for hours about the challenges of mothering children who may never be able to walk or speak, to go off to college or get married.

And everyone knew better than to interrupt, criticize or offer advice.

“No one tried to fix it here,” explained Williams, a mother of two sons — a “developmentally typical” 7-year-old, and a 14-month-old whose newborn jaundice left him with brain damage, hearing loss and cerebral palsy.

“We can relate to what each one is going through because we’re all in the same boat,” Williams said as we sat at table at La Casa de Maria Retreat with four other mothers.

“What I took away from this weekend,” Williams said, “is acceptance.”

And what I took away was a new appreciation for the unconditional mother-love that many of us give lip service to, as we continually push our children to improve themselves, carrying around our mental check-list of all their shortcomings. continue

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