I might have been a Mama’s boy…

TODAY is my Mom’s Birthday. Happy Birthday, Mom! 

I started writing this a while ago and as Mom’s Birthday approached, I thought it would be fitting to post it right on the day.

It’s always interesting to look back on your life because you see things that you didn’t see before. For me, one of the things I’m starting to see was that I might have been what some would call, a “mama’s boy.”

According to Wikipedia, which we all know is always true 🙂 “A mama’s boy is someone who is excessively attached to his mother, at an age at which he’s expected to be independent.”

In my defence, I did move out (for the first time at least) when I was about 21. I came back for a year or so, just before getting married – but once I got married, I have not moved home since!

Thinking back on it though, when I was between the ages of 7 and 15 years old, I was well on my way to becoming a classic Mama’s boy, and at one point, I was actually convinced that I would never leave home.

At that point in time, I thought that I would never go to college, never move out, never get a normal job and definitely never get married.

I saw myself as “different.”

Thankfully, once I became a Christian, I was able to get things straight in my mind and develop some self-confidence to be able to move forward, meet a beautiful gal and get married. The idea that I was going to stay home forever went away, but I shudder to think about what life could have been, had things not changed.

And…apparently, other people thought I wasn’t going to go too far either.

One notable question posed to my Mom at my Grade 8 graduation is a prime example.

We had a nice roast beef dinner as part of the evening festivities and a well-meaning mother of another kid, casually asked my mom this question:

“What are you going to do with Jonathon when he gets older?”

Similar to the time when a waitress asked Joy if I needed a menu, my Mom was quite offended by the question. It was a casual question and I’m sure the lady wasn’t intending it to be offensive. She just couldn’t see how a “handicapped” kid like me was going to fare well in normal life. I get it.

Mom:What do you mean – what am I going to do with him?” She informed this well-meaning yet ignorant lady that I would go to high school, college, move out and get a job just like everyone else.

1978 was a tough year

August 11, 1978 – Just one day before my parents 6th anniversary, my Mom was given a kid who had some challenging healthcare needs. In the womb, they knew something wasn’t right but they didn’t quite know the full extent until I made my entrance.

At just 26 years old and with a 2-year-old daughter at home, Mom had to deal with all kinds of “stuff” that came with me having Spina Bifida.

As if having a baby and a toddler at the same time isn’t hard enough, but having a baby who is still in the hospital, 1 hour away from home must have been a hard situation to deal with.

And with each appointment, the news given by the doctors wasn’t always good. Their prognosis certainly didn’t make it seem like I would be here today and if I was, that life would look at lot different than how it actually turned out.

My Mom was and is a real superstar. Life had handed her a difficult situation (me) and she just kept going.

And think about this: There was no Google, Wikipedia or WebMD. Information was either dispensed by the Doctor or available at the library. There was no Instagram or Facebook for my Mom to document her journey and seek advice and encouragement from others like we have today.

Mom quickly grew into the role of caring for a sick kid, while also caring for elderly parents at the same time. She learned to be prepared for anything!

This might be too much information, but early on I had a pretty volatile plumbing system, to say the least! On almost a daily basis, whether it was in the middle of the night, at church, at the grocery store or wherever else, nature called in an unhelpful manner and Mom jumped into action.

I just didn’t feel well, quite often.

If it wasn’t coming out of one end, it was the other – or both. Thankfully THAT resolved itself, but Mom had to deal with it.

As I got older, I got braces on my legs and had a couple of surgeries, I had to learn to walk again – twice. Mom & I spent hours and I mean hundreds of hours at doctors appointments, physio appointments, clinic appointments, X-ray appointments and the like.

Over that time, you can’t help but develop a different relationship with your mom. My Mom was my biggest advocate and I wouldn’t be who I am today without her love, care, support and discipline.

Mom’s strong encouragement (and sometimes a raised voice of encouragement) kept me going and moving forward. I was never allowed to settle when she knew I could do more.

To this day, Mom still likes to keep in the loop about my doctor appointments and other developments with my health. At the end of the day, parenting a child with a disability never truly goes away.

I’m just thankful my Mom was up for the task!

I don’t think anyone comes equipped to handle taking care of a kid with a disability. It takes the grace of God. The learning curve is steep and is pretty much forced upon moms in situations like this and I applaud my Mom and all the other moms of special needs kids out there for maintaining a sense of sanity through it all.

Thanks, Mom & Happy Birthday!

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