When I think about people who embody the definition of the word inspiration, the names Helen Keller, Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder, and others who’ve overcome substantial obstacles flash across. I think about those who’ve made profound contributions to society. People like Bill Gates, Albert Einstein, and Steve Jobs. I see the faces of those who have forged through roadblocks and were forced to defend themselves. Rosa Parks, Mahatma Gandhi, and Anne Frank. I think about countless others who lay their lives on the line daily protecting our streets, our communities, our countries.
I personally do not feel comfortable being placed amongst these prestigious ranks. The people I’ve mentioned have made a profound impact on millions upon billions of people. They’ve redefined industries and caused ripple effects that have lasted decades beyond their times. They are visionaries. When I think of myself, the word that comes to the forefront of my mind is “mom.“
I’m a mom of four beautiful children, three typical, and one who has CDKL5, a genetic disorder that will leave her with a lifetime battling seizures and profound developmental delays. I will make decisions on all of my children’s behalves until they are old enough to weigh in.
I will be an advocate for all of my children no matter their cognitive abilities. I will defend my children in all situations. I will love each of my children unconditionally, not because I am an inspiration, but because I’m a mom.
I’m a mom who makes mistakes daily, but who tries her best. I may have to make decisions that you will never have to in your lifetime, but that does not make me any more of an inspiration than you. I’m sure you’re faced with decisions that I’m not.
Yes, I am a mom who is faced with tough challenges, but I’m not alone; there are others on parallel journeys, others still on journeys more difficult than mine.
I am not special.
I am a mom who will go to the ends of the earth, just like you, because that is what a mom does.
While I appreciate your kind sentiment and am flattered that you hold me to such high esteem, I would like to ask, “Why am I considered to be inspirational?” Is it because I have to watch my child endure daily seizures?
Is it because I have not
publicly cracked under the insurmountable pressures of raising a child with special needs? Is it because I do not place blame for the situation I am faced with, G-d included?
While your words of encouragement, praise, and support offer me much needed support during my darker days, I would like you to know that I’m no more an inspiration than YOU are, the mom of one or multiple children; YOU, the mom of a typical child, YOU the mom of a special needs child; YOU, the mom of a child who is no longer physically present. It may appear that I’m an inspiration, but I assure you, I’m not doing anything differently than YOU would do if you found yourself in my shoes.
I am just a mom.