Susan's Blog

Saturday, May 8, 2010

It just is.

Yesterday I ran into a friend’s son at Starbucks, while I was waiting for Benj.  I didn’t recognize him at first.  I did a double-take, because this was a young man, with a beard and all, but something about him looked familiar.  He was finishing an iced coffee at one of the central tables.

“Are you A?”  I asked shyly.  He smiled and nodded.  “I know your mom and dad,” I said, shaking hands.  We caught up a little bit, not much to say between a twenty-something and one of his mom’s friends he didn’t even remember, but I love his mom, so there I was.  And he was very nice.  He told me he was going to transfer to an art school nearby and study film.  I told him that Max would be studying film at NYU. I studied his face while he talked; I couldn’t believe how grown-up he was, and handsome.

“Well, anyway, tell your mom,” I said, smiling and getting into line for my coffee. I had that same feeling I get when I’m out with Nat; like I know people must be watching us and I’ll be damned if I’m going to make eye contact and let them get their shit all over me.  And spoil the moment.  Because I had really liked talking with A, and seeing how much he had grown.  After all, he has a fairly severe disability — Cerebral Palsy, I think — and he gets around in a wheelchair.  It’s quite an effort for him to talk, although he clearly enjoys it.  But in the years since I last saw him, he had become this young man, out on his own — someone I could chat with while waiting to get coffee.  That kind of growth really does happen.  Of course he made me think of Nat, and the gentle blooming I have witnessed in him the past two years.

I was telling Ned this morning, and the first thing out of my mouth was, “A just has so much courage.”  But then I stopped and said, “Well, actually, I hate when people say that about me,” about how ‘brave’ I am going places with Nat, working hard at my relationship with him, and his relationship with the world.  Brave that I’m his mother, doing the mother thing in such difficult circumstances is the implication.  As if there’s some kind of — choice involved?  He’s just my son, and I love him.

They are also expressing admiration, I know that.  And that’s what I felt about A, too.  But — when people say that to me, still, I always want to scream, “It’s just what I do!  I’m just his mother.  There’s no “brave.”  It just is.”

Same thing about my friend’s son.  This is just his life, and he felt like getting a coffee.


Sorry to be late to the party on this post, but I completely understand this. Words like “saint” and “patient” and “extraordinary”, applied to me in the context of being my son’s mother both outrages me on his behalf and on my own as well. I mean, fer cripes sake, if you (generic) were his mom, what would you do? Leave him in a gutter or something? Of course not! You’d love him and do whatever you could to be the best mom you can, same as for any other child, the same I do for my other boys.

Sheesh. Felt good to get that off my chest, heh. Thanks for this post. I’ve not lurked here on your blog for awhile, so this reminds me I should get back to it.

— added by Jenifer on Monday, July 19, 2010 at 9:50 pm

As an addendum to my last — I should say that I completely understand the good intentions of most of those comments, and I appreciate it at that level, but it’s still frustrating to hear sometimes, anyway. Just thought I ought to clarify I don’t think anyone means ill by saying those things, at all.

— added by Jenifer on Monday, July 19, 2010 at 9:51 pm