Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Honoring a Memory

It was late last summer when I had “the conversation” with my son’s pediatric neurologist about his latest hospitalization. It was then that I learned that we were heading down a one way street, so to speak, and never coming back.

It is never the conversation you want to have with someone, let alone when it’s about someone you love. But the good news was that I had the gift of time. The time to savor every last moment and every last smile.

It gave me time to think though, about what I would do when he was gone. I mean, I stopped working full time years ago when the hospitalizations just kind of took over my life. My time now is spent mainly caring for him and working a few hours each week to keep my sanity and to provide some much needed income.

I decided to look at what I would do when I return to work full time and what I would do to honor his memory. I looked back over the years and felt that one of the things that I valued a lot was respite care. Currently, they provide $1200 a year for respite so the first thing I decided was that I would sponsor one family a year, for the rest of my life.

Somehow, I needed to do much more. I was trying to pick a percentage of my income that I would donate to different organizations, but nothing really seemed to fit. It was then that I first started to think about being a foster mother. I thought what better way to give of myself than to give of myself to someone less fortunate. But what kind of child would I like? I really don’t know anything about raising a normal child, since the only experience I really have is special needs. It was then that I decided that a seizure baby would be my first choice. I mean, I have a lot of experience with seizures; I know how to identify them, the different types, I know what to do, I have experience with all different kinds of seizures, I know how to use a feeding tube, how to administer Diastat, etc., etc. I also know how to celebrate these children and more importantly how to love them and make them feel loved. I can also make some of the coolest Halloween costumes that fit right over a wheelchair.

So today it seemed quite ironic that I would meet an actual foster mother. I first noticed this woman’s son- a strikingly handsome young man of ten or eleven years old. It was ironic in many ways because he was wearing the exact same clothes that I bought for my son, a year ago. I met this woman at the very store I bought the clothes in. In my conversation with her, I learned that he was autistic and that she was a foster mother. Her sister takes in babies with fetal alcohol syndrome. I thought to myself what a great gift these women have given to these children.

So when the time comes, I will take some time to mourn, to get back on my feet financially and do a little travel. Then I will start the process all over again. What a better way to give back than to do what I do best, be a mother. And when I do, I will say a little prayer to my only son thanking him for showing me the way and honoring his life by giving back to another child who has even less. One of my friends sent me a quote from a book she was reading this summer and said she thought of me. It said, “To the world you may be one person, but to one person, you may be the world.” Amen.


Fat Doctor said...

Found you through Neonataldoc. This is, without a doubt, the most beautiful blog post I've ever read. I pray for you and your son. I pray I can someday have half of your kindness and patience and love. I am linking your blog to mind. Please let me know if you'd like me to un-link it. Thanks.

Dream Mom said...

Thanks, bigmamadoc. I love your blog too. I saw you through the WW board. The link is fine. I read your blog and neonataldocs blog all the time. Yours was especially funny today.

Carol Anne said...

Tears in my eyes. Thank you! I found you through bigmamadoc (who I found through ww). I just had to thank you for inspiring me. This was a beautiful post. I wish to some day have half the kindness and compassion you exhibit in this post. Bless your son and bless you!

michelle said...

I randomly ended up here and found myself reading backwards.

I think you are amazing and your son is so lucky to have you. It sounds like you know you are lucky to have him in your life as well, as odd as that sounds.

My husband and I adopted our daughter from foster care a few years ago. It hasn't always been easy but it has been wonderful and the best decision we ever made. Our path wasn't the one we expected when we decided we wanted to have kids but I like to think this 'road less traveled' has taught me so much and made me appreciate things in a different way.

I think you'd be a fantastic foster mom. Your blog clearly shows that you have the kind of mindset required for it. When the time comes that you are ready for that, I wish you the best of luck!

I'm linking to your blog, hope you don't mind!

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