Up to this point I’ve kept this blog exclusively about living with cerebral palsy. However, today is Father’s Day, which has never been an easy day for me for many reasons, two of them being that I’m not close to my father, and he’s been…well, absent. So I thought I’d pen some thoughts to my dear mother, who has at times played both parenting roles, who is the one I’ve always turned to, and who is in many ways, my very best friend.
My mother is a nurse by profession, which I think helped tremendously during my early days in the NICU and afterwards, which included early intervention as an infant. She’s been my caretaker. She has kept remarkably calm during my operations and each subsequent recovery time. She held my hand until the last possible second in the operating rooms. She waited and waited while I was in surgery. She’s been my champion, my biggest supporter, and biggest challenger. She taught me how to advocate for myself, a skill I use to this day.
During my tumultuous teenage years, I admittedly gave my mom a hard time. I was difficult, resentful, and angry. Part of that was because I was trying to ensure that actually living and having a disability could coexist the way I envisioned. I was trying to weave cerebral palsy into my narrative, all while making sure I could still accomplish my goals. Doing so during high school, a confusing time, was not easy by any means.
I was also trying to place blame for the rest of my unhappiness, but I was doing so unfairly. I realized this through years of therapy, which I often credit with saving me when I needed it most. Writing has played the same role and has served the same purpose, especially when I turned 14. It has allowed me to produce this note and has given me the strength and bravery to post it. I can only hope those who read it will understand my position.
I decided to spend today trying not to be sad (even though, let’s face it, it hurts a little), but rather celebrating the fathers in my life who I know, who I love, and who I thank tremendously for their example. Today and every day, I honor them.
I also honor my mom…who’s been there since day one. She deserves all the recognition I could possibly give her, and way more than that. You not only deserve it, Mami, you’ve earned it. Thanks for making today just a little easier. All my love now and always,