May 2007 – Mother's Day
Hello Families and Friends of HeARTs for Autism!
I had an interesting conversation with a man recently. It echoed sentiment I have heard through the years with other men seeking pastoral counsel. His concern was his wife - the mother of his children. He also spoke of his mom, a single mom who had to do it all, including caring for a special needs sister.
He is the father of an Autistic child. He wants to understand, to help, but said he often feels powerless as compared to his wife. He remembered when they first met. He was struck by how pretty she was; she seemed shy and quiet; she had some tough stuff happen in her younger years. He was the “strong one” who wanted to take care of her.
What he now observed, years later, was a woman transformed. The unplanned path through the landscape of Autism had forged a new person. At times, he feels he cowers in her relentless pursuit of ways to help their son. She seems to understand and process information at a rate far greater than he can comprehend. She often seems annoyed at what she perceives to be his stagnant pace with regard to all that needs to be done to run the house, the family, and help the special needs child and their other children.
He wondered, what is it that motivated his wife to pursue this tireless quest to a point beyond weariness. Did she even recognize her exhaustion? Or did the mask of Super Woman somehow hide that reality in the midst of her awesome feats?
He had noticed after several years of the “fight”, she was tiring. She seemed more depressed, more disconnected. He worried what would happen.
His words about his wife reminded me of a quote by Maureen Hawkins: “Before you were conceived I wanted you, before you were born I loved you, before you were here an hour I would die for you. This is the miracle of love.”
The miracle of Love. The miracle of the hearts desire to see wellness in those we care for. To strive for a life so that others may thrive. This is a Mother’s Love.
By Universal design, women are made a special way with a strength, not always visibly marked by bulging muscles and physical feats of strength, as much as marked by a power that emanates outward in an embrace seeking to nurture.
Sometimes that inherent power is lost in a life of struggle and confusion, particularly when life circumstances early on may have blocked the woman from realizing the wonderful power of love that she is. Yet, most women can move in ways past this for the benefit of those who depend on them.
Many men admit experiencing a jealousy when they first see their wife with their newborn child...something in her eyes...something in her gaze upon the precious new life, can make a man wonder where does he fit now. There is something so deeply powerful in the divine presence of feminine love. Eons of wisdom, beauty, joy and peace seem to flow through this portal - this woman who is now a mother.
There was a time in varying cultures where women were exalted in their role as Mother. It was not a second rate position deserving of suppression and oppression. Even in our culture today, as far as women rights have come, I see the stress often in a young mother’s face as she struggles, yielding her wants and needs to the wants and needs of the child, while balancing all her other roles. The powerful urge to nurture can become an expectation, a demand, placed upon her to please everyone else, often at a cost to herself.
The miracle of Love. In the case of a special needs child, the urge to nurture becomes even more heightened. The “lioness” easily and willingly goes to battle on behalf of this child. She will spend countless sleepless nights and endless days doing whatever is needed.
The quote suggests, the moment the child is here, the mother knows she would die for him/her. I suggest another concept. What if, the arrival of the child is a call to live for him/her. Live in a way which nurtures not only the child, but herself. What if we lived in a society that saw the sacredness of the nurturer in each of us, male and female. What if we didn’t just marvel at those who become the Super Women - what if we saw the inherent power in each of us to love with such devotion.
The “heart of the mother” is an energy existing in each of us. We tend to recognize this simply as being embodied in the “woman.” Yet, we each can play a role in how we nurture ourselves and one another, mixing our strengths and resources, so that all can feel support.
On this Mothers’ Day, our prayer is one of gratitude for the mothers we have known, whether they be our biological mothers, aunts, sisters, friends and even the men who have cared for us in special ways. And our prayer asks for guidance in ways to better receive support from one another, so that we can be more genuine and more available in our love for the children and each other. Sometimes letting go and trusting is the best answer; Having a faith that the Source of Light and Love which animates us, does indeed care for us and will provide us with what we need. When filled with this belief, we become an even more empowered presence - we become the Miracle of Love.
Be Well! Remember to Breathe! Take time for self! Give thanks for the blessings abounding in our lives!
May you each have a joyous Mother’s Day!
Blessings and Hugs,
Robin V Schwoyer
HeARTs for Autism, Director