Before I was a Mom, I rarely cried. Maybe when I fought with someone I
loved, I cried. And when I lost someone I loved, I cried.
But now, you can see me cry everywhere. At field day, I cried. I cried
for the amazing power of what other children can do, and how much it
is taken for granted. The way a second grader can throw his body
towards a finish line, running at high speed. I cried then for how
joyously Zoe worked just as hard, traveled the same route in her power
wheelchair, squealing and happy to be at play.
I cry at school performances, marveling at the other children’s
abilities, and the way my child performs with the same excitement,
always exceeding the expectations. I remember at those moments how we
once wondered if she would ever walk or even talk. Sometimes a tear or
two will travel down my face, embarrassingly because I wish that she
could do more- not for me, but for the thrill of it. To be like the
other kids, just once.
In classroom orientations- I cry. The first time, the day of Zoe’s
vision loss diagnosis. I sat that night in a first grader’s chair,
listening to Olivia’s teacher speak- my eyes seeking every brightly
colored picture and poster displayed high on the wall and wondering
then how Zoe would function in a classroom like this. And again, I
cried leaving a parent teacher conference, proud of Zoe and her
continued progress but grieving over a difficult conversation with her
teacher about “ life math skills for community living” and the
complex questions about her future ability to read. The idea that Zoe
may have limitations with traditional reading is realistic, but
heartbreaking. Books are like food to me, something I devour to
satisfy a hunger. Books have calmed and soothed my hurts and worries
away, since I was a small child.
But there are also tears that are of peaceful relief- like when I was
speaking to the principal of Olivia’s catholic school. Sharing with
her my appreciation for the nurturing environment they have created on
their campus. “Please” she whispered, “ You are making me cry “ as
her eyes were filled with tears too.
There are even tears of comfort, as my husband will pull me against
him in the dark of night, speaking softly in my ear, the words I most
desperately need to hear.
And yesterday my eyes filled too, as Zoe cried for me excitedly-
opening her arms pulling me into a hug, as I joined her for a surprise
lunch at her school cafeteria. Earlier that day I wiped from my cheek,
tears of wonder and joy- as I went to mass at Olivia’s school and I
was drawn away from my moment of sadness by her voice and
her smile, as she sang happily enjoying her place in the choir,
radiating pure peace- as she has finally found her place.