After a long night caring and keeping your child with special needs safe, comfortable and in many cases alive with your devoted and incredible care, you log on to social media on Mother's Day with such dread
You know inevitably your news feed is going to be filled with countless mothers posting pictures of sweet handmade gifts from each of their able bodied children, a doting husband who prepared breakfast in bed and showered her with a dozen roses.
And a follow up post about her excitement over afternoon reservations for Mother's Day Tea at an exquisite restaurant followed by her family treating her to a trip to the spa at her leisure.
You learned long ago that your life will in no way even come close to mirroring that of a typical mother - even on Mother's Day.
Your Mother's Day didn't start with a cup of coffee from the local cafe, or even with your child being able to run up to you with their arms wrapped around you - because your child physically is unable to.
You ache just to hear the words from your non-verbal child say "I love you mama," even more so on Mother's Day than any other day of the year.
Your husband glances at you, as he's no stranger to your all night parental care of a medically fragile child.
His admiration no less than any other day; but he aches to make you feel so incredibly loved even though he knows that motherhood has been much harder than any mother would ever wish it to be.
He wants to pamper you in all the ways you wish to be - and that you need to be... that you deserve to be.
But both of you know that special needs parenting has catapulted your family into financial distress and there is little to no room for store bought flowers, fancy reservations, or the bench you'd love to place out in the garden so you'd have moment to just breathe in between the hard spots.
Yet like a moth to a flame, you read on, post after post after post.
You remain incredibly happy for all of your friends, families, contacts and acquaintances that you know.
A part of you wonders if they think about what your Mother's Day is like.
You don't dare advertise the truth of it, as that would simply confirm the imperfection of your life to others.
The illusion remains that everything is 'fine' and 'wonderful,' even on Mother's Day.
There is no better day of the year than to feel so incredibly cheated out what was supposed to be, how you thought it would be, how you dreamed it to be.
You don't want the world to know you're struggling so you pick silence. There are no posts on social media from you.
But even though you don't post, or write, or advertise in anyway how your Mother's Day is going, you don't have to because I already know. I know because I'm just like you.
And while my heart is tremendously full from the love and gifts that having a special needs child has brought into my life, I still wonder even years later the mother I may have been had I been dealt a different hand, and how differently I'd be celebrating Mother's Day.
I know on each Mother's Day isn't what you'd imagined or dreamed it to be.
I know how hard you work to keep a small precious child alive. I know you're tired, and that your body, soul and mind ache.
I know how devoted you are to tasks and how complex your thoughts are. I know that you think you need no thanks on Mother's Day or any other day of the year.
I know you are the champion for your family.
And although your Mother's Day will likely look different from the rest, you stand out as this amazing beautiful rose for all that you do, and all that you are.
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