Posts Tagged ‘Motherhood’

by Shannon Penrod

It’s Mother’s Day and now that I am a Mom I have begun to fully appreciate what a great Mom I have.  I know, everyone thinks their Mom is great, especially on Mother’s Day, but my Mom “wins”, because my Mom is a Super Hero.  You might think I’m kidding but I’m not.  My mother was born with two club feet, for most people this would be a devastating disability, for my  Mom it meant that she wore braces on her legs while playing Varsity Basketball and being a cheerleader.  It also meant that she had surgery after surgery.  All my memories of her when I was little are of her with a cast on and using either a wheelchair or a pair of crutches.  It never slowed my Mom down.  She had three kids, she worked as a nurse and later as a school bus driver.  She also co-owned a yarn shop, became the president of her union and managed a New York State Championship Softball team.  Disability was never a term that was used in our family.  My Mom was anything but disabled.  She was and is a super hero.

When I was five I remember sitting outside on a summer day.  My Mom was on crutches.  I remember hearing a lot of screaming and shouting.  I remember distinctly hearing someone cry “Help!”.  My mother sprang up on her crutches and began motoring toward the pleas for help.  They seemed to be coming from the back yard of a house across the street and halfway down the block. My Mom was making good time on her crutches and then she ran into a waist-high hedge.  Without missing a beat my Mom used her crutches to pole vault over the hedge.  She made it to the back yard in time to give mouth to mouth resuscitation to a baby that had fallen into a pool during a birthday party.  The neighborhood was full of able-bodied men and women but it was my mother who saved that baby.  She didn’t stop to find a phone booth and don a pair of shiny tights, but she was still a super hero.

Over the years my mother has continued to pull off super human feats, some of them I noticed as super hero acts, others I admit got by me.  Now that I am the mom I am able to recognize these fearless acts for what they were – amazing.  I thought that making Christmas magical with no money was something that just happened, now I understand that it takes a super hero.  I thought that being happily married for 30 years was an accomplishment, I had no idea it was the result of super human strength. Now I finally get it and my respect for my mother never ceases to grow.

Everyone who knows my Mom loves her.  She is an incredibly loyal friend who would and has given the shirt off of her back when she thought that someone needed it.  Maya Angelou says that courage is being willing to do what’s right even when it’s not easy.  Man, does that describe my mother!  My Mom is the woman in a crowd who will intervene when a screaming child is being dragged by a parent to a car.  I can’t tell you the number of times I have watched embarrassed parents have to prove to the police that their child is in fact their child and not someone they are abducting.  There is never a dull moment with my Mom.

Over the years my mom has taught me many things, too numerous to mention but some of the highlights are to treat everyone with dignity, especially children and the elderly and to accept people who are different than me because I cannot know what it is like to walk in their shoes.  My Mom has taught me that there is nothing I can’t do if I put my mind to it.  Most importantly my Mom has always taught me that laughter is one of the greatest gifts you can give.

I’m not a super hero like my Mom.  I’m not able to leap small buildings even without crutches.  But I am able to be a good Mom because of the lessons my mother taught me.  My father may have taught me to edit, but my mother taught me how to handle being differently abled.  I can’t imagine how much harder parenting a special needs child would have been without her tutelage. Life is short, and while I hope I have my mother for a long time I am aware that the odds are not necessarily with us.  While she is here I would like her to know, and the world as well, that she is my hero, my personal Mom Super Hero, and that I am so grateful to have her as my mother.

Thank you Mom for all the love, the laughter and the lessons.  They will live in my forever.  I love you!  Happy Mother’s Day!

Shannon Penrod is the host of Everyday Autism Miracles of the Her Insight Network.  Everyday Autism Miracles airs every Friday at 2pm EST and 11am PST.  Free podcasts of the show can be downloaded here, or you can subscribe to the free podcast on iTunes,

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by Shannon Penrod

In my next life I want to be a heterosexual, white male.  I know, generations of oppressed people have felt the same way.  White straight guys could vote when no one else could, they weren’t captured in their homeland and taken half way around the world to be sold into slavery.  White straight guys got to be heads of countries, corporations and county fairs.  The truth of the matter is that all of these bastions of white straight maledom have been shattered – there is only one remaining discriminatory practice and I ran squarely into it this week.  Shelf liner paper.  Think about it.  No one ever asks a straight white guy to line shelves.  It simply isn’t done.  This is why I want to be a straight white guy in my next life.

I wrestled a six foot long peice of Contact paper this week that had enough adhesive on it to glue Rush Limbaugh’s mouth shut permanently.  I wrestled and I won – okay, it has more wrinkles in it than both the Gabor sisters together – but it’s down.  Now my family is safe from—-why is it we put shelf paper down?  I don’t even know!  But there is some inbread genetic code that clearly tells my x chromosome driven brain that you can not unpack dishes into a cabinet without first lining the shelves.

My husband lifted, he toted, he packed- but he didn’t put shelf paper down.  I know if it were up to him there would be no shelf paper.  He could have slept soundly knowing that our dishes were sitting on …I can’t even say it, can’t even think it…gasp…gulp…unlined shelves.  As he pointed out, the shelves were already lined.  With the last person’s shelf liner.  I explained to him that it didn’t count unless you put the liner paper down yourself.  He looked at me like I was from another planet.  Don’t they teach this stuff to boys?  All the women I know understand this concept perfectly and frankly so do my gay male friends.  Even my straight guy friends who are not caucasian get the shelf liner paper thing.  Where were all the staight white guys when the rest of us were being indoctrinated into the nightmare of shelf liner paper?

These are the kinds of questions that keep me up at night.

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Priorities aren’t sexy. Madison Ave. doesn’t have a Cleo award winning ad campaign for successfully setting and living with priorities. We all have priorities, even my four year old. His priority is to play with Legos whenever possible. Knowing other people’s priorities can be an excellent negotiation tool. All I have to do is threaten to put the Legos away and suddenly I have a wonderful compliant little boy who cleans up after himself.

When you become a mom your priorities shift – did I say shift? Change that to pack up and move to another country. I have a hard time remembering what my priorities where before my son and I can not conceive of a day when he will not be my number one priority. I acknowledge the day will come. I just can’t picture what it looks like. In the meantime I move through my life, knowing that on the top of my personal manifesto is the care, love and feeding of a luscious little boy named Jem.

I would passionately argue that I am no less of a businesswoman for this shift in priorities; in fact I believe the contrary is true. I am more driven because of my son. My timelines might be different, but my goals are loftier and I am one hundred and fifty percent motivated to achieve. All for the love of a little boy.

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