I believe that I am blessed by my children.
I admire my children for hours: the curve of their shoulder, the bulk of their jowel-like cheek, the wideness of their mouth when they are really laughing.
I love to identify the source of their traits: my high forehead on my daughter, my husband’s strong, wide nose in the middle of my sons’ faces. I especially love my daughter’s eyes. They are not only mine, but my mother’s, and her mother’s, as well. These same striking eyes are found on my two aunts and an uncle. People who knew my grandmother see her in my daughter’s eyes.
I also see some of my traits I wish they didn’t inherit: the bumps across my son’s arms, the trademark Italian dark circles under my daughter’s eyes. Do they also carry my bipolar disorder in their genes? I tell myself that I don’t see that mark on my daughter. I pray that she will bravely pass through those years without the attempts on her own life. I know that she will not believe me when I tell her that I felt that way once, too, before I learned to manage the mania, the panic, the despair. But will she let me hold her through the nights when life doesn’t seem worth living any longer? Will I be able to pass on the only thing that allowed me to survive, my faith in God?
The fear of motherhood runs almost as deep as the love. A large percentage of people with autism have bipolar disorder. Did I cause Liam’s autism? Will I be the cause of Stephen’s? Or is there really any blame to lay?
My strength is marked by my survival. My children, though young, are undeniably strong. Liam is defeating his autism a little bit every day. A little boy is defeating a giant with his perseverance, and he may not even know it. My little girl will run over anything that comes before her, just as she runs our house to revolve around her. My baby boy will fight against his odds. That is strength.
I am in awe of each of my three children and I believe I am blessed with the gift of being their mother.
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