It’s certainly become a common phrase, and way too over used in my humble little opinion. Except for a certain group; Mums of special needs kids.
I’m not saying they are the only Mums out there deserving of a ‘super’ title, but almost to a tee, each Special Needs Mum deserves not only a title, but a crown and a kingdom to go with it.
I almost decided not to post on this subject, fraught as it is with touchy subjects, and as un-qualified as I am to write about special needs kids, with my one healthy and ‘normal’ child. Within my family are three special needs kids (well, one is an adult), one of whom a cousin I am close to. We’ll call this particular 11 year old girl Jewel.
Jewel is a gorgeous young girl, pretty and blonde, with a sunny and joyful personality. She loves music and dancing. Her exact diagnosis is a bit of a mystery, even to the experts it seems sometimes, but she falls within the Autism Spectrum. She also has speech delay issues and muscle tone problems, and has previously been diagnosed with Pervasive Development Disorder. What all this means, in simple terms, is Jewel sometimes has trouble modifying her behaviour to appropriate levels, and has trouble communicating with people. Her family all understand her well, but most strangers have a hard time understanding her speech.
I have watched her mother, an Aunt I am so close to I sometimes think of like a big sister, see her newborn baby placed in a medieval-looking cast for her ‘clicky hips’, then go from initially having some concerns about her baby’s development to the eventual diagnosis. I have watched on as she dealt with the new reality of her daughter’s life, re-assessing her hopes and goals for her. And I have been always impressed with the grace, unwavering love, patience and yes, even humour she has faced this with.
Now I know compared to some others, Jewel’s condition is relatively lucky. She is able-bodied, reasonably coherent and able to express love for her family and friends, but I don’t think disabilities are as easily quantified as that. Your hopes and dreams for your child have still been drastically altered, your reality changed forever. Heartbreak is heartbreak.
Through Jewel, I have met some of her friends, all with different levels of physical and mental impairment. And meeting the Mums, I am struck that, with all their different personalities, they all possess a certain something; a flinty strength of character, not easily defined, but certainly courageous, hopeful and steeped in love. And what’s more Super than that?
In writing this, I am aware that I have only talked about Mums. Mainly because it’s the Mums I have met, and as a woman I tend to relate more to other women, but the Dads I have met are no less impressive. In the case of Jewel’s family, she has an amazing Dad, patient, loving and encouraging. She also has a pretty outstanding older brother, who has always been a great kid, but has perhaps a bit more compassion, maturity and empathy for the situations of others than the average 14 year old.