Amazing Moms, Part 1

2014-05-01 15.10.21It’s Mothers Day weekend!

Yes, I make a whole weekend of it.

One day out of the year is not nearly enough to honor all that we mothers do.

I cleaned a seriously nasty toilet today which warrants waaaaay more than a token bouquet on Sunday.

I’m kicking off the celebration tonight with a girls night out with my daughter—shopping, sushi and a flick or two.

Tomorrow I’ve got a morning bike ride planned with a friend. We’re doing the 100 miler for “Little Red Riding Hood” in a few weeks so we’ve got to get some more mileage in the saddle before then! After that I’m pretty sure I’ll need a nice long soak in the tub, a nap, then my sweetie is whisking me off for a date night.

Sunday will include a sweet serenade from darling Primary children in church, a delicious dinner of Papa Murphy’s Chicago-style stuffed pizza (the only time I EVER get this pizza because my kids always veto it) and Fresca on the rocks (another kid snub).

It will be awesome.

But enough about me.

What I really want to do with this post is highlight some AMAZING moms I got to know recently.

2014-05-01 15.12.06Last week, I had the opportunity to help create and work in a service booth at BYU Women’s Conference. A friend of mine was asked to put together a “Sharing Station” booth display on the subject of serving families with special needs children and I was honored to be included.

It’s been a unexpected, enlightening and humbling experience for me.

What I realized in this process is that when we don’t know what to do for people with special needs, we do nothing—me included.

I want to help, but I don’t know how.

I don’t know what to say or do and I don’t want to offend, so I shy away.

True for most of us, right?

When it doesn’t concern us directly we usually don’t inform ourselves or get involved, but people with special needs should concern us directly because they’re all around us. They need our love and support. They need our understanding and friendship.

We all have to start somewhere and working on this booth made me and my two project comrades start somewhere, and it changed us forever.

2014-05-01 15.17.36We chose the theme of “I’ll Walk With You” based on the Primary song (one of my favorites). As we worked on content for our booth we realized these lyrics epitomize what we are supposed to do for people with special needs. Some of the lyrics are:

If you don’t walk as most people do,
Some people walk away from you, but I won’t! I won’t!

If you don’t talk as most people do,
Some people talk and laugh at you, but I won’t! I won’t!

I’ll walk with you. I’ll talk with you.
That’s how I’ll show my love for you.

Jesus walked away from none.
He gave his love to everyone.

I’ll walk with you. I’ll talk with you.
That’s how I’ll show my love for you.

Since the booth was for women’s conference, and the care of special needs children is primarily done by mothers, the three of us decided to interview a few moms in our neighborhoods who have children with special needs.

2014-05-01 15.17.59We asked the following questions:
– What is a day in your life in caring for your child/children with special needs?
– What are the blessings of your child/children?
– What are the challenges of your child/children?
– What can we do to help?

Their answers were enlightening and touching.

I got teary.

And the things we can do to help them were surprisingly simple. Too often we think it’s going to be complicated to get involved when really it’s small, simple things that help these families the most, like saving a certain bench for them at church that suits their specific needs. These moms need friends, they want to be included and talked to like anyone else. They just want their children to be included and have friends too.

Easy enough.

Not scary at all.

We just need to ask more questions.

One of the best parts of this experience was learning about a great website with tons of information and resources to help us be more supportive of people with special needs:
lds.org/topics/disability
It’s very comprehensive, from a detailed list of disabilities to specific helps for parents, siblings, grandparents, teachers, leaders, etc., as well as links to other sites with more information and helpful organizations.

Check it out!

Click on stuff!

You’ll be amazed what you learn.

As part of our booth we made profile pages with some highlights of the answers we got from the four moms we interviewed. In honor of Mothers Day weekend, I’m going to post the profiles over the next three days so you can learn just how amazing these moms are and just how easy it is to reach out and serve them and their children with special needs.

Have a great weekend!

Jennifer

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