My mother was the first person who showed me unconditional love. My mother gave me direction and supported me along whatever journey or passion I was chasing. She picked me up when I fell. Celebrated with me in all my accomplishments. She put me in my place when I got cocky. She gave me room to make my own decisions. My mom did all the unpleasant things and made the sacrifices necessary for me to have the best life possible.
She spent many nights with me in hospital rooms with numerous surgeries. She helped me believe there was a world outside of the hospital walls. She built courage. She created hope.
My mom did not take the easy road. Raising a child with Cerebral Palsy in the 70s and 80s did not come with a playbook. She did not have the luxury of taking the path most have traveled. She had to be forward thinking and see what others could not see. She created a vision and communicated it with conviction. It got me to believe. It got others to believe. She got me to believe I could be more than someone in a wheelchair.
She got the school board to believe in the value of making the schools physically accessible to allow me access to education. She worked with the teachers to foster inclusion in the classroom to ensure that I could not only attend the class, but be included in the class. My mom planted the seeds for cognitive diversity and inclusion when the world still labeled me as ‘crippled’.
She taught me to be a continuous learner. She taught me to pick myself up when I fell. She taught me success was not walking the whole distance without stumbling, but success was getting back up. Success is not avoiding challenges and struggle, but sticking with the path to success.
Kids would pick on me. Beat me up. Girls would not date me. As I cried and healed you were there. As I made amazing friends and found the love of my life you celebrated me becoming whole.
My mom embraced her vulnerability when I chose to move away from home to attend university. She supported me and trusted me to hire the care I needed to support myself as I embarked on this challenge. The vision she had was now becoming my vision, and my responsibility to set and evolve. My responsibility to pass on my wisdom and make the difference she knew I could make.
She taught me that my vulnerability did not make me weak, but would make me stronger. It would help me develop empathy for struggle and change to help others through it.
Mom, you were one of the first and greatest leaders I have had. You taught me vision, tenacity, servant leadership, giving autonomy, empathy, and vulnerability. I will always have these memories. If I struggle with memories when I am older, as you suffer now, I will use these blogs to read to remind me or introduce me to your amazing legacy all over again.
I want to leave you with one thing:
- Call your mom if you still have the luxury to. Tell her you to love her. If not, reflect on her.
Every keystroke is precious so I will end here.
Lead how you would like to be led.
Medium — https://medium.com/dave-dame