Mother’s Day Letter to my Mother

I wrote this letter to my mother to share empathy for all that she has experienced raising a child with a hand difference and express my appreciation and gratitude for all that she has contributed to me over my life.

I want to celebrate all the mothers raising children with disabilities and limb differences in particular; thank you for everything that you do on behalf of your children that goes above and beyond loving, caring for, helping, listening, and sharing yourself, your time, & your energy:

  • advocating for your child’s needs in school and extracurriculars
  • connecting with other families to ask questions and set up get togethers
  • including siblings whenever appropriate/helpful to enable them to develop strong bonds of empathy and connection
  • problem solving with your child how they can cook, sew, play an instrument or sport, or a million other things
  • researching the right camps and programs
  • taking your children to medical providers

Dear Mom, 

When I was born, I imagine that you felt a lot of emotions, some of them conflicting: 
– awe – confusion – fear – joy – relief – shock  … and probably many more! 

I imagine a lot of things were really hard for you:

  • You didn’t expect to have a child with a hand difference.
  • You blamed yourself for my difference. No one told you otherwise.
  • No one offered you support or guidance on how to raise a child with a hand difference.
  • Even the pediatrician never mentioned my hand or asked how you were managing

You worried a lot.

  • You feared people would be unkind.
  • You worried I wouldn’t be able to do things like everyone else.
  • You questioned if I would have enough strength to deal with everything.
  • You felt distressed that I would suffer from something I didn’t choose.

Everything you felt makes sense.

  • In the world we lived in at that time, my hand was seen as “defective” and disability was viewed negatively.
  • Of course you couldn’t predict how my life would turn out.
  • You didn’t know how strong I am and would be – how could you?

While I sometimes questioned why I was born different, I never blamed you for my hand difference – it wasn’t your fault.

I have experienced challenges, but I also have been blessed with an incredibly joyful and fulfilling life.

All I ever wanted was to know you love me exactly as I am and that you’re proud of the person I’ve become.

And one more thing … What I learned from my experiences have helped me in my life. Every day, I use the
– advocacy – creativity – empathy – perseverance – strength – problem solving that I developed:
– in my work life as an occupational therapist
– in my personal life as a wife, mother, daughter, sister, & friend

What none of us could have imagined that has changed my life is finding the beautiful community of people with limb differences where I feel accepted, appreciated, celebrated, connected, understood, & warmly welcomed

So on this Mother’s Day – and every day – thank you for all you did to make me the person I am today.

Thank you for your support & encouragement to try all the things I wanted to do.

And thank you for the millions of things you did for me that I will never know about.

I love & appreciate you!

Your loving daughter,

[me]

Mother's Day Letter to my Mother pages 1 and 2

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© 2024. Laura Faye Clubok, MS, OTR/L, On The Other Hand Therapy