24 of 1000 – Courage

Celia, “Courage – Willingness to accept with humility. We can never truly understand what a person with a spinal cord injury is going through. You have to be courageous in dealing with situations.Tip #3

Celia is one of the sweetest Moms I wish I had never met.  When meeting a Mom at the Shriner’s Hospital in Philadelphia, you become a member of an exclusively, unfortunate group, of fortunate Moms.  Without speaking a word, there is a deep understanding for the new world order.  No explanation or introduction is required.

Moms at the Shriner’s Hospital live with the terror of what might have been, while working to champion a forward focus.  We were catapulted into the world of disability.  A new vocabulary, a new world, new people, lots of new people.  Yesterday’s priorities have long disappeared!

New words, never before heard, now are common.  To say a “heightened awareness” is to simplify the magnitude of it all.  

Ramps look steeper (once unnoticed), doors are heavier (never considered before), bathrooms and booths are too small, and stairs (I can’t even stand stairs).  Members in this club live differently, and notice more.  Membership is pricey!

Celia exuded courage, just as she recommends in tip #3!  I’m sure she did have fear.  If so, it could only be slightly be detected, and only by a Mom who was also working on suppressing the same.

I agree, we must demonstrate courage if we are to evoke security in our children.  They will see the fear in our eyes.  We must be diligent!  When I needed this level of strength, I called it my “Meryl Streep Mother Mode.”  I could channel this in a moment’s notice, and I did!

As Moms, we are tested in far too many ways.  Some tests are harder than others. Handling a spinal cord injury is a biggie! It is scary time for everyone!  All things familiar are no more.  When things get scary, Moms must be extra strong and courageous!

I recall the advice of a dear friend when Michael was injured, she said, “You keep your lipstick and earrings on, and Michael will know everything will be ok.”  That was stabilizing for me.

I had previously shared with that same friend, a story from Michael’s childhood.  At about age 6, Michael described me as a Mom who wore earrings and lipstick.  She recalled the story, and knew we would be needing a sign of normalcy.  I needed some normalcy!  Lipstick and earrings served as somewhat of a grounding ritual for me.  That seemingly meaningless, and superficial, routine represented a transition to “Mother-mode.”  I was ‘on deck!’

I don’t believe Mothers have the luxury of losing their cool.  If we want to raise courageous children, we must model courage, even in the most difficult of tests, especially in the most difficult of tests!

In Celia, I saw a woman that did not “lose her cool.”  It is my hope, Michael could always find the same in me.

Thanks Celia, I’m so happy to know you and your wonderful young man!

Stay cool!

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