The sun is already up by the time I wake up, its rays are penetrating through my curtains, it isn’t very hot outside otherwise, and the gleam of light penetrating through my curtains into the room would be hurting to my eyes. It rained last night and the smell of wet soil makes me sick. It isn’t like the past; I used to love the smell of wet soil, but not anymore. Things have really changed. I have grown a great deal, I have laughed and loved, I have wept and rejoiced, and, and I no longer eat soil.
Timo is fast asleep, he snores, his mouth is open, and a dried white line runs across his cheek (saliva). He is not about to wake up. I want to read my Bible, a verse from yesterday’s sermon, I remember the word, and how it touched me, I remember the pastor and his great sense of humor. I also remember the woman who had sat beside me during the service. I remember her long, locked, dyed hair, her soft chocolate face, a mole on her upper lip, her almost flat chest and her oversized hips. I even remember the body hugging pink dress that she was wearing, and her black boots, and her white purse (pink, black, and white in a brown body, is that what the fashionistas call color blocking these days?).I don’t know why she offered to hold Timo, maybe it is because she loves children, or maybe she wanted an excuse to remain seated while other faithfuls stood to praise, or maybe, she wanted to just help so I could rest for a while. I could have asked her why she wanted to hold my baby. She didn’t look like the type that loves babies. I could have asked why, I could have asked, I didn’t ask. I handed her the baby and looked at her perhaps to decipher her reasons for wanting to hold my baby. She made herself more comfortable in her chair, and proceeded to expose the baby’s face. All this while my eyes were fixed on her, she was startled I could tell from the way she heaved herself forward suddenly, from the way her upper lip, the one with the mole quivered, from the way tiny droplets of a liquid gathered on her face. She must have had sweat dripping down her spine. She must have felt a sudden strong urge to itch her armpits, she must have, and she must have. She handed me my baby after three minutes, only three minutes and I could tell they had been the three longest minutes in her life. She was going to pee. She left, with her purse. The service went on. The people sang, the preacher preached, prayers were said and the service ended. She; the woman with oversize hips, whose hair was locked, the woman who had asked to hold Tim for a while, she didn’t come back, I hope she didn’t pee on herself, I hope she reached the toilets before her sphincters gave way. I hope she is fine because, some things are traumatizing, things like Tim’s face.
Tim is different. He is turning nine in three months. He is not in class two like most of his age mates. He does not play, he does not know how to sit down yet, he doesn’t even know how to talk. He doesn’t know me, he doesn’t know that I am his mama, he doesn’t know himself, he doesn’t know his name, and he doesn’t know that he is a boy. Tim is a special child you know, he doesn’t talk, he doesn’t hear, he doesn’t walk, he only sees. I know he sees because he follows me with his eyes. He opens his eyes when he hears a sound, and he closes his eyes when there is too much light. Tim can’t turn away from too much light, his neck can’t turn. Even when he sleeps, he has to be turned or he will get decubitus ulcers for sleeping on one side for too long.
I am the mother of Tim. It’s been nine years, I cannot complain. I do not know why He gave me this child, this child that cost me my husband, his father. I do not know how He decided that I should be the one to carry him in my womb, and to take care of him forever. As long as he lives, he is going to need me by his side. He has cerebral palsy. I used to take him for therapy, physiotherapy but I no longer take him. I haven’t given up yet, but I somehow know nothing will change his state, not even physiotherapy. I can’t keep house girls; I work, in a school, as a matron. I always lock him in the house, carry my bag and leave. He cries, when I am away. He becomes hungry. But I can’t do anything against it. If I stay at home, we will both starve to death. So I choose to leave him. If he would talk, I know he would love to ask why I leave, he would never ask though.
Being a mother of a special child is special. If the special child is the first, you will get paranoid. You will not want to have other children for fear of having a similar child. Your husband might leave you. Your relatives might stop associating with you. You might fear traveling with your baby because people stare, others get amazed and awed, and in this era, others take photographs of their faces, their shriveled hands and upload them with hash tag…thanking God I am normal…. Having a special child is not easy. If you are a little weak, you might abandon your child. I have heard of a couple who strangled a neonate with cleft lip and palate because they couldn’t live with the “shame”. That is despicable, shameful, inhuman, ugly, evil, and satanic. Children with cerebral palsy, autism, Down syndrome, cleft lip and cleft palate, congenital talipes, hydrocephalus among other conditions should be left to live. They should be helped to live as comfortable as is possible…………
STRENGHT TO MOTHERS RAISING THESE CHILDREN………
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