From Denial to Acceptance––My Daughter’s Disability, By: Francesca Buttitta

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Guest Blogger: Francesca Buttitta

I was seventeen years old when I met my Prince Charming, my husband for thirty-one years now. I was twenty-one, my husband, twenty-two, when we tied the knot. The following year, I gave birth to my first child. Three years later, I gave birth to my second child.

I looked at my little girls with love I never knew existed.

Being a mother was something I dreamed of since I was a young girl. My dream had finally come true. I remember that special moment when I wrapped my arms around my children for the first time––what a precious gift. I promised to love them unconditionally and to always protect them. I wanted my girls to be happy, and I would do anything in my power to make sure that it would happen.

I knew motherhood would be something special. I wanted to be there for my girls as they took their first baby step; to proudly witness their first words; to take them to school.  Eventually, I would want my kids to find their true love, just as I had found mine.  And, of course, I want to be a grandmother (Shhhh).

But little did I know that this perfect picture I painted wasn’t as perfect as I wanted it to be.

My second child was diagnosed with an eye disorder called, Cone Dystrophy, when she was fourteen years old.  I thought I had failed as a mother and I felt overwhelmed as to how I could help my disabled child.  Fear had washed over me in no time.

I began to cry when no one was watching because I knew I had to be brave for my family.  I was in denial of her condition.  I started to ask myself on a regular basis: what I had done wrong as a mother to deserve all this?

Nowhere in my perfect picture was there supposed to be a baby who over time became legally blind.  No one had ever taught me to be a mother in the first place, and I certainly was never taught how to accept her eye disorder.

I remember the first time she came home with a cane for the blind, my heart ached to see her like this. I was frightened for her.  What if people stare at her? What if they don’t’ accept her? What if I wasn’t there to help?

I wanted to hold her tight in my arms like when she was a baby. I wanted to keep my promise of keeping her safe, but I knew I had to learn to let go, accept, and see her for who she really was and is.

With time she helped me see her disability differently, and no, I didn’t fail as a mother—God really wasn’t punishing me!  Soon enough I saw the intelligence, beauty, and strength in my child that was always there.  At first, I was too blinded by her condition that I had almost forgotten to look at her for what she had to offer to this world.

All I needed to do was accept and let go.  Easier said than done.   But with time and education provided by my daughter to me personally—not to mention our connection with the Commission for the Blind—I felt happy again.

My little girl is all grown up now and independent.  She is attending college, writing, and inspiring and helping others. I couldn’t be more proud.

Today I look at my girls with pride and I feel so blessed to have them in my life. You know, I did alright as a mother, and I am proud of my daughters for who they are. Their imperfections have made them perfect! At least, they are to me!

***

 “In giving birth to our babies, we may find that we give birth to new possibilities within ourselves.” ~Myla and Jon Kabat-Zinn

Copyright © 2015 Embracing Your Differences, All rights reserved.

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