Friday, October 22, 2010

the kind of strength

My blog is "loosely" themed around my life with Sophie and Elora...but every now and then again I post about something slightly off topic because something moves me or speaks to me in a unique and profound way. My gracious followers...many of whom I know are fellow pet lovers and are here for Sophie and Elora not me per say...seem to give me that little bit of leeway now and then and still continue to come back and for that I thank you. I had intended, this week, to write about Elora and still have that post (and a few pics) ready to go...but I ask you instead to indulge me as I would like to veer from the stories of pets to comment briefly on the recent stories of strength that I have been witness to of late...stories that have moved me to my core.

I do not have children of my own but am blessed by the presence of children in my life through my wonderful nephews and through the children of my very best girlfriends. Even without having gone through it myself, I realize that the act of becoming a parent is quite likely the most wonderful, most life altering, most difficult and most rewarding experience out there. And I have seen, especially through the lens of my camera, how remarkable, whimsical, innocent and joyful children truly are....for a few brief years they get to live under the wonderful umbrella of no mistakes, no wrongs, no regrets, no responsiblities...other than to taste the world and start to become the person they will be. And that is a tremendous thing to see.

But I have also seen up close, in the last few months, a mother, in a room at SickKids Hospital, make her one year old son's face light up with a smile while a nurse adjusted his feeding tube...a device required to help him gain the weight he needed to in order to thrive. I have seen a busy mother of three, time and time again, bring a huge selection of homemade chicken fingers, cookies and more, to group gatherings so her four year old son, diganosed with autism a year ago, can stay on the diet that's best for him while still enjoying many of the foods that "all the other kids get to eat". And I have read the emails of another mother, sent out to her best girlfriends to let them know of her three year old daughter's recent diagnosis of diabetes, and these emails were filled with words of resolve and with words of hope and with words of bravery....she and her daughter were meeting the diagnosis head on, were getting educated and, it seemed, would not pause for a second to feel sorry for themselves or to ask "why me?". In that hospital room, at those group gatherings, in those emails I saw not only an unyeilding strength in these mothers, but the strength they gave their children and, in all three cases, felt my eyes well up with tears...not with sadness, not with sympathy...but with pride....and with love. I was so proud to know have people in my life like that to model myself after.

I know how it feels when one of my animals is in pain or is I can barely imagine how that must feel for a mother when it's her child. So to see a mother stand strong and make her little guy or girl laugh as his tube is adjusted or her finger is pricked to test blood sugar levels, knowing that a mom's tears would only make it worse for them...well, that's the kind of stength, the kind of stuff, that legends are made of. To those three mothers I know, I do not have the words to describe my admiration for your kind of strength...nor my love for you and for those kids.


Kathy said...

How right you are Andrea. Children are special little people and even if you have none of your own, sharing with friends and family gives you the love and feelings for kids. I have grandchildren who aren't a part of my life because of distance and yet I get to share the lives of children at my church by watching them in the nursery. It fills that empty hole that is there from missing my own grandkids.

Erin P said...

It's wonderful what love can do for us when we need to stand up and be strong!!

Scout 'n Freyja said...

Mothers are soft on the outside but made of steel on the inside. They are a cuddly refuge when their children need comfort but strong and resolute when they know that they must put themselves and their feelings aside to do what needs to be done for their child.

Carolynn said...

I don't have kids either, unless you count the ones with fur. The strength and courage that's present in these families is really beyond human understanding. Such a difficult journey they're on. Hopefully, they don't travel alone.

These are truly outstanding photos, Andrea. You've captured the essence of these children in a deep and lovely way. Your gift of photography seems to extend to small subjects of the human variety, as well as to animals.

I look forward to your posts, no matter what the content, because I am always assured that it will be heartfelt.


Tatersmama said...

What a beautiful post Andrea!
Yes, I do come here for Sophie and Elora, but it's mainly you - and your love and compassion - that draws me.
I don't care what you post, because when it comes down to it, it's all just different facets of a woman that we've come to love and respect.

Jan said...

I do come here for you.

Far Side of Fifty said...

Hi Andrea..we will read what ever you write. So just write whatever is on your mind.
These mother and children that you wrote about are strong..and they are lucky to have a friend like you..they probably gain strength from you too! :)

Bruce said...

I guess we do not know what kind of strength we have until it is tested. I have a new found admiration for my sister-in-law, Michelle, for the way she died with courage and dignity. I only hope that when my time comes, I can do the same. Thank you for your comforting words. They meant so much to us.
Sharon & Bruce the cat:)

Jeanne said...

You have my permission to deviate from the norm and tell us these kinds of story any time.

Jennifer said...

I am not sure if there is such a thing as a mom who doesn't shed tears over their children. I know I can't hold back, yet my memories of my mother (far side) are of her being strong when I was in pain, yet that is how I remember it because I choose to when asked if she cried the answer was yes, of course. Lovely blog post today.

Janice said...

Well I wasn't expecting to start my day crying I'm glad I didn't miss this post. Those photos are awesome and the women and children that prompted it even more so.

Fantastyk Voyager said...

Such beautiful photos and touching stories!! You've captured their souls in pictures and words.