Today’s word is Momism. I am sorry it has taken me so long to get to this today but I’ve been caught up watching the live cam at Service Dog Project as one of their Great Danes is giving birth. But I guess it’s appropriate as I watch Scarlot become a Mom again. Momism refers to a dependence on maternal care.
This made me think of how my having Ataxia has affected my kids. In an artricle I wrote several yearas ago, I recalled that one benefit of my condition is the fact that my children have learned compassion. If a steep hill looms in front of us, one of them is bound to warn me and lend me a hand in navigating it. If someone is hurt or sad they notice. When I stumble, they are not embarrassed. They are truly concerned.
My daughter, Elise, also wrote this article several years ago:
From My Perspective
by Elise Gorzela
Being the teenage child of someone who suffers from an incurable disease is a lot simpler than you would think. It’s not like the movies ‘My Sister’s Keeper’ or ‘Listen to Your Heart’. Ataxia is never really like that. It’s a constant. Something, unfortunately, that is always there and always will be. Watching those movies I used to wonder what it would be like to be a kid of someone like that. It was the first time I realized that I was and it shocked me. I’ve never known the reality of my mother not having Ataxia. I don’t even remember being told why my mother walked funny. It’s just always been.
In elementary school no one asked me about my mother. And my mom didn’t need to be rushed into the hospital or have lots of tests be done so it rarely was on my mind. There was one incident in an after school class where I was with my brother, his friend, and some new kid we had just met. I don’t remember how the conversation had even gotten to this point, but the new kid looked at me angrily and said the three words that had horrified me to hear them, “Your mom’s retarded!”. He probably had just said it out of anger and hadn’t realized the enormity of what he just said, but it resulted in me pushing him onto the ground and me being banned from activities for the rest of the afternoon.
Misunderstanding is really the only hard part us youth get from knowing someone who walks like a drunken sailor. We learn though to just look people back in the eye when they stare at us for holding someone’s hand because they can’t get down a 6 in. curb or to not care that someone thinks we are the children of some alcoholic and thinks they should feel bad for us. We’ve seen what our parents might become and their future. We try not to think about it and for some of us we will have to think of it sooner than others. For most of us this is how our life is and we’ve learned to deal with it. We are not there to be embarrassed of them or feel ashamed.
We are there to stand for them. That’s how simple it is.
So I guess, in conclusion, I can say we’re all doing OK with this.