Monday Coffee and Other Stories of Mothering Children with Special Needsby Darolyn Lyn Jones
Mothers of children with special needs feel guilt, sadness, and joy simultaneously, which is hard to understand. The mothers in this anthology don't seek pity; instead, they illustrate a complexity of emotions that start with diagnosis, explore care in both early and later years, and invite us to witness the aftermath of too-early deaths of their children. Weaving… See more details below
Mothers of children with special needs feel guilt, sadness, and joy simultaneously, which is hard to understand. The mothers in this anthology don't seek pity; instead, they illustrate a complexity of emotions that start with diagnosis, explore care in both early and later years, and invite us to witness the aftermath of too-early deaths of their children. Weaving together essays, poems, and graphics by mothers of children with a wide range of disabilities, Jones and Whiteacre have edited a collection that highlights the challenges and joys of motherhood, exposing both fears and guilty pleasures as mothers explore their relationships with their children, partners, families, caregivers, educators, and the medical community.
"An exceptional compilation of writings. This is very important reading for educators, physicians, therapists and anyone who works with families of children with special needs. It will make us laugh and make us cry. And most importantly, it will open our eyes and help us to understand and support more effectively."
- Dr. Ina Whitman, Neonatologist, St. Vincent Women's Hospital
"In Monday Coffee & Other Stories of Mothering Children with Special Needs, the authors deal with severe hardships generated by children who suffer from debilitating conditions that require constant care and a society in general that grows less inclined - or financially able if you prefer political correctness over truth - to help. They all deal with the guilt, frustration, anger, and pain this struggle causes. Each mother has learned to do that in her own way and has become stronger. What these narratives share with us, as readers, is a sense of hope translated into language through the grace of the actions that created the words. Do humanity a favor and contribute to a worthy enterprise by buying this book. Do yourself a favor by reading it."
-Jim McGarrah, award-winning author of A Temporary Sort of Peace and Breakfast at Denny's
"'Special parents aren't chosen, they're made' says Ann Bremer in an essay from this remarkable book. Forged is more like it, or annealed perhaps, in a crucible you cannot comprehend unless you, too, have been the parent of a child with Autism, or Down Syndrome, or Cerebral Palsy, or any of the other conditions gathered under the currently-popular sobriquet of 'special needs.' These haunting essays and poems returned me to the early, dark time of my son's birth and diagnosis, before I picked my cautious way, as these authors do, through the ruins of a naïve dream of the perfect, golden family back into gratitude for the families that we have.
There is no Pollyanna hope in this honest, raw book, but the writing resonates with complex emotions that transcend despair. I came away with empathy and admiration for the fierce faith and fortitude of these mothers, who remind me of those in support groups I joined and founded when my son was in grammar school. While other parents fretted over invitations to parties and college applications, we wondered things like, will my child ever say the word 'Mom'? Who will care for him when I am gone? Who will pay for that? Who will love him? Or, even, will my child still be alive the fall of his or her senior year?
And yet, somehow, we go on. We go on by learning to re-frame our visions of perfection. And we go on, too, because we have each other. And we have books like this one, to remind us with power and grace how to endure what we sometimes fear we cannot."
-Rebecca Foust, award-winning author of God, Seed, All That Gorgeous Pitiless Song, and a new manuscript shortlisted for the Dorset and Kathryn A. Morton prizes
- Writers' Center of Indiana
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These are voices who deserve to be heard. The world often views children with special needs as invisible, and the voices of their parents, consumed by care-giving, are often silenced by weariness and responsibilities. How refreshing to hear their stories, to see the depths of their love and devotion, to meet their beautiful and special children.
...before I give my opinion: I'm one of the authors whose work is featured in this book. That said, I've not met any of the other authors, nor read their work previously. And after reading most of the other essays, I'm proud to appear alongside such talented and dedicated mothers. No self-pity to be found here, nor claims that raising a child with special needs turned out to be anyone's calling. Just raw emotion and honesty. Thank you to all my fellow authors for setting the bar so high, and to the editors for seeing fit to include my work.