Simply put, mothers like Maya DiMeo and I are forced to be fierce. Our tender mother-hearts turn from timid to courageous lion-hearts. Our roars routinely herald our arrival in the hallways of schools and countless meetings. Our once polished nails click like claws on laptop keys punching pushy emails to doctors, teachers, and therapists.
Watching the first episode of Speechless on ABC’ about a family eerily similar to my own, was like seeing the past from a train, riding backwards through our past. Chaotic scenes framed through the TV window of old, beat-up vans racing to get the kids to school on time and settling for the cheapest place to live in the best school district. Scenes like those of the paraprofessionals who sometimes start rough but soon become the lifeblood of safety, opportunity, and the the bridge between the family and the institution.
Am I like Maya DiMeo?
Am I pushy, caustic, frantic yet focused, a laser able to burn through bureaucracies leaving them dazed and confused? Was I like Maya, struggling to balance the needs of a husband, a child with special needs and other children who could be easily lost as I wheeled through the demands of each day?
While capable of all of that, I am most often described by others as intimidating, unreasonable, tenacious as a pitbull, and a velvet hammer (my personal favorite). Not quite as fun and quirky in person as Maya is on TV.