Most people believe their mother and father to be the greatest in the world, particularly this time of year. Watch any major sporting event on TV or attend a graduation ceremony and invariably you will see testimonials over and over to that fact. You are all wrong.
My mom—Déan Gregory-Stewart—is the greatest.
Lemme tell you some of the reasons why. To this day, I’m thirty years old and counting, I have yet to meet a woman, who has had to deal with challenge after challenge and almost never break a sweat.
At 25 years old, while still a newlywed her twin sons—my brother, Darren, and I—were both diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy. Within a year of that diagnosis, my mother determined to fix her babies, having heard great things about socialized medicine and its remarkable results on people with disabilities, and being closely allied with the Manley government in our native Jamaica, moved with one of her sisters to Cuba, leaving her young daughter and new husband behind.
It must have been, quite a culture shock for her, new language, new culture, new babies and few friends or family to lean on. But, almost seamlessly, she did it.
We were there for three years.
Our return to Jamaica soon led to the breakup of her marriage to my father. With the support of my extended Caribbean family she was able to raise us alone. One can only imagine now how nice it would have been for her to have a partner to lean on as she watched her babies grow up, while trying to be a supportive and nurturing parent to my sister, Michelle, but it was not meant to be.
When I was nine, my mother realized that there was little or no future in Jamaica for Darren and me, despite our family’s social connections.
So we moved again, this time to the States. We would start from ground zero here. Few friends, and even fewer family members. But she did it. Spending days and nights working to make a life for herself and her
family, she would at times work two jobs while juggling the demands of day to day parenting, homework, two or more daily sets of therapy sessions each, and of course, bouts of homesickness.
When we cried in sheer frustration because of the hand that God had dealt us, she, too, would cry, but not for long. She would soon encourage us to move on and be positive. It was not easy, but with her help we took that advice and made fruit punch out of what some would call lemons.
Twenty years later, all three of her children are college graduates. Michelle is a Pediatrician living in Jamaica with her three children: Stuart, 11, Nicholas, 6, and Duncan who is 6-months old. Darren has a degree in Social Work and I have one in Journalism.
What is so amazing is that she does not think herself to be particularly special.
Funny, this is one time that I can tell her that she is wrong, and know that I’m right.
Happy Mother’s Day, Mummy.
Care to keep the audacity alive in your life? Donate. Every dollar helps writers with disabilities write about their audacious lives.