message from my mom

My husband’s grandma unexpectedly passed away this spring. It was heartbreaking and my first experience of losing a grandparent. I first met her when I was 16 and she watched me grow up and graduate high school, marry her grandson, finish college, land my first “real” job and have our sweet baby. I hate that she’s gone.

Recently we all met at her house to take any items that were special to us before things are packed and her house is sold. It was sad. It seemed like she should be in the kitchen, chatting with the ladies and whipping up something yummy. Not gone and the family emptying her home.

The notion you can’t take it with you pretty much slapped me in the face. A lifetime of treasures, gifts and items worked for remained. They meant nothing now. They will grow dusty and out-of-date as the months pass. Her greatest gift to this world filled the room that afternoon.

5 kids
13 grandkids
12 great grandkids

All of this remains because she decided to be a mom.  Until I became a mom, I did not really understand the amazing gift of it all. I also saw my own mom in a whole new light.  She had my brother at 18 and then at 20 she had a baby girl that required a lot of work. As if an “ordinary” baby didn’t demand enough she got one that involved years of operations, road trips to Chicago to see doctors, on-going physical therapy and I’m guessing a loss of herself as she gave up everything to help me shine.

I thought it would be fun to share my mom’s story. She’s not a blogger and doesn’t love to write…but she loves me and humored my request.  Here’s her story:   

Hi, I am Rachel’s mom.

When I was pregnant with Rachel, it was the days before an ultrasound. I had no idea anything would be wrong with my baby. I was young, healthy, and strong. To be honest, it never even entered my mind that she would have anything wrong with her.

When she was first born and they handed her to me, I noticed she had clubfoot and I thought it was no big deal. That was quite common….but her arms and hands had me puzzled.

What was wrong with my baby? 

The doctors took her away and were examining her. I was kind of annoyed and asked, Well….is it a boy or a girl?

They told me it was a girl and she has Arthrogryposis. I had never heard of it before. I was scared for her.

Finally Rachel’s father was allowed into the room and I told him, There is something wrong with our baby.

He looked at her and he said, Oh that’s not so serious. It made me feel better and I knew she would be okay. She was the most beautiful baby. She had big eyes, dark hair and I loved her so much.

After I got her home, I started taking her to an Orthopedic and he casted her arms and legs. Every week he would change them.

The morning before the new cast, I would soak her arms and legs in warm water and unravel the old casts off. It was easier for a little baby then sawing them off.

Rachel’s Uncle Kenny was a Shriner and he got us the paperwork to get her into the Shriners Hospital in Chicago.  When she was 3 months old, they were able to get her in for an appointment. They told us they would not keep her on the first visit. So after her exam, when they told me they would keep her and start casting every couple days. I totally lost it. I was not prepared for them to keep my baby. It was so hard to drive away from the hospital and leave her so far from home with strangers. I knew it was the best thing for her but it wasn’t easy. They kept her for a month and she was just fine. I on the other hand was a complete mess. Here is her 3 month picture. I would look at this picture while she was away and it broke my heart.


Rachel had five surgeries on her feet and a traction operation on her leg to straighten her knee, which lasted 5 weeks. She has had lots and lots of casts. I kept a lot of them and they are so sweet and tiny.

There is one thing I have always struggled with and I am sure many mothers of special needs children share my heart.

Was it my fault?

Was there something I did or did not do when I was pregnant?

We may never know, but I will always wonder.

Rachel and her brother Martin have been the joy of my life. Rachel has had so many people praying for her all these years. God has given me strength through it all. I know he has plans to use Rachel in mighty ways. I still worry about her, but I know he is in control.

3 thoughts on “message from my mom

  1. Wow. Even though I know that you've conquered all and are such an amazing and strong person, this post made me cry. I can't imagine how much strength your mom must have to have gotten through such a scary time. To have to say goodbye to you for a month, to have to soak your casts….if that were me, I would be sobbing the whole time. The story pulls at my heart strings of motherhood. God must have given you to your mother because he knew that she had the character and strength to build you up and give you what you needed to become the most amazing person that you are today. You are a very special person Rachel, and not just because you are truly living through your AMC, and clearly so is your lovely mom.


  2. Your posts always touch me to my core. They say God doesn't give us more than we can handle and you & your mom are obviously fine examples with your strength & spirit. I consider myself truly blessed to be part of your family. (even if your brother is a stinker sometimes & hid your barbies) 🙂


  3. Rach you have no idea how much my mum would love to talk to your mum!!!!!!! Coming from the view of being Christians, being a similar age with daughters who are the same age with a rare condition, gosh!


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