They cried when I went back to work.
They cried, and begged me not to go —begged me to stay with them
like I’d done for so long.
And although I might have appeared tough
when I told them not to cry,
my heart was already broken
when I kissed them goodbye,
and boarded the bus —the shared ride that picked me up
an hour too early, and brought me home
an hour too late
making life feel like an endless wheel
of exhausting days
that became a blur
when the little boys
who cried when I went to work
grew up to see me
as a failure
even though I had worked so hard
to give them
everything I thought
I never had.
I now realize
that all I’d ever wanted
was for my kids to have
a normal life, perhaps,
forgetting that normal
is like trying to fit a square peg in a round hole….like
applying able-bodied rules
to the logistics of our disabled world
because no matter how complete we feel,
or how whole we really are,
disabled parents will always first be judged
by our differences.
How I wish I could go back in time
and hug my boys just a bit longer.
I wish I could have stayed home with them
for the remainder of their childhood,
but there I was, going back to work because
everybody wanted to live my life,
I was still their mom, and no amount of pity
was going to put food on the table,
and I had to provide for my babies
I may be.
From “Bubbles of Ableism:A Disabled Woman’s Journey of Love & Motherhood” by Maria R. Palacios, available on Amazon.