I have written about my Mother before, but as she gets older and her memory fades, I find myself reminiscing about our life and the life lessons she taught me without even trying. Both Mom and Dad treated me just like my Brothers and Sisters. Even though I was disabled, I was held to the same expectations as anyone else. This was most evident in my education. My Mother fought many battles with the Appleton Public School District and others in order to assure that I (and other students with disabilities) would have equal access to a quality education. We tend to take many things for granted in this world and assume that things have always been the way they are. When we do that, we forget the Trailblazers that fought the battles that helped change the Status Quo. I am proud to say my Mother was one of those Trailblazers.
One memorable example happened during my Junior year in High School. I was selected by my School to represent them at Badger Boy's State, a leadership experience sponsored by the American Legion. Soon after I was nominated, we were informed that I would not be allowed to participate because the facilities at Ripon College were not wheelchair accessible. My Mother was dumbfounded that an activity sponsored by an organization that represented many people with disabilities would not accept people with disabilities. That idea seems like common sense today, but at the time many people thought my Mom was being unreasonable by fighting the "Powers that be." She eventually won the fight and I was allowed to participate. It was a wonderful experience and I still use much of what I learned there. I also received many accolades for being the first wheelchair user to attend, but none of it would have been possible without the behind the scene efforts of my Mom!
So, on this special day set aside to honor Mother's everywhere, take a moment to remember the things your Mother has done to help shape the person you are today, and if you are a Mother remember, sometimes it's the unseen things that have the biggest effect on your children.