Today is Mother’s Day. A day when millions of moms wake up and feel grateful for their children, whether they are normally-developing or living with a disability. Yesterday, we shared one mother’s essay, Welcome to Holland, describing the experience of parenting a special needs child. Today, we’re sharing the perspective of a mom whose journey to Holland happened in one terrifying and life-altering instant.
“When my son was born I counted fingers and toes, and was happy to get the all clear from his doctor,” recalls Robbi, mom to 10-year-old Ian. Then, one summer day in 2009, Robbi’s world turned upside down. While walking home from swimming lessons with his older brother, Ian was struck by a car. “My sweet, gentle boy was lying in a hospital bed with a traumatic brain injury, says Robbi. “We were told that he would remain in a vegetative state for the rest of his life. I felt like Alice, falling down the rabbit hole.”
When Ian came to Gillette for rehabilitation, Robbi describes her state of hopelessness beginning to shift. “In my complete darkness, Ian’s nurse, Tiffany, walks in with a huge smile, sits next to me as if we were old friends and begins telling me about Ian’s new schedule which included meals, baths, school and therapy. I truly felt as if someone had turned on a light and opened the door.”
Soon, Ian’s recovery defied expectations. “He quickly learned to swallow, and soon he could talk. He was coming back to me,” says Robbi. Today, she says it would be difficult for a stranger to tell he nearly died from a severe brain injury.
“Ian still struggles with some lingering deficits and needs continued therapy,” recognizes Robbi. “Gillette gave me my son back, and gave me the tools to deal with the new normal that our lives have become.”