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IN PRAISE OF MOMS WHO MAKE IT HAPPEN

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  • pluker4856
    Last year Calvin wrote and sent out this OCLB Mother s Day homepage celebrating the work of OCLB s four mothers were doing to save IDEA. The message of the
    Message 1 of 1 , May 8, 2005
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      Last year Calvin wrote and sent out this OCLB Mother's Day homepage
      celebrating the work of OCLB's four mothers were doing to save
      IDEA. The message of the power of Moms and the chance to praise
      them remains equally timely this year, so we thought we would send
      it out again. To moms everywhere, you continue to make the
      difference: changing the world by changing things for your
      children. We celebrate all moms. Happy Mother's Day to you all!

      The OCLB Team

      Yesterday, my wife, Tricia, and I attended an IEP. As is my
      practice, I started writing the attendees' names down the left side
      of my page in the order they were sitting. The names began with
      Tricia, Michele, Michelle, Kelly, Elizabeth, Joy, etc. At the end
      of the list came Brent, Tom and Calvin. It was a typical IEP for
      me. The dad; the special education director; and me. All the other
      attendees were women – most of them mothers.

      Tricia and I finished the IEP and dashed to our next activity, an
      afternoon school district workshop. I introduced the topic –
      positive behavior support – to an audience of 25 school
      psychologists, social workers and therapists. It was a typical
      workshop for me. Four of them were men. All the other attendees
      were women – most of them mothers.

      Why does this happen? I don't know, but it does, all the time.
      Susan Zimmermann, in her book, Grief Dancers, wrote that:

      Nothing is going right. No one is able to help. Those we thought
      would be there for us are nowhere to be found. Those we most love
      can't reach out to us. "Why me?" repeats in our brains as our anger
      and frustration grows – at our spouses, our friends, our relatives,
      everyone. We cry. We scream. No one hears us. We keep moving and
      somewhere far down the path, the "why me?" turns into "yes, me."
      (p. 75)

      Last May, four moms got together to throw up a web site to keep
      families in the loop on Congressional efforts to "reauthorize" the
      Individuals with Disabilities Education Act [IDEA]. They were not
      sure what they were getting into, or that it would have any real
      effect on the IDEA debate. After all, as Tricia likes to say, they
      were "just moms." But they knew that they had to do something to
      try to save IDEA for their kids. They instinctively knew that by
      doing something for their kids they were doing something for all
      kids.

      I have been a lawyer for 23 years, and have concentrated on
      disability law for the last 14 years. My clients are moms; women
      singularly focused on their children, and on what best will help
      their children to find safety and success. The moms I see and
      represent on a daily basis make the world go around for all children.

      Tricia likes to close her workshop sessions by talking about her
      relationship with our daughter, Jessica, who tiptoed into the arms
      of the angels in 1999. She cites a passage in Psalms that says that
      we knew our children in heaven before they were born to us on
      earth. Tricia talks about choice; about the fact that while still
      in heaven Jessica chose Tricia to be her mother, not because Tricia
      was special, but because being Jessica's mom would make Tricia
      special.

      To me there is a real mystery to being a mom. There is so much I
      see but do not understand, and perhaps never can understand. Again,
      Susan Zimmermann, in Grief Dancers, speaks of a relationship I only
      see from the outside:

      Sometimes we are deserted by those we've most trusted. "It's your
      problem," they say, perhaps not even realizing they've turned away,
      unable to reach out a hand. When we've been abandoned, we go deep
      within and, over time, find our strength. We go far outside and,
      over time, find teachers in unexpected friends. (p. 59)

      I did not really expect to have any difficulty writing today's
      homepage. Tricia has been my beacon and my compass for years. She
      has shown me time and again that moms don't quit. They go on
      because they have to, and because they go on they change the world,
      not just for their kids, but for all kids. She has shown me that
      our kids do choose us to make us special.

      But finding any words to express the profound effect and control
      that mothers exert over our educational system, especially in the
      context of IDEA, seems to be an impossible task for me right now. I
      cannot explain the power of a mom, I only can stand in awe of it,
      and in awe of all the moms, especially Tricia, who have touched and
      changed my life.

      When I was younger I lamented that there was no "Children's Day"
      similar to "Mother's Day" or "Father's Day," where children would
      have an opportunity to reap presents simply because they were
      children. After all, these "Days" were just veiled opportunities
      for people to get presents and stuff.

      How wrong I was. Tricia and the other three moms of Our Children
      Left Behind, Shari, Debi and Sandy, are heroes motivated only by
      their desire to make life fair for their children. They are selfish
      for their kids, and selfless to themselves. For me they are
      the "teachers in unexpected friends" who inspire me in my efforts.

      America honors its mothers on Sunday. That is as it should be. But
      I suggest that we should honor mothers every day. They drive our
      whole society, not because of choices they made, but because of
      choices their children made for them. In this Venus/Mars world we
      live in I'm not really sure I'll ever fully understand what that
      means. I just accept it as the truth.

      To Tricia, the OCLB moms and the moms of IDEA I say "thanks." I
      know in my heart that if we successfully defend IDEA against the
      changes being proposed in Congress, it will be because you moms
      would not accept that outcome for your children. You all have
      said "Yes, me," and have made the world – my world and the world of
      our children – so much stronger and better for it. You have made it
      happen. We cannot thank you enough.

      Happy Mother's Day.

      Calvin Luker
      www.ourchildrenleftbehind.com

      Copyright 2004 by Tricia and Calvin Luker. Permission to forward,
      copy and post this article is granted so long as it is attributed to
      the authors and www.ourchildrenleftbehind.com.
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