The little girl in the picture above is my mom as a March of Dimes poster child in 1952. In that year, she was one of 1,439 persons stricken with polio in Los Angeles alone.
At 8 months old my mother became mysteriously paralyzed from the neck down. She was diagnosed with polio and slowly regained the use of her body once the disease settled in her leg. As expected, her childhood was filled with challenges. Aside from her inability to jump rope and hopscotch, she wore a cumbersome metal brace and spent the greater part of her youth in hospitals undergoing multiple surgeries.
My mom has never been able to run, ride a bike, dance or even chase after her own child. I always understood my mom had limitations. Strangers would rudely stare at us in public because she walked with a limp. The staring always bothered me but she would simply insist that people were curious. She's been cursed out in public for parking in disabled parking spaces, only for her to thank the individual for their concern and offer a gentle reminder that disabled people come in all forms.
For all the things my mom was unable to do, she continually focused her energy on the amazing things she could do. My mom turned to music from a young age and parlayed her passion into a career teaching piano, composing music and ultimately owning her own music studio. My mom always said music could take her anywhere she needed to be, and it did.
Her fighter spirit, warm heart and positive attitude serve as a daily reminder that our challenges are only as insurmountable as we allow them to be. My mom may have had polio but polio never had her, not even for a moment.
My mother epitomizes perseverance, patience and grace in all she does. These qualities have made her an inspiration for righteous living in my life and the lives of so many.