A Tailor-Made Mother for a Child with a Disability

When I was young, other kids occasionally made fun of me for being short or walking differently or using a wheelchair.Dessa on Rock

My mom helped me emotionally and intellectually understand a world that could be unfair and discriminatory.
She always took the time to talk to me about how this made me feel, letting me cry, but not letting me get stuck feeling bad for myself.

I’m what you call a Little Person and was born without femur (thigh bones) and knees.

Dessa and mom kiss

As a disabled woman (or not, for that fact), I really couldn’t have asked for a better mom. But she was tailor-made to see me through this challenge.

She explained that people’s questions were out of curiosity, and that cruelness was out of the other person’s own feelings of inadequacy.

She’s the one who taught me compassion and patience – but also to stand up for myself when I wasn’t being treated fairly.

I soaked up her feminist values and they served me well especially during those teenage years of self-angst.

View More: http://stockinphotographic.pass.us/event/JhTrZ124921

On my wedding day, loving, encouraging and being, well, herself.

Rather than trying to live up to a beauty standard I’d never meet, mom had me focused on pursuing my dreams and encouraged me to “Subvert the Dominant Paradigm” (our favorite bumper sticker!), which I’ve been working at ever since.

In those formative years, my mom not only influenced me, but showed many of my friends that there are different ways of thinking and different ways of doing things.

She was often described as a fairy, floating through our house in flowy skirts, the smell of incense in the air, Loreena McKennitt coming through the stereo. Our house was peaceful and kind of magical, actually. A safe place to grow and reflect for me – and many others.

View More: http://stockinphotographic.pass.us/event/JhTrZ124921

At my wedding, mom and dad (who’s a great guy as well!) dancing with me.

Thanks to her lessons and her example, I’m happy with who I am. Thanks to her, I don’t think I’m messed up or inadequate because I’m different.

Actually, I know I’m awesome because I’m different.


Thanks to her, I’m still chasing my dreams. When I’m a mom, all I can hope is that my child will say the same of me.




Photo credit: wedding photos by Steve Stockin



Check-out our other Mother’s Day posts:

My Young Mother’s Secret Miracle (Me!)

The Foot-in-Your-Mouth Approach to Adoption

How to be a Loving Daughter to Hard to Love People

Stop Corrupting Mother’s Day


About Dessa

Originally a Southerner, Dessa loves the charm and hospitality of Detroit. Dessa is a proud Little Person, using her disability to challenge, endear, and cut lines at amusement parks. Training community organizers by day and earning her Masters of Social Justice after hours, Dessa loves shifting paradigms, breaking glass ceilings, and honoring the Feminine Divine. Click here to read more about Dessa


3 Responses to A Tailor-Made Mother for a Child with a Disability