I Am a Mother, a Mother Leader, a God Mother, and Best Friend to My Daughter
By Rebecca Trujillo sndden - Directora
The relationship of mom and daughter can become one of the most important relationships you can develop. In Magical Shoes affirmation groups, that is the goal. Young girls and adolescents who have different disabilities have to rely on their mothers more than anyone else. The mothers need to receive support to develop this relationship, which has many twists and turns. The connections can be based on complete overprotection or on working for her daughter to find more independence and strength herself. Zenada is the mother of Martita, a young woman who has a severe mental disability and cannot talk, developing other ways to communicate with her mom.
One afternoon Zenada came to talk to me, saying she needed advice. Zenada is now a mother leader and has listened to mothers talk about overprotection. Finally, she said, “Sister, I need a job. I need some space away from my daughter, or I will drive her and myself crazy. “She started working in the evenings from 6 pm to 9 pm in our cafeteria. Later she changed to a part-time day job, sewing.
She is a great seamstress. The job gave her space and time to develop her skills. She became a Madrina or Godmother to other young people with a handicap, teaching them to sew and, in general, just looking out for them in the work environment. Zenada continues with the part-time work and has become an active member of Magical Shoes affirmation groups. For Zenada, it has expanded her influence and awareness of learning the stories of the other mothers in the group. It has also helped her in relating more to other young people with a disability. Each time when things get stressful, she tells me she has found strength in these relationships. “I was losing it by staying at home worrying about Marta’s future; now I can enjoy her for who she is, a beautiful young woman. The daughters of the mothers in Magical Shoes have different disabilities, but the one thing in common is that their mothers are vital in their lives. The idea of Magical Shoes is to walk in each other’s shoes, not just the mother-daughter but also in those other mothers’ shoes or those other daughters’ shoes or that other disability or situation. The mothers experienced tremendous growth by applying their newfound relationship skills and have grown in their self-awareness. It takes a lot of courage to recognize their own daughters’ handicaps and their need to overprotect them. The mothers in Magical Shoes shared that they did not realize that there were alternatives to overprotection; until they had the opportunities to listen to how other mothers accept their daughters’ disability. Zenada says she is now seeing her relationship with her daughter as best friends. It all has to do with receiving community support and the openness to listen to their daughters and one another.
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