Most women become mothers by accident, some by choice, a few by social pressures and a couple by habit.

This year, nearly 100,000 women will become mothers of children with disabilities. Did you ever wonder how these mothers are chosen?

Somehow I visualize God hovering over Earth, selecting his instruments for propagation with great care and deliberation. As he observes, he tells his angels to make notes in a giant ledger.

"Armstrong, Beth; son; patron saint, Matthew. Forrest, Marjorie; daughter; patron saint, Cecelia."

Finally, he passes a name to an angel and smiles, saying, "Give her a disabled child."

The angel is curious: "Why this one, God? She so happy."

"Exactly," says God, smiling. "Could I give a disabled child a mother who does not know laughter? That would be cruel."

"But has she patience?"

"I don't want her to have too much patience, or she will drown in self-pity and despair. After the shock and resentment wear off, she'll handle it."

"I watched her today. She has that feeling of self and independence that is so rare and so necessary in a mother. The child I'm going to give her has his own world. She has to make him live in her world and that's not going to be easy."

"But, Lord, I don't think she even believes in you."

"No matter. I can fix that. This is perfect. She has just enough selfishness."

"Selfishness? Is that a virtue?"

"If she can't separate herself from the child occasionally," God says, "she'll never survive. Yes, there is a woman whom I will bless with a child who is less than perfect. She doesn't realize it yet, but she is to be envied. She will never take for granted a 'spoken word.' She will never consider a 'step' ordinary. When her child says 'Mama'  for the first time, she will know it's a miracle. When she describes s sunset to her blind child, she will see it as few people see my creations.

"I will permit her to see clearly the things I see --ignorance, cruelty, prejudice -- and allow her to rise above them. She will never be alone. I will be at her side every minute of every day of her life because she is doing my work."

"And what about her patron saint?" asks the angel, his pen poised in midair.

" A mirror will suffice."   


By Erma Bombeck
Universal Press Syndicate 1980