The Sisterhood

Jodi Shenal by Jodi Shenal Additional Needs

Jodi Shenal

Jodi Shenal

I'm a stay-at-home mom with two amazing children. My son is on the Autism spectrum and my daughter has a rare genetic disorder and multiple disabil...

Within five minutes of our excursion, I had become agitated.

The cord holding the seat upright on the already broken wheelchair snapped as we entered the store.

After sweating and cursing under my breath for what seemed like an eternity, it was fixed, and the seat was holding my daughter upright again.

Shortly thereafter, my son was pushing her round and round, to her sheer delight.

The store was busy and my blood pressure was slowly rising.

It wasn’t long before I was wondering, “For Pete’s sake, why did I try this today?!!”

My twelve year old is kind-hearted and witty, and he is also on the Autism Spectrum.

He is in a few words, full of energy.

My daughter is five years old, full of love and giggles, and has multiple disabilities.

On this day, the three of us continued on our trek and made our way to the baking aisle.

I stood waiting on my son to meticulously pick out a packet of sugar cookie dough.

At last, he chose the same cookie dough that he always chooses.

During this time, a lady tried to pass by us, as we were blocking the entire aisle.

I gently nudged my son, and using very nice manners, he quickly moved to the side and said, “Excuse us, ma’am.”

She smiled and continued on her way.

When I felt like I couldn’t take another second in the crowded store, the lady turned around and approached us.

She gave me a warm smile and said to me, “Honey, I’m a mom just like you.”

I must have looked puzzled because she smiled and told me that seeing my daughter in her wheelchair reminded her of her own son.

She told me that my son’s hurried actions to move his sister out of the way, clearing the aisle was unnecessary.

She said that she understands exactly how it is.

She asked me if I’d like to see a picture of her son.

She proudly pulled out her phone and showed me several photos of a handsome young man in a wheelchair.

She shared that he was twenty years old, and that he had special needs too.

We stood there like old friends, instead of strangers, complimenting each other on how beautiful our children were.

For a moment in time, the world stopped moving, and I found myself in an unexpected, magical moment.

There was a bond taking place that most people could not comprehend.

Our encounter was brief, and as she started to walk away she said something to me that I will NEVER forget.

She said, “You are my sister and I love you.”

I choked back the lump in my throat and told her the same.

It dawned on me that while I was focusing on surviving a complicated shopping trip, I wasn’t alone.

I was part of a sisterhood that is bigger than me.

While I was worrying about our inconveniencing other shoppers, it escaped me how wonderful my son was for watching over his sister.

He was entertaining her; playing with her in a way that he knew she loved.

I felt extremely proud of him and I then regretted all of the stressing I had done during our trip.

I received a great blessing that day, from a sister in my shoes.


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