“I am an honest, beautiful, good enough woman, just the way I am.”
When I originally went to Pathways I did not realize how much I was using my son's disability as a crutch in my life, inhibiting me from progressing and allowing me to see him as someone unique as special. I couldn’t see that he is a blessing in my life, and that God blessed me with him for a purpose - to teach me unconditional love and that anything is possible if you BELIEVE.
My name is Mandy Martinez (Class 284), and I have been living every mother’s nightmare. Every mother’s greatest fear is that something bad will happen to her child; well I was living that fear and had been for years. My son was born with hypo-plastic left heart syndrome and has been in and out of the hospital for most of the 9 years of his life. He has had numerous heart and lung surgeries. Before coming into the training, I told myself that I was handling his condition very well, but in reality I wasn’t.
“The sun comes up, that’s me, Dawn!” My 17 year old daughter smiles as if she has just won the lottery because she knows what her name means and this is what she says when she is introduced to someone. Dawn Rae will be 17, chronologically, in August but developmentally she will only ever be eight. Her medical diagnosis is Moderately Mentally Retarded, but we don’t use this term because it congers up images that do not reflect the true nature of my bright and happy child. The more acceptable terms are Developmentally Delayed or Intellectually Challenged but never the “R” word. Dawn doesn’t know that she has “special needs”. She is Dawn, when the sun comes up, and she is my inner child’s best friend.