A Special Mother’s Day Message

Image of Joe Hornbecker outside wearing an orange tshirt with short sleeves pointing to himself and smiling

By Pat Hornbecker, Board President, The Arc of California

Through the eyes of many generations, I see motherhood grow and change. I was fortunate enough to have my grandmothers in my life into my 30’s and my mother into my 60’s. And so, my three daughters and son Joseph were able to witness these all important and influential relationships. And the mother’s before me were also able to watch me move into motherhood with the exceptional experience of parenting a child with severe disabilities. He taught us all well! Now my daughters have kids of their own. I sit in the middle of this generational swing, observing the differences and similarities but most of all seeing the love that remains constant for all generations.

The expectations of mothers are different. We now can choose to become mothers, unless that right is taken away. We can expect acceptance for our choices without reprisal or shame. We can expect to have a career and motherhood run simultaneously with success. We can also choose to stay home to raise our children and expect respect. My grandmothers knew none of these choices and my mother only dreamed of the career she sacrificed as I came into her life as her firstborn child.

I see the mothers around me who have children like my Joseph, with great needs and gifts, and know that this experience binds us together. We support one another better now than ever before. We are building the infrastructure necessary to support our children and their siblings and communities. We have learned from our grandmothers and mothers that we are change-agents and the resource from which the future grows.

Mom, thanks for your strength and determination. Grandmas “Totsie” and “Nana” thanks for your lessons about family. Thank you to all the mothers who have taught me so much and given me strength every day.  Happy Mother’s Day 2023!

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