A Special Mother’s Day Message

An image of Pat Hornbecker and her son

By Pat Hornbecker, President, The Arc of California Board of Directors,

I am a proud and devoted mother of an adult son with developmental disabilities. I want to wish all
of my fellow moms with special children a very Happy Mother’s Day. We are changed in a way many other moms do not understand. Our lives as “mothers” were described to us as something other than what we have experienced.

I, personally, am so grateful for the experience of having a child with significant and complex needs as my first child, because I was then blessed with the naivety to think that all children needed the same supports. I also assumed that the other moms at the playground understood my journey. They did not. Ultimately, that did not matter because I fought to find a normalcy of my own, a direction to achieve, a way to learn and teach my son to belong.

As my daughters arrived, they probably did not appreciate my hovering, but learned the value of ‘significant guidance’ to achieve their own independence and that of their brother’s. Siblings are a special breed within our families that we moms cultivate without even knowing. I am grateful for my daughters and the lessons I see they have learned at their brother’s side.

On this Mother’s Day, I am grateful to all of The Arc moms, who started, and continue to further a movement of respect, dignity and worth. Thank you for all you have done, and continue to do, to create a system of services and supports that allow our children an equitable, fair, substantial and meaningful life ~ one we would dream for ourselves.

Thank you for allowing me to share this journey with you as we strive to continue to improve the lives of our children and families in a world that does not often get it. I honor you today and every day. You are my inspiration.


Pat Hornbecker

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