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Learning to Let Go as the Mama Bear of a Grown Son With a Disability

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February 2022 “OK, Mom, here is the surprise, but close your eyes first.” “OK.” “Open them,” he said. I did and what I saw made me cry.

My 19-year-old son, just back from Germany, got himself a tattoo of a Mama Bear carrying her prosthetic-wearing Baby Bear. It’s been a tough year for both of us with respect to our mother-son relationship but rarely, in my nearly quarter of a century of parenting, did I feel such emotion as in that moment. September 2021 “I’m not going back to college,” he said.

My throat tightened, my eyes involuntarily filled with tears, and I was overwhelmed by a deep sense of sadness that simultaneously controlled and embarrassed me.

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