I always wonder at the strength of some people.. When I feel empty they fill me up with their energy and unconditional love, today’s such ability achiever is Mrs. Ruth Sirisha James.
I would have hardly known Ruth if not for Bryn, in fact many wouldn’t have known her if NOT Bryn,
Bryn is Ruth’s first and special child, diagnosed with cerebral palsy and in spectrum of autism in understanding, Bryn’s development was the most tough yet sweet and purposeful part in Ruth’s entire life.
Now, today Bryn is 21 year old, on the eve of it and to celebrate Ruth, when I talked to her, it’s a wonderment from a women who did nothing but growing every moment with a special child and today made him special individual. I , rarely see Bryn today as a child and I don’t like the child tag for him anymore.. But what’s Bryn and how he has become from special, incapacitated and handicapped to special solely rests on Ruth and her husband’s shoulders.
Its easy to praise people who has done great things like Ruth .. but its so difficult to live their even for moment.
To be able to live and love the life that’s always at the loggerheads with meeting special needs of a person and normal needs of a teenage daughter ( Bryn has a sister Serena) and extra-ordinary needs of a touring husband ( however understanding he may be life James ) needs a super women energy, normal women empathy and god like patience.
RUTH IS ENDOEWED BY HER CHRIST WITH ALL THOSE THINGS.. WHICH ARE AS IMPORTANT IN BRYN’S DEVELOPME TOWARDS BEING A COMPASSIONATE INDIVDUAL AS IT CAN BE..!
Without wasting time.. lets see what Ruth says about her life and HER BRYN AND HER NEST WITH SERENA AND JAMES SIR
1. What’s important to Bryan and YOU as a Team?
To me and the family it is of primary importance that he is treated with respect and love. At no stage should his mental well being be compromised.
2. When you first heard that Bryan is special, what was your reaction and how much time did it take for you to accept?
I first got to know that Bryan was special when he was 9 months old. By then I had a vague idea that something was grossly wrong. So when I was told I did not react much. I took it in my stride and continued taking care of him. However I think it really took me more than 6-7 years to actually truly accept the situation.
3. As a family, what does Bryan like to do most? What all the things he might wish to do as per you?
Bryan has always been very fond of music. He loves water so going down to a river or beach also is a fun activity for him. Travelling is another thing that he loves. But I’m sure if he is given an option he would love to do all three things together!
4. Having a special child at home is pretty unique and bizarrely special to anyone. How you deal with society on a daily basis?
Well I have always believed that we should be a model family to people looking at us. Taking care of a normal child in itself is a herculean task, but in comparison taking care of a special child is far easier in many ways. In Bryan’s case all he needs is loads and loads of love, and food to fill his tummy. Beyond that his demands are nil. I have always tried to make society aware of the fact that we can still be happy and loving inspite of everything. And yes, if anyone does ask me stupid questions like, “why did u not get an abortion done, or why don’t you put him in a home. Or, is he mental? I have an answer for them. Abortion? Are you asking me why I did not kill my child? A home? The least I can give Bryan is a loving home and the warmth of a family. And mental? He’s not any more mental than you are to ask me that question. Society can go take a hike frankly. I love my son and don’t care what others think!
5. Having a male child with cerebral palsy, in itself puts a lot of pressures on women as ours is patriarchal society. Did you face any such problems?
Yes, for a while. My in-laws wanted us to have a third child so that their family line would continue. I only had one answer for them. He is God’s chosen child for us we need not have another to continue the lineage. After that I have not face any trouble on this issue.
6. Given the chance, what are the things you wish to do with Bryan and kids like Bryan?
With Bryan, all I want to do is hug him close and never let him go. I want him to know that he is loved and wanted in the family. I wish I could do and say the same to all special kids. Hug them and tell them that they are God’s special envoys, sent to fill lives with happiness and not sorrow.
7. Describe Bryan in few sentences!( if possible ..LOL)
Bryan is a happy, naughty, mischievous, full of love child. I once said, “if Gods love is as tender as Bryan’s touch, as gentle as his kiss, has firm as his hug, then I have truly experienced Gods love in its fullest measure”. I don’t think anything else can describe Bryan more completely.
8. People associate lot of negativity when one child is diagnosed with disability and mental vulnerabilities… did you face any such wrath of negativity?
As always, people will be rude, harsh and insensitive towards parents with a special child. They don’t realize that more than the child it’s the parents who are severely challenged, trying to cope with the child and society. But in the end the patents positive attitude wins over all the negativity.
9. What’s the constant support to you in raising Bryan?
My immense faith in God, that HIS ways are perfect and so is Bryan. Physically at home, my husband and daughter are more than mother, father to him. Their love and understanding gives me strength to go on in life inspite of all the struggles that I face.
10. What do you expect or foresee as desirable future for Bryan?
AAhhh! I am a one day at a time person, so I have never really given his future a thought. To me if he is given love, and his needs are taken care of, then I don’t think I need more than that in life for him.
11. How does he respond to all kinds of people and emotions? Can you narrate any instances?
Bryan is my barometer with people. He is very sensitive to people who have genuine love and those who are just mingling with him for show sake. He loves to hug people and will on his own give a kiss once a while. He knows when someone is sad and also when they are happy. There was this phase when he was very hyper and he knew that I was troubled and perturbed about it. And so in all that hyper activity one day he just hugged me tight and kissed me. Probably his way of saying I’m sorry mom, but I really don’t know why I’m like this. Gut wrenching emotions!
12. What is it that you don’t like among people regarding the way they treat disability?
I hate the way people look and treat special kids as if they are abnormal aliens from outer space. The way they talk also reflects their negative attitude and also sometimes I feel they take it as a bad omen to have a special child and avoid all contact in every way possible.
13. How did you learn what you learn from Bryan? To put it differently what did you learn from Bryan?
I learned to love unconditionally. I learned not to judge. I learned to be patient and quiet. To not complain. To accept situations just the way they are. To reach out to people. To just get people to talk so that I cud know what is in their mind. I basically learned how to lead a complete life full of richness in experiences.
14. Raising a special child is huge task physically and emotionally too..! How do you handle fatigue and other stress associated with it.
I have learnt to ignore every physical, mental and emotional stress. No point giving importance to them coz life still has to go on!
15. What are the things you did to improve the learning curve of Bryan… can you narrate one or two instances?
With Bryan whatever we spoke or did was like a parrot repetition. Frankly there is not much that he can do, but yes the little that he does is appreciated and applauded and that has helped in his learning. We have learned to eliminate the word “no” from our vocabulary as we do not want negative emotions or words to affect his learning curve.
16. Parents of special children worry about what will happen to their child after them? Did it ever occur to you? Or what’s your answer to such insecurity?
I love this question. No I don’t worry. Like I said, I fully believe in a God who is in control of our lives. It’s this very same God who took care of him till now who will take care of him after me. I absolutely trust in HIM! Besides, does God not know what he was doing when He brought Bryan into this world? So, what do I achieve by worrying? Nothing!
17. Did you have any issues either positive or negative for the organizations or special schools that are run for these kids? What’s a mom’s point of view.
To be very very truthful, I am not appreciative of the schools that are being run here in Vizag. There needs to be a drastic change in the outlook of people, and also intensive training given to teachers working with special kids. Till such a time, I feel, schools are only generating more negativity in the family instead of being a support system to the family.
18. Do you wish to say any systemic changes regarding how this special kids to be rehabilitated
Yes! I would love to have a respite centre for special kids where families could leave their kids for a while and go enjoy themselves. I would also like to see good loving homes being developed that would ensure not only love and care but also genuine rehabilitation work being done in special children.
19. Tell me the role of your husband and daughter
My husband is a better mother and an extremely loving father to Bryan. Even though he is posted in a different place, every time he comes home, he takes on the complete responsibility of taking care of Bryan. The way they both play and cuddle up to each other is a sight to see.
My daughter has been my greatest blessing. She is second mom to Bryan and is constantly babysitting him. She feeds him, disciplines him (surprisingly he responds to her disciplining) and loves him a lot. She is happy to have him just the way he is and has never expressed the need to have a normal sibling.
20. Building up a network for special kids- how far you have come and what’s your vision?
Unfortunately I have not been able to network and meet with other parents who have special kids. I’m too much of an introvert to actually go out and meet with people and network with them. But yes, someday I hope that my life and my way of dealing with Bryan would be an inspiration and a source of strength to them. As for vision? I never really gave it a thought. But yes I believe that when all parents with special kids gather under one roof they can work wonders. Someday I hope we would be able to bring them under one roof and then take on from there!
Dearest Ruth… I remember you when I am down and depressed that I am unable to take bath or feeling week etc..
Life’s indeed fantabulous
Wiping out wet cheeks smoldered with child’s love,
Being with a naked love and affection
Wrapped so lovely just for you,
Making you mummy for the first time
You think you have given birth to bryn
In fact… he has given birth to
Your love, patience
Endless nights and relentless vigils
Never ending story of everyday
“ I love YOU’s “
In fact .. he has raised you
To a next level of humanity
With his sheer innocence
A sweaty handshake and
Salivated lovely kiss
He accepted your family’s love
Your god has chosen a secure home
With love nest and graceful acceptance
Happy birthday Bryn.. be happy at always ..
Teach us living in NOW as always ..
We Love you.. We Love You
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