Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Beyond FINESSE: Vicki Forman

Vicki Forman amazes me. She’s a creative writing instructor at the University of Southern California; a Pushcart-nominated contributor to print and on-line publications; an essayist published in anthologies such as Love You to Pieces: Creative Writers on Raising a Child with Special Needs; a mom of two kiddos, one of which (sweet Evan pictured above with his mom) has multiple special needs; and a terrific, prolific blogger. Impressive, huh? But wait, there’s even more….

Vicki generously offers her insightful take on things others might not even notice through her writings (consider her current Speak Softly post regarding the recent BlogHer conference and the concept of integral thinking she’s applied to it), but her current Special Needs Mama column on the stellar Literary Mama site pretty much knocked me over with its powerful message. In “Mothers Like Us: Contemplating My Tribe,” Vicki explores how her “motherhood demographic” altered as Evan, her second child, grew and his unique arsenal of required accessories (such as oxygen and medications on the go) became part of his mom’s arsenal, too:

“At another party, I remember removing a one-gallon ziplock from my diaper bag, one that contained half a dozen medications for Evan’s various ailments (the pink syrupy one for his lungs, the clear liquid for his heart, the white tablets I ground up for his brain) and noticing as I drew up the drug and plunged it into his G-tube that the other mothers had somehow…pulled their lawns chairs back a bit, into a new circle somewhat further removed.”

But Vicki doesn’t dwell on the negatives, which is why her writing remains so welcoming and accessible, I think, even when she’s tackling such heart-wrenching issues. Instead, she discusses her eventual acceptance of the fact she no longer belongs in her old tribe, and her realization she’s begun to develop the new tribe she needs. “Together, we drew our chairs up to one another in a new circle and asked about therapies, treatments, drugs and doctors. We called each other to tell stories the depths of which most others couldn’t comprehend….” And she ends her piece acknowledging the fact that all mothers need support of some kind, and that while some may not know how to respond when she pulls out her son’s big bag of meds, all moms—most women, I believe—belong to a tribe that instinctively acknowledges the demands of a life with extra heavy-duty responsibilities and wishes moms of children with special needs an extra blessing of good will, even when we fail to show it.


Blogger Niksmom said...

What a lovely post! I agree; I think Vicki has such a beautiful way with words, too!

11:05 AM  
Blogger Lisa said...

I have been watching and admiring Vicki Forman from afar (and from Kristin Spina's blog) for a long time. She is an amazing woman.

11:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Vicki is a real gem, thanks for a great post, Karen.

3:29 PM  
Blogger Sustenance Scout said...

Thank you, ladies! I told Vicki I couldn't sit still and NOT blog about her amazing column. K.

9:32 PM  
Blogger debra said...

What a gently powerful post---that of a warrior. Thanks so much for the link.

7:14 AM  
Blogger Sustenance Scout said...

You're very welcome, Debra. K.

7:34 AM  

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