As I seriously hope many of you are aware by now, Mother’s Day will once again make a deserved appearance this weekend (Sunday 14th March 2010), and whether you adore your mother to pieces or sometimes enjoy the thought of not even having a mother, I strongly feel that we should recognise the importance of this momentous event and learn to appreciate our mothers and their guidance and support that they provide to us on a daily basis.
Now, I know, especially for us teenagers in particular, that shedding some light on the subject of Mother’s Day would seem a bit awkward. But, although our mothers can be embarrassing and annoying from time to time, it is vital that he realise who has raised us into this world (along with the help of our fathers obviously) and how many mothers have sacrificed many opportunities to give the best possible upbringing and wellbeing to us.
Personally, I can proudly and openly say that I am very happy to have a mother as amazing and dedicated as mine. Besides raising me, which I might add was apparently a challenging prospect (and still is now in all honesty) I know that her intentions have been to raise me to become a respectable and hard working person who will be both loved and nurtured by others. I have been courteous enough to recognise this fact and to be truthfully honest, I believe our mothers should have a bit of Mother’s Day everyday.
On the other hand, if you feel that your mother is like any other person in society then I would like you to consider the bravery and spirit of a particularly outstanding woman. Many words could be used to describe this person but when I heard about her recently I was both inspired and spellbound by the hard work and resilience she shows on a regular basis. Many would not even dare begin to consider contemplating with the struggles that Alex Bell encounters everyday, and it is not too difficult to see why.
As a devoted mother of eight adopted children, seven of which have Down’s Syndrome (a complex form of autism which affects understanding and growth), Alex was always ambitious about becoming a mother from a very early age. Her earliest influences were when she worked in an old people’s home, which specialised in subnormal conditions, with her mother. The conditions inside this home were absolutely appalling, with Alex quoting that many people were ‘chained to beds’ and forced to ‘wear straitjackets’.
Consequently, Alex fought a gruelling battle against her local officialdoms to become a single mother to autistic children, until she finally won her case amid a six year negotiation. Also, having been a special needs teacher for a short period of time, she was completely aware of the daunting challenge that she had inflicted upon herself.
Nonetheless, Alex has never admitted weakness or regret and has continuously expressed her joy of providing these children with a home and a person who will love and care for them. As well as this, her home (located in Clifton, Swinton, Greater Manchester) caters for these children with comfortable bedrooms, enjoyable play facilities and relaxing lounges. An obvious contrast to the care home that Alex experienced many years ago.
Although it is never easy for Alex. Many would judge Alex and say that she brought this burden out of her own choice. But when you consider the individual stories that her children carry, the least Alex deserves is some recognition for caring for each of these children, regardless of their conditions or problems.
Among the eight children we have Matthew (aged 26), adopted in 1984, he has Down’s Syndrome and the functions of a 12 year old. But he currently has a job as a tour guide at Old Trafford Stadium (the home of Manchester United Football Club). Other members of Alex’s vibrant family include Simon (aged 24), who has a serious heart condition and regularly uses a wheelchair, Adrian (aged 30) and Nathan (aged 19), both of which have Down’s Syndrome. Andrew (aged 18) is another addition to the family and is the most serious case, having Down’s Syndrome, cerebral palsy and blindness. Following Andrew’s adoption, Alex also adopted Chloe (aged 12) and Thomas (aged 25), both having Down’s Syndrome. The final member is Amy (aged 11), who, although not autistic, sadly has learning difficulties and a tumour which is embedded in her head and within her optic nerves, requiring tedious and immensely difficult chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Nonetheless, Alex still seems to cope with this unforgiving reality and remains both positive and energetic, demonstrating the true qualities of a mother.
But with great victory, there must also be great sacrifice. Unsurprisingly, Alex resigned from work and depends solely on income support and disability allowance. Moreover, it is important to consider that this provided allowance only stands as a mere fraction in comparison to the money it would have taken to keep these children in the care system. This money has also been put to good use by paying off the mortgage of the house, generating two mobility carriers and developing a trust fund, set up by Alex, for the children, should anything happen to Alex in the future.
Luckily, four of her eight adopted children still have strong connections with their birth parents, with Alex stating that she does not despise these people for giving up their children. This shows the kindness that Alex encompasses towards other people and, despite denying the opportunity to pursue a family of her own, she acknowledges that she has ‘never given birth to a disabled child’ and not experienced that kind of pressure, she then clearly states that she should not judge people who have been in this particular position.
Unsurprisingly, Alex has been deservedly commemorated for her terrific work as well as her enthusiastic, patient, witty and understanding nature with the prestigious Pride of Britain Awards, in the Carer of the Year Category for 2003.
In conclusion, I would like to ask you to consider how extremely lucky we are to be able to have mothers that are willing to commit their effort and time towards us. Many children would only dream of having a mother to cherish and look up to. Although our mothers will not be able to support us with everything in life, it is still essential that we show our mothers how much we love and care for them, as much as they would love and care for us. Alex Bell undoubtedly sets a glistening example for mothers and I know that, despite her children having Down’s Syndrome and other challenging conditions, all her eight children do appreciate Alex and admire her, even if they do not show this facially.
Also, if you would like to take a deeper insight into the life of Alex Bell then you can simply purchase her moving and emotional book, demonstrating the courage and resilience of one special woman. ‘A Mother Like Alex’ certainly provides a heart-warming account into the life of Alex Bell and shows how one person’s selfless actions can capture the hearts of a nation.
So just remember, when you are pursuing an ambition and flying solely for your lifelong dreams, just take some time out of your day to consider your mother and the commitments she has made on your behalf. It may not seem like it, but every mother has a dominant influence on the development of a child and will be responsible for the future citizens of our local and wider community. This burden may seem challenging but with our encouragement and recognition we can show our mothers that their hard work really has been all worthwhile.
by Alexander Tyldesley