Have you ever had to stand by your child’s side as he or she recovered from a devastating accident or illness? The closest I’ve come is holding my normally active toddler boy who is rendered still by a high fever, or comforting my healthy tween daughter as she is wracked by a violent stomach bug.
This is nothing compared to what parents of special needs children, children with chronic illness, or those involved in serious accidents are dealing with in hospitals in every city every day.
In The Water Giver, Joan Ryan shares her experience of nursing her teenage son back to health after he suffers a traumatic brain injury. It’s something that no parent wants to face, and about which many parents choose to remain blissfully ignorant instead of facing their worst fears.
However, I find that reading stories such as The Water Giver remind me to be grateful for the health and safety of my children and to enjoy each moment in the face of the reminder that life is quite fragile. They also help me to be more sympathetic and compassionate towards those who may be facing similar struggles.
This lesson of learning to love and appreciate our children for who they are is exactly what Joan Ryan experienced. The subtitle refers to a mother, a son, and their second chance. You see, when Ryan adopted her son Ryan (who was given his mother’s last name as his first name), she never quite felt as if she was connecting with him. With some behavior problems and severe ADHD, he did not live up to the image of the child she imagined raising.
It wasn’t until he was in almost-fatal accident when he was sixteen years old that Joan finally felt that she was born as a mother. She finally loved her son unconditionally and felt that tenderness that women expect to come naturally as soon as our baby is placed in our arms.
If you are interested in medical treatment, you will find the information about how Ryan’s traumatic brain injury was treated and his months-long recovery fascinating. If you’re a mom who has ever struggled with not feeling like a “real mom” should, you will relate to Ryan’s story.
The Water Giver is a well-written memoir — full of heartfelt details, yet not saccharine sweet.
We have a copy of The Water Giver to give to one of you. Just leave a comment, and we’ll announce the winner in next week’s giveaway column.
**THIS GIVEAWAY IS CLOSED***
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The winner of the Chicken Soup for the Soul books and game from last week is #10 Linda Kash. Congrats!
Jennifer Donovan is not always the mom she wants to be. She dissects her life and work at her blog Snapshot.
I’d love to win!
Anita Yancey says
Sounds very moving. I’d love to read it. Please enter me. Thanks!
Wow. This sounds like a tear jerker. I THINK I’d like to read it.
Lori Taube says
I’d love to add this to my collection! Thanks for the chance!
Just Mom says
I love memoirs – please enter me, and thanks for hosting!
I’m intersted in reading more memoirs. This sounds like one that would make for an interesting read. As a mom, I can imagine the emotions that this mother went through.
THANKFULLY I can’t relate to this, but I’d still like to read it.
I have had a critically ill child, so I am very interested in reading this! Sounds like a good memoir.
Melissa Burmester says
It looks like a wonderful story.
Please enter me.
I would love to read this. It helps me learn how to minister to people in need. It sounds like a very heart-warming story, though filled with difficulties and expectations we all have as parents.
Beth Fant says
This book sounds awesome.
Linda Kish says
I would like to read this book. I do appreciate how lucky I am my son never had any serious injuries although he did have other problems.
lkish77123 at gmail dot com
I know a family who has suffered a similar incident. I would like to read a book to help me gain better understanding for what they’re going through.
I would love to learn from this true story of faith and love through great trials, and then pass it on.
I’d love to read this. I work with kids who have special needs so any book related to that topic interests me.
I subscribe via google reader
This looks interesting and heartbreaking. Thanks for the giveaway.
My niece’s husband is in rehab for a TBI suffered as a police officer. It is up and down, but he has come so far.
They usually always make me cry but I love to read memoirs like this, it always makes me feel blessed for what I have and not to regret all the special little moments
Marj M. says
This sounds like a fantastic tribute to our Heavenly Father, who changed a woman’s heart. You betcha I’d love to read it.
Some Lucky Dog says
As a mother, this sounds like a great read!
Wendy M says
This sounds like a wonderful book.
Benita G. says
This book sounds great. Thanks for the giveaway.
Debbie Jackson says
[email protected] looks interesting and something meaningful for life..I’d love to win it.
“If you’re a mom who has ever struggled with not feeling like a “real mom” should, you will relate to Ryan’s story.” Jennifer, This line, copied from your synopsis, moved me to tears. Why? Because I can relate. I am the adoptive mother of a son, natural borne of my mentally ill sister-in-law, and therefore much loved by her brother, my husband, his uncle by blood, and adoptive father in the eyes of the law. And my adoptive son. Struggle I did, no, not while he was a cute little baby, who could?, but later…when the problems began ( ADD, Depression, Bi-Polar disorder, and Suicide attempts)…you get the picture…the bottom line is that I persevered though all of this…I loved him, and I did whatever a mother could for him, and cried, many times for him, …but…and…I feel so utterly wretched for saying this…felt so “not really his mother” much the time, and guilty for this feeling…all of the time. However, dear reader, there is a happy ending….My boy now truly is my boy, adult that he is, parent of his own boy that he is, we now have a really good relationship, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. It only took 21 years…so don’t give up:)
This book looks very interesting…thanks.
Beth C says
I would really like to read this.