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100 Days of Memoirs to Nourish the Soul for Social Distancing Memoir Bookclub

Social Distancing Memoir Bookclub During Coronavirus Times

100 Days of Memoirs to Nourish the Soul

DAY 19: April 9, 2020

On the Whole:

A Story of Mothering and Disability

by Ona Gritz

Ona Gritz has had cerebral palsy all her life, but until she gave birth to her son, she didn’t really understand what it meant to be disabled. Her cerebral palsy affects her coordination and balance but not enough to have ever truly hindered her. “For the most part, I considered my disability a cosmetic issue,” she tells us in On the Whole. “Just how obvious is it? Do people see me as pretty despite the limp?” But now she’s got a new baby to care for, and no one has warned her what a physical job she has taken on. She can’t bathe her son by herself or carry him up or down a flight of stairs. Nor can she feed herself or even open a refrigerator with a baby in her arms. And her baby will settle for nothing less than being in her arms. With lyricism and candor, poet Ona Gritz shares her son’s first years with us, a time when she wanted nothing more than what all of us want—to be the perfect mother, only her imperfections kept getting in the way.

Yearning for Magic