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How does one raise children to be the best they can be, instead of the best of who you want them to be? Former San Francisco Chronicle sports columnist Ryan (Little Girls in Pretty Boxes) wrestled with this question for most of her adopted son Ryan's life, never quite feeling as if her mothering instincts fit the boy she loved. His early childhood diagnosis with sensory integration dysfunction gave her analytical side a roadmap of therapies and teaching tools, but the heartbreak of watching him struggle endlessly in school and at home left her emotionally exhausted and unsure of herself. Then their lives changed: after falling from his skateboard just blocks from their home at age TK, her son suffered a traumatic brain injury that left him unable to walk or talk, requiring multiple complex surgeries and months of rehabilitation. Her story of supporting him through this experience, with expert medical teams and tremendous aid from family and friends, is a testament both to her stamina and to his strength. Given the perspective that sometimes only a crisis can bring, Ryan learns to forgive herself for the smaller struggles of her son's earlier years, to take each day's challenges as they come and to trust herself to be the only mother that he needs. (Sept.)
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"We have to admire Ryan for tackling these topics. It is one thing to
live through the experiences as they occur; it is quite another to
re-create them honestly and effectively. And though the story Ryan
tells is unique...the themes of love, grace and redemption that run
through her discussion are ideas with which we can all relate."
--Christina Eng, The San Francisco Chronicle
"Given the perspective that sometimes only a crisis can bring, Ryan learns to forgive herself for the smaller struggles of her son's earlier years, to take each day's challenges as they come and to trust herself to be the only mother that he needs."
--Publishers WeeklySee all Editorial Reviews
I really enjoyed this book about a mother learning to appreciate and enjoy her "difficult" child for who he is. Read morePublished on December 27, 2010 by CLHMomma
This book is an excellent story of a family's personal struggle through the dark valleys of mental illness as well as a brain trauma accident that could have killed their only son. Read morePublished on October 13, 2010 by Cindy Collins
As a mother I found this book to be inspiring, and gut wrenching. I thought it was an honest and candid look at this mom's experience with her son. Read morePublished on July 24, 2010 by Joanne Harris
Joan Ryan wrote a masterful work in "The Water Giver." It is a touching, yet never maudlin, description of her relationship with her adopted, disabled son both before and after a... Read morePublished on February 1, 2010 by chris
This memoir taught me so much about never giving up. The author's unending optimism and deep understanding of what it takes to get through a crisis taught me how to be a better... Read morePublished on January 9, 2010 by Jan McAdoo
Ms. Ryan's story of finding her ability to mother her son Ryan after a head trauma is nothing short of brilliant. Read morePublished on November 12, 2009 by Angela King
As an ER Physician, I found Joan Ryan's account of her son's traumatic brain injury and hospitalization the most authentic description of a prolonged medical crisis I have ever... Read morePublished on October 25, 2009 by JBrokaw
Excellent book for parents, family and friends of children with ADHD and any special needs. The message to celebrate and love the child you have instead of trying to "fix" him or... Read morePublished on October 24, 2009 by Joan