American writer Washington Irving said, “A mother is the truest friend we have, when trials heavy and sudden fall upon us; when adversity takes the place of prosperity; when friends desert us; when trouble thickens around us, still will she cling to us, and endeavor by her kind precepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness, and cause peace to return to our hearts.” In celebration of mothers, the North Gwinnett Voice has asked several local mothers to reflect on motherhood, including both the joys and the challenges of such an important and influential role in the lives of children as they grow and develop.

North Gwinnett Voice: When did you become a mother?

Crystal Skanes: I had my son Jeremiah when I was 19. 

NGV: Tell us about your family.

CS: My husband, Jeremiah, and I live in Lawrenceville and spend a lot of time in the community. We go ride our bikes, go skating, bowling, fishing, almost anything and everything! We attend a lot of community events and Autism related functions. We stay very busy and we try our best to make sure Jeremiah is living a happy and fulfilling life. 

NGV: What have been some of the joys you’ve experienced through motherhood?

CS: My biggest joy is watching my son grow and strengthen his skills. He’s come such a long way. Jeremiah started talking when he was about 2 and then he stopped. Now he talks all the time! He is still working on how to carry on a full conversion but he can answer and ask questions that he wasn’t able to just a couple of years ago.

NGV: What about the challenges of being a mother?

CS: There are so many challenges being a mother and to be a mother of a child with a disability is immeasurable. The biggest challenge we face right now is consistency. With so many turnovers, people are constantly shuffled in and out of his routine, which is heartbreaking for me because he gets attached and then they just disappear. It’s hard to explain why someone who has made an impression or impact in his life is just no longer there. 

NGV: What does motherhood mean to you? 

CS: My son is my pride and joy and it is my honor and privilege to be his mother and to always advocate for him. 

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Deanna Allen has served as editor of the North Gwinnett Voice since June 2021. Effective communication and creative design are her passions.

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