2011 Best Mom on Wheels Winner Dianne Howard
By: Janelle LoBello
Dianne Howard, 55, always said she wanted four kids. But after her first one, Dianne and her husband, Brian, whom she married at 27, said, "Okay maybe two will be enough! But God had other plans." Just four years after the birth of her son, Kevin, now age 25, Dianne had triplets!
Kevin, and the triplets, Travis, Danielle, and Dominique, age 21, don't have to call Dianne just "mom" anymore, because she is the 2011 Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation’s Best Mom on Wheels!
This is the first year the Reeve Foundation has held the Best Mom on Wheels Contest. Community members nominated their best mom with Reeve Foundation staff choosing the top 10 to be voted on by the online community in which over 2,000 votes were cast.
Living with paralysis from a diving accident in a physical education class at fourteen-years-old, Dianne says that the hardest time was tending the triplets all at once.
Learn a little, learn a lot
Dianne's wheels didn't stop her from continuing to live her life. "That's how I learned to do things," says Dianne, now Director of Risk Management and Benefits for Palm Beach County Schools. "I can always do things. I can always make something happen. Maybe just less traditionally."
Dianne says the experience of being nominated has been "heartening" seeing all the people who have supported her. "Through Facebook, forwarding emails, hearing from people I hadn’t heard from in a long time, it's been a great experience," says Dianne who admitted to having a crush on Christopher Reeve in college! "I saw people on Facebook saying, 'Vote for my friend.' I wish everyone could go through stuff like this and be nominated. It's so cool!"
Through all her humbleness, Dianne simply says, "Really, my life is blessed."
Read the entry from her daughter
If that math doesn't seem right, it's because her second child was actually three. She had triplets! Not only did she have triplets - her husband and one of her daughters has cerebral palsy and bilateral nerve palsy, respectively.
For a family of six, three were considered disabled all the while both parents were working full time to make a living for their children. My mom was hard on us; we probably had to do a lot more chores in our childhood and barely received an allowance because my mom always made every penny count.
We may have complained then, but with the oldest son an officer in the U.S. Navy, one triplet son on his way to becoming a doctor, one daughter in training to become a pilot, and the other daughter working towards her MBA, I think we all turned out great thanks to our Mom!