Westchester resident Leah Witman Moore faced the unexpected when her daughter Jordan was born with a rare disability that could leave her unable to walk or talk. After 10 years of raising Jordan—along with two twin boys—Moore put her parenting and family experiences into her new book, Loving You Big: One Family Embracing the Unexpected.
Loving You Big is Moore's story. In the book, she recounts how her life changed in the blink of an eye. She went from going to work as a high-school English and theater teacher in Harrison and enjoying life with her husband Zachary, to being told her first child was born with a rare chromosomal disorder called cri du chat. Cri du chat is a genetic condition that can result in serious developmental and physical disabilities, especially when it comes to language and mobility.
As any parent would, Moore and her husband researched experts and looked for many ways to help Jordan grow and find her way in the world. But no matter what tremendously helpful resources she sought—including occupational, physical, and speech therapies—her daughter would always find her own unique way of communicating with others and showing love for her family and friends, Moore explains.
“With the introduction of sign language, countless laps around the living room in a walker, and daily wig-clad dance parties, I learned there was nothing about Jordan that needed to be fixed,” Moore says. “It was the world around her that needed to change.”
Why Leah Witman Moore Wrote Loving You Big
After many years of blogging about parenting and being the mother of a child with a disability, Leah knew she wanted to compile her experiences into a book that could resonate with other parents and caregivers of a child or adult with special needs or disabilities.
“I like to think of writing as survival. I love words, and it's how I move through the world to work through my sadness,” says Moore, who's a former NYC Teacher of the Year winner. “The book's number-one audience would be the caregiver of anyone with a disability [who] didn't know what to expect.”
Moore uses humor, wit, and emotion of all kinds to tell the story of her journey with Jordan and the unique challenges and joys her family has experienced. Loving You Big is great for anyone with a busy lifestyle, according to the author. A 284-page read, the book is written as a series of vignettes that can be read either chronologically or as snapshots out of order.
Today, Jordan is a very happy and loving 10-year-old. She can walk, and although her communication skills are limited, she makes everyone she meets smile. She loves Disney, and some of her favorite characters include Mal from The Descendants and Princess Jasmine from Aladdin.
Both Leah and her husband are active in the cri du chat community to help raise awareness about the condition. Film maker, Emily Dombroff, spotlighted the family in a documentary for a benefit concert in 2012.
Loving You Big: One Family Embracing the Unexpected is available on Amazon. Proceeds from the book support Inclusion Matters by Shane's Inspiration, an organization that builds inclusive playgrounds for children with disabilities around the world.