Status: Complete.

I Will Bend, but Never Break

The Mom

A loud squeal splits the air, and I raise my head. I squint, struggling to grasp my bearings through the sleepy fog that has settled in my brain. I blink, once, twice, three times. My focus lands on my four year old, grinning from the spot next to me.

My fingers fumble for my phone. The light blinds me when the clock appears on the small screen. 4:30. With a sigh, I push up and wipe the hair from my eyes.

A giggle sounds. I can't help the tired smile that appears on my face. My son is tickled to see me awake. It's time to play.

"At least it's not two-thirty this time, right?" I coo, pulling him into my lap. He gurgles back.

A quick glance shows my 18-month-old sleeping peacefully. Thank goodness I have one good sleeper.

We leave the room without a sound, and I place him in his special chair. I drop a handful of blueberries in a bowl adorned with penguins. For a moment, I just watch.

A part of me still waits for him to pick the fruit up and pop it into his mouth. When he doesn't, a small sigh escapes my lips. I catch myself, and put a smile on instead. Then, I place a blueberry into his mouth. He bites into it before grinning, juice flowing down his chin. I laugh and wipe him off, then start a pot of coffee, and a real breakfast for him.

It takes an hour for him to eat, sometimes longer depending on what's on the menu. In between singing and cooing to him, my mind drifts.

When I found out I was pregnant with him, I was terrified. His father and I weren't together, and were only beginning to talk about working things out. He was getting ready to start a job that would keep him away more often than not. I was in college, trying to figure out what I wanted to do.

After the initial shock, we grew excited. We were having a baby! A tiny person that would be a part of both of us! The nine months couldn't go fast enough.

We both teared up when we found out it was a boy. Would he look like his daddy? Would he have my quiet personality? Would he read books, or play sports, or work on trucks? Would he become a doctor or police officer? How many grandchildren would he give me? The possibilities were endless!

All of those things swirled around and around in my head the endless weeks I carried him. My pregnancy was a breeze, though. I rubbed my belly constantly, sang to him, and prayed for him every night. The anticipation was almost too much to bare.

Out of everything I imagined about my child, for my child, I never once imagined this. Never in my wildest dreams did I expect a child with special needs. Why would I? Nothing indicated anything other than a healthy, normal baby boy.

In a five minute conversation, my world shattered. It took hours for it to sink in, but then I cried for even more hours. My perfect little boy would do nothing I had hoped for. Every dream for him was ripped away.

He would never become a doctor or police officer. He would never even live on his own. His brain wouldn't develop past that of a preschooler. He might never talk or walk. He would forever be dependent on me.

That was only the beginning. My life became a constant blur of doctors appointments. He was seeing a new specialist every month it felt like. He had two surgeries before he turned one, and was doing therapy twice a week. Then, the seizures started. The first one almost taking his life.

What once was once a child that I dreamed about, soon became one that I worried about. I was physically and emotionally drained. A child is seen as an addition, but he had completely consumed my life.

I was in over my head. A first time mom, still so much a child myself, trying to raise this special, fragile being.

"Mama," a small voice says from behind me, pulling me back to the present.

I turn and grin, seeing my little one headed my way. His soft hair flutters as he reaches for me. Once in my lap, he snuggles into my chest and I resume feeding his big brother.

"Bubby," he says, pointing a tiny finger at him. The pair grin at one another.

As I watch the interaction between the dynamic duo, my heart overflows with love. I tear up when my youngest sticks a blueberry into my older one's open mouth.

My days are long and nights often difficult, but there is no doubt in my mind that these two were made just for me.