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The Blessed Child

Maura, IL, USA
April 2004

My son has had cerebral palsy all his life, and many strange things have been happening ever since the day of his birth. Every child is blessed somewhat, but it seems to me that this child has something like no other.

We all were expecting a beautiful, healthy child. I had spent months setting up for the baby. When it was time to go to the hospital I had a long, hard labor and although the doctor offered comforting words, I knew something was wrong.

It was my worst nightmare- beautiful, healthy Michael I had dreamed so much about was sick and helpless. The only thing worse than watching your child die is watching your child in pain and you can't do anything. I was only 25 and my husband and I had recently wed; we were broke, but we were happy, and that's all that really matters right? But the happiness was sucked out of it when we realized Michael was ill. But Michael was a lovely baby and brightened up our bleakest hours.

My husband had to work endless hours to bring home enough for Michael's expenses and I had to stay home to rest and take care of Michael. I remember his baby smile- it was captivating, like the light of the sun. He warmed me from head to toe... it was so unrealistic, the feelings it gave. I loved that smile.

When Michael got older, things got better. He never cried- not ever. When he was about 3, my mother was dying. My mother and Michael had always had a special connection and Michael had loved her so very much. The night of my mother's death was an odd one. I was sleeping peacefully when I heard Michael begin to cry. I got up and tried to comfort him, but he was crying uncontrollably. I sat in the rocking chair with him and looked at the clock, which read 2:02 A.M. There was an odd cast of light in the room and I assumed it was just light coming in from the window. Minutes later I decided that Michael needed to be taken into my bedroom. Michael fell asleep but I found I could not. I tossed in turned for hours, and at 5 A.M. I realized sleep was hopeless. I kept thinking about Michael. Why had he been crying? He had never cried. I played the scene in my head over and over again and remembered every little detail. Then, I took Michael into his bedroom and put him back in the crib. As I walked from the room, I suddenly remembered the odd light from the window. I looked up to the window to see that the blinds were silent and shut.

At 6:30 (millions of cups of coffee later) I heard the phone ring. Wondering who- other than my husband- would be calling this early, I answered the ring. It was my sister with a tearful voice. "Maura," she said, "Mom passed away earlier this morning." I saved my mourning for later and began to analyze everything. "Do you know the time, Sharon? As in.. the exact time?" Sharon sniffed. "I- I don't know, I'll check." We hung up, and minutes later she called again. "The nurses say it was at 2:02 A.M." she informed me. I nearly dropped the phone. But this was only the beginning of the blessed experiences I would have with Michael.

When Michael got a bit older, his condition worsened and the doctor suggested a risky surgery. If it worked, the nerves that were in places that they weren't supposed be (forgive me for not being able to put this in medical terms, I'm no doctor)would be removed and he'd be in a lot better condition; however, if it didn't work, he'd be in a wheelchair for the rest of his life. Michael was 6 and therefore too young to make the decision, and I was afraid. I really didn't know what to do.

A few days later we went to a cafe down the street for lunch. My son had to go to the bathroom so my husband walked him down there. Since Michael has cerebral palsy, he sort of limps when he walks. The waitress that had recently taken our orders walked up to me and asked, "What's wrong with him?" I was ready to burst with anger and fury. It wasn't her business what was wrong with my son! She should mind her own business so she doesn't get slugged in the nose by me! But I restrained my self and replied, "Michael has cerebral palsy. Why do you ask?" The waitress smiled and responded, "Oh, I have a nephew who has cerebral palsy. Yeah, you see that building over there?" she said, pointing out the window to a tall building. "He worked on the construction crew when it was built." I nodded politely but inside my head, I was filled with shock. Not many people with such an illness can work on a building. After we ate, we went home and thoughts of the waitress' nephew filled me on the way.

That night, while my husband was fast asleep, I sat up and clamped my hands together and prayed. I prayed, "God, I'm confused and I don't know what to do. If we go through with the surgery, it could help Michael, but if something goes wrong, he could be in a wheel chair for the rest of his life and it would be my fault. Please, God, you don't have to tell me anything... just send me a sign, thats all I need. Just a sign." At that moment a vision a woman I had never seen in my life pointed to a building, and said, "My nephew built that." I then realized what I had to do.

We decided to have Michael go through with the surgery, and now he's 17, and in good health. He plays for a special ed basketball team and even has a girlfriend. He's happy, but I think I'm much happier. I'm also thankful for the blessings and signs I have received from him. Sometimes in life, you should not count your blessings, but value them. And they can be as simple as a little sick child who grows into a wonderful young man.

P.S. I know this is supposed to be a scary story and I sort of changed it into an inspirational, but it still has some scary parts =)

Maura, IL, USA
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