Today, One Day at a Time Is All I Can Do
I know planning for the future is important. It’s especially important when you have a child with special needs, and I do. My son is 14.
Brenden was born a happy, healthy baby. At 16 months old, he was unbridled curiosity combined with limitless energy. I was 21 and up for the adventure.
We were stationed at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, but my family was back in Texas, so I took every opportunity to go visit. It was on his first visit as a walking little one that our lives changed forever.
My mom had a 5,000-gallon pond with a beautiful waterfall in her backyard that captured Brenden’s attention from the first moment he laid eyes on it. We were careful to teach the strict boundaries of water safety.
Growing up with a pool, I was well aware of the danger, but all those boundaries and precautions didn’t stop what happened next. I looked up, and he was gone; the three minutes that he’d escaped our immediate reach were truly costly.
I stepped out onto the back patio and into a nightmare. It was one of those moments in my life that I knew I would never completely recover from. Nor would he.
Brenden had fallen into the water long enough to stop breathing and for the lack of oxygen to cause a significant amount of brain damage, mostly to the region of the brain that controls motor function.
Eight months later, we were finally released from a Neuro Rehab Unit with a poor prognosis. Basically, a doctor sadly explained to me that Brenden would never be more than a vegetable. We’ve lived every day to prove that doctor wrong.
Today, I have a happy, positive, funny, beautiful, mostly nonverbal, young man who’s also dependent for all his daily activities, and I’m extremely blessed to be his mother.
Brenden is a gift. He’s like gravity, pulling people in with his blue eyes that light up with each smile, his infectious laugh and his positive attitude. People gravitate to him, and it is spectacular to watch the change he brings to even complete strangers.
And as each parent who has a special needs child knows, it gets harder with time. The logistics of bathing, feeding, grooming and providing mobility for a young man is tough job to take on. Add a full-time job as a Texas Peace Officer to the mix, and some days there aren’t enough hours in the day. I’m thankful to have a supportive family.
Back to my original statement about planning for the future. Every few weeks, for whatever reason, a random person in my life will ask, “What are you going to do when he gets bigger/older?” That question usually comes when that particular person has spent the day or sometimes just a few hours with us and has witnessed the amount of time, effort and planning it takes to care for him.
I’ve learned to expect and also dread this question. Every time it’s asked I can barely contain the panic of emotions this one simple question evokes, and I usually respond with, “Today, one day at a time is all I can do.”
Of course, I’m planning for his future, and I’ve worried many a night about all those things that come with the unknown future. But for now, I will continue to work hard to deserve to be the mother of such a blessing. One day at a time. Tomorrow is a new day.
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