You experience a horrible time and more than a time when you are only twelve, make promises to yourself you swear you will keep and you begin to try. It doesn’t work out like you vow to yourself that it will because you are just a kid and even though you think nothing will ever keep you down, you do not yet have the understanding that only experience shows you. People will let you down. They prey on those like you. They may not mean to. They may not even know they are doing it. They may just be evil, or maybe they don’t have a conscience. You experience more buckets of tears, you vow that you will overcome them and somehow you do. You just wake up a little more bruised than the day before. You get a little older, time does not fly for you like it does for some other people. You trust those you should not trust, you count on those you should not count on, you are let down, stomped on, ripped off, taken advantage of, and yet you vow you will beat life. You vow each day that you will beat the crap of life. For a while you do. Money does not matter. It’s nice to have but as you grow older you realize what is really important. For a while it is to be self sufficient, to show those that hurt you that you don’t need them, to show those you will not make it–that you will. Becoming a parent brings much joy until you realize your first son will not have a father. That goes against everything you believe in. Because you did not have much of a father you want that ridiculous idea of family implanted in your head by a mysterious hand. However, once that child is sick, and one doctor leads to another doctor which leads to another hospital visit which leads to more medicine that does not work…well that puts everything into perspective and that little boy is helpless and does not deserve this single parent life. You know the definition of vacation time, but you don’t get one because your son is sick. You use all your sick days, all your vacation days, because he was sick. You stay up all day and most of the night. You lay on the floor beside of nest of blankets you made for him. You listen to him breathe although he is laboring to get out a breath. He calms down and you walk outside in the cold night and you look up at the sky and you wonder if God would just cast His eyes on that sweet little innocent and heal him. You ask for it, you cry silently and shiver because it’s always winter for you. You can’t sleep so make some coffee and drink while you can. You hear him sputter and you know he is getting sick. You fly up the stairs, grab him and take his temperature. His eyes roll back in his head. You don’t even put a coat on him. Blankets are always by the door. You throw the blankets on him. You don’t even try to get the fever down because it is 104 degrees and climbing. You park illegally in your old car, run into the emergency room and don’t even bother with waiting. There is no triage for it’s the ‘old days’. It seems like a slow motion movie. The nurses move like their feet are stuck in syrup. The doctors have pagers, no cell phones..They send in interns and you are so young that you have no idea that they have no idea. They prescribe more medicine, then more lost days from work, then it starts all over again. For over 122 days and every single weekend. You sit in the rocking chair by the window and watch your friends go out and have fun as you rock your son and you are so tired that you are not even jealous of their freedom. You vow to this small one that you won’t let him down although you really don’t know how you will keep this promise. You catch sleep like a cat, every now and then and tell yourself that as the two of you grow older you can sleep later. A doctor walks in one day and you give him a dirty look because by 126 days and nights you are already jaded at 20. Examinations and tests follow and you are so scared. When one diagnosis is ruled out, another may be correct and it means death and you want to die but you keep that deep hope inside because if you already know that if he dies he will take all the breath out of you as he floats to Heaven. At least he will be at rest and you will be too. Thirty years and five children later and you blow out a breath and think that everything is alright. Grandchildren come, grey hair grows, success comes and goes, you think that things are leveling out. What you don’t know is that the horror is just beginning.