That Was What Hurt Me the Most Page 10
I was nineteen years old when I met Ben. I was now on my own renting an apartment and caring for my two year old son. Ben claimed that my son’s disability did not bother him, even though I could tell he was a little uncomfortable with the situation. I would have expected any nineteen year old boy to have difficulty dating a young girl with a baby, -and here was Ben trying his best to overlook the issues that come with caring for a child with Cerebral Palsy. I thought he was amazingly mature, he was full of compliments and I absolutely loved his smile. All of this made me completely ignore the red flags.
Ben moved in with me almost immediately after us meeting and he talked a lot about us having a baby of our own. Even though that was the last thing I wanted to think about, I contributed to the conversations about our ‘distant’ future. I liked the fact that he was so sure about us. I fell in love with the idea of us being a happy family. He loved me so much and I didn’t want to lose that so I agreed to stop taking birth control pills. I did not want to get pregnant but I also did not want Ben to leave me so I still took my pill everyday without him knowing. When he ’caught’ me taking a pill he became very angry so I cried and convinced him it was only vitamins.
Ben’s parents were nice to me. I could see that it wasn’t easy for them to accept that Allen and I were a part of their son’s life so I just smiled while I listened to his mother tell stories about his ‘wonderful’ ex-girlfriend, Heather. They would get together for lunch once a month and she suggested that I go out with them sometime. I agreed, even though we both knew that was never going to happen. I put up with Ben's mother's complete disregard for my feelings because I was happy that his parents were nice enough to pretend that they were okay with our relationship.
Two months into our relationship I began attending a private college. I did not like having to leave Allen in the care of someone else, but I also did not like living off of social assistance. My babysitter could not handle Allen’s seizures and constant crying fits and I was being pulled out of class almost everyday to pick him up early. Ben offered to take care of him while I was at school but that didn’t last a week. My school counselor suggested that I put my studies on hold until I was able to find proper care for my son. I spent the next few weeks talking with Allen's social worker at Children's Services. She was searching for someone who was able to handle the amount of care that my son needed. The day she called to tell me that she thought she found someone suitable, I had to tell her that my plans had changed as I just found out I was pregnant. A week later I found out I was carrying twins. Allen's social worker now had a new task - find a place for Allen to stay for the next year. My doctor was expecting a lot of complications with my pregnancy and I also would not be able to care for Allen with newborn twins in the house. I was very nervous about allowing him to be cared for by strangers but my doctor made it clear that at some point in my pregnancy I would most likely not to be able to take care of Allen myself. I agreed to let Allen go for one year on two conditions, -he must be placed in a house with a family and not in a institution, and I must have access to him at all times.
We had recently celebrated Allen's third birthday and I was now a few months pregnant. His social worker called me one day with extreme excitement in her voice. She told me that she had the perfect family for Allen. She explained that the woman of the house had been caring for disabled foster children for many years, and not only was she very experienced in caring for children with cerebral palsy, but the social worker believed that her and Allen's personalities were a perfect match. The family also had another boy living with them with the same condition. Allen and I were introduced to Genna and Ronald at their home which exuded happiness and warmth. They were very welcoming and full of smiles, and of course they instantly feel in love with Allen. I immediately knew this was where Allen was going to live for the next year and I suddenly became comfortable with the idea. When Allen and I went home that day I began to mentally prepare myself for what was going to take place in just a few weeks. I spent every possible minute holding Allen close and crying at the thought of him not being in my arms for a whole year. I wondered if he knew what was going on. I hoped that in some way he understood that it was only temporary. I had never loved anyone as much as I loved my son. I did not want my son to feel as if I was abandoning him, even though a small part of me felt like I was.
The day had come and I was using all the strength I had to not fall apart. Allen's social worker drove us to Genna and Ronald's house. I sat in the passenger seat wondering if there were some way I could keep Allen at home with me. I knew it wasn't possible, but I still racked my brain hoping there was a solution that we all missed. If I could think of it before we got to the house then I wouldn't have to let Allen go. We pulled into the driveway and I could feel the color drain from my body. This was it. I had to force my arms and legs to move. I unbuckled Allen's car seat and lifted him into my arms. I stood at the car and held him close to me until I was sure that I wouldn't break down. Then I slowly made my way to the front door where Genna And Ronald stood beaming. They looked so happy. I knew this was where Allen needed to be in order to receive proper care while I was unable to do so. I knew I wouldn't have to worry about him, he would be loved and cared for. He would be fine without me. It was me who wasn't going to do well, without him. This was the hardest thing I had ever had to do. It broke my heart to leave him there, but I did.
The drive home was pure anguish. I sobbed uncontrollably. I had the most sickly feeling in my stomach and I was sure that I would vomit in the social worker's car. She tried to comfort me with her kind words, but they sounded awkward. I was making her very uncomfortable. I noticed that she was driving unusually fast. I assumed she wanted to get me home as soon as possible. I couldn't blame her for wanting to be rid of me, I must of looked and sounded like a crazy person as I gasped for air between sobs.
I walked into my apartment. It seemed cold. I didn't know where Ben was, out with his friends I guessed. He had offered to come with me to drop Allen off but I didn't want him there. I knew he wouldn't understand what I was going through and to be honest, Ben seemed a little to eager to send Allen away. I walked into Allen's room and sat on the floor and picked up one of his teddy bears, hugged it as tight as I could and cried. He was really gone. The one person I loved beyond words. The one person who felt comforted when I held him in my arms. The one person who made me feel worthwhile. It was only going to be for a year, but for me, at that moment, it seemed like an eternity. That was what hurt me the most.