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Opening my Heart. Being a Stepmom to a Child with Special Needs

How my special needs step daughter has taught me more than I have taught her

My name is Nicole.

In 2008 I was a single mother of my beautiful daughter Savannah who was one and a half years old. Working as a waitress at Buffalo Wild Wings. One morning while I was working, I served these two guys and we made small talk. No big deal.

These men kept coming in and I kept making small talk. One day while I was cashing out, the hostess came up and told me that there was a gentelman out front that wanted to see me. It was one of those guys. It was Don. As nervous as he was and seeing that he could barely ask the question, he asked to take me out on a date. We did the usual exchanging of numbers and so the game began. Was I to call him? I didnt want to seem desperate but I liked him. What to do, what to do?

Well, I eneded up breaking the ice. I was on my way to the zoo with my daughter when I called him. Well didn't exactly call him. Called his work and left him a message. He was a parts manager at Kia and I left him a silly message about needing a part for my Kia.

I hung up and left it to be his move.

He called me back right away. He told me that he knew I was kidding because I didn't have a Kia. First thing that popped into my mind was Stalker. LoL

I asked him how he knew that and he told me he saw me pulling out of work one night. After that we talked a few times on the phone and decided to meet, outside of work. I went to his house for a bonfire just to get to know eachother. That night was great. Although one thing did go very wrong. We were talking sports, and he I told him that I was a big Ohio State fan and he looked at me and had this look on his face like I had just offened him. I then said " You better not be a Michigan fan. He noddes his head and told me "Yes I am".

I got up from my chair and acted as though I was leaving and told him this isn't going to work. I quicly sat back down before he thought I was serious. As long as we are both browns fans, that evens us out. I went to leave and of course he was a full out gentalman. Gave me a peck on the cheek, I got into my car, and drove off with a smile on my face. 

The next night I went over to his house to meet the kids. The first thing I saw was this beautiful little girl bounicing on an air mattress in the front room. Arms flapping away with delight, and the laughter, OH THE LAUGHTER, it was like just adorable. When I went into the house, another beautiful little girl came running up to me with a big smile on her face. Overwhleming, in a good way. At this point, I had no clue what their situation was. If they were over for the weekend seeing their dad, if the little girl bouncing on the air mattress was just to excited to speak to me.

Then the introductions came. "Hi, I'm Tori I am 5" Don smiles with a profound sense of pride in his 5 year old. I shake her hand and say "nice to meet you Tori". Don then introduces the bouncing beauty. "This is Emma, she can't speak" I look at him wanting to know more, but not sure how to ask without being rude. I just ask, why? Emma has a rare genetic disorder called Angelman Syndrome. With Don not knowing much about it himslef because he had just recieved a diagnoses a few months before. 

While getting to know these precious little girl, Don and I were talking about Angelman Syndrome. Said that she was diagnosed with Cerbal Palsey at birth. That she had problems eating, sleeping, sitting up, crawling, talking, and standing.

Not hitting the milestones that a typical baby or toddler would hit. Now I cant tell you how I felt or what I was thinking at that moment, but I can tell you that I was suprised that this man was a single dad, with a special needs child and a typical child trying to survive in a two bedroom house.

The air mattress in the front room was Don's bed because Emma had to have a room to herself because of the sleep issues. After he put the kids to bed, and the house was quiet, I had some questions that probably any woman had. But the biggest question I had on my mind was, "Where was their mother"? 

I will leave it at that for today. I will write eveyday and start again where I left off. 

Thanks for reading. If you or a loved one would like to get in touch with me, by all means please contact me. 

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