The brave ones.

You’d never expect it when looking at him, with his bright eyes and the already deviously sly smiles. It wouldn’t be until you saw under his shirt that you’d notice the scar. Jonas is surprising in many ways… including his mere existence.

Erin never thought she wanted children, as many current parents out there once thought. But despite this, Jonas decided to pop into her reality. Yet, unlike some, when she found out she embraced it. She was going to be a mother, and planned or not, she was going to see it through.

Things don’t always go as we plan, though. Nobody expects to have a child with serious health issues. Especially when nothing is detected for the duration of the pregnancy… then the surprise is even harsher if you’ve been operating under the assumption that everything is fine.

It isn’t as if Erin is any stranger to the harsh realities of life. From an auto accident that left her with two broken legs (and the scars to prove it,) to an abusive boyfriend for a number of years and now a son born with half a heart, she’s been there. “Not sure if it would be irony that my mother raised me to be the happy person and the shitties things keeps happening to me. People tell you all the cliché shit because they don’t know what to say otherwise when these things happen.”

You can tell she is pensive to a degree about all of this. Despite the fact that this story has been told a thousand times (everyone kept up with Jonas’ recovery, and still does) this is a bit different. This is more than just an update, or casual conversation.

“How much shit can be piled on you before… l… I don’t know. It just doesn’t make any sense to me. We talk about Jonas and we figure we were given this because we can handle it.”

Erin has a job which constantly offers up times when people must ask the same, tired questions. She loves her job, but the monotony of the reactions can be irritating. Luckily, Jonas did provide some respite from this.

“The coolest thing about having him… a few weeks after he was born, I went to AI where Kris (her husband) is going to school. I had never met his classmates before, and it was nice… it was the first time the attention was on someone other than me. It’s nice now to talk about something other than working in radio. People always ask the same questions. But when you know me and spend time with me, you know I am not a big-headed crazy. I am just a normal person. It was so nice that nobody asked me about myself at all.”

Erin was an only child, and was thus subject to being the constant focus of attention. The drive home from the college gave her time to reflect on what had happened—she finally felt as if the lights had been taken off of her and placed on someone else for once. It was a relief, but his birth also provided other perspectives she had to face.

Shortly before Jonas was born, a friend of hers had a child. Of course, this one was without issues. “He was perfectly healthy, and I was so pissed… it’s like, even if there was a god, that’s just shitty. Whenever people say they pray for him, I try to be polite about it, but to me it just makes no fucking sense. It just doesn’t make any sense to me at all.”

You can see both sadness and joy when she speaks of him. It’s been a vicious road in such a short period of time, going between fear, optimism, and happiness. Despite all of this, she couldn’t love him more. “He’s such a sweet, easy-going kid. Aside from having to take him to the hospital the way we do, he’s so easy-going.”

“People say parenting is hard, but it’s not. I always said I’d be too selfish for it… but as soon as you have a child, you don’t second guess yourself. You just do the things that need to be done. People say that they don’t want children, and I did too… but for the most part when people say they didn’t want a kid they just don’t feel like they can do it right.”

If the months that have passed are any indicator, Erin is nothing short of a superb mother. Nights spent in uncomfortable hospitals, days spent holding her son after surgeries and tests. He may not know it yet, but Jonas has been given the best people for the job. Her experiences with him have led to anger at others, though– all of which are valid.

“One of my friends just had an abortion and she felt she couldn’t do it. The father wasn’t there for her. She’s 25 and old enough to know better, and it made me angry. She’s my best friend on the whole planet and you can’t talk to her candidly … so really, why are you my best friend if you can’t talk to me and handle the truth?”

She has rapidly turned her attitude from that of a loving and nervous mother to an angry realist. The injustice of it digs in deep. “I asked her how she was dealing with it. She said she thinks she is more heartbroken over the guy, as if the child was nothing… just a thing. They don’t think of it as a life… just nothing. Really? Fuck you. It’s not about you. It’s a child. I said to her, I thought I knew her. But I didn’t. Not at all.”

It isn’t that she is pro-life, exactly. We discuss and agree on the whys and hows that abortion is a reasonable option, but neither of us can agree to it as a matter of convenience. “It’s hard because you want to do the right thing as a friend; be supportive no matter what… but when you’re a fucking idiot it’s hard to. There is no excuse for that. None.”

She is suddenly called away from our little corner… Jonas needs her. She doesn’t think twice, and rushes off to be with her baby. One day, this child will grow up to be a strong young man thanks to the efforts of his family. If anyone could be an example of surviving the odds, of pushing back despite hardship and coming out of it with a smile and shrug, it’s Erin. She has passed this on to her son, leaving no doubts that he can get through anything life decides to throw at him.