Camila left her one-year-old child with her husband in the U.S. and had to stay in Mexico for many years. But she returned 12 years later to discover him in a wheelchair, and no one had told her about it. Then she learned what happened.
Camila met her husband, Derek, while he was backpacking through Guadalajara, Mexico. It was the last leg of his Latin American trip, but he and Camila fell in love fast. They traveled to his hometown in Newark, New Jersey, and got married there.
She got pregnant almost immediately, and they had their son, Juan, in the city. But then Camila had to return to Mexico to tie up some loose ends with her family. She was supposed to stay there a month but did not notice her visa was about to expire.
Camila never imagined that she would return to see Juan in a wheelchair. | Source: Shutterstock
A few green card and tourist visa rules changed at the time, so it was a long process to renew Camila's. Derek tried his best to fix things on his side since they were married, but it was taking so long time. So while Camila was away, Derek’s mom and one of his cousins looked after Juan.
Finally, it looked like everything was set for Camila to return to the U.S., but then Camila’s mother was diagnosed with cancer, prompting her to postpone her trip to the U.S. The older woman went through a long, winding battle and eventually passed away.
Camila had to arrange everything because her father and siblings were too distraught. She had always been the emotionally stable one in the family.
But shortly after, her family’s situation worsened. Her father, Carlos, got depressed and took to alcohol. Meanwhile, her siblings started fighting over the estate, and it seemed like Camila's “short trip” to Mexico was never going to end.
Derek was patient, but he was working hard to provide for their son. Luckily, Juan was soon old enough to use the computer and called her every single day.
She Skyped with her son as often as possible. | Source: Pexels
“I can’t wait to see you, Mommy! We’re going to have so much fun when you get here!” the young boy told her. Camila wanted to cry. She had missed so much of his life already, and her troubles in Mexico were still piling up.
“I miss you too, baby! I’m excited to see you. Listen, can you get your father here. I need to talk to him,” Camila asked her son. Juan ran off, and Derek showed up on the screen a few minutes later.
“Hey, darling. You said you were coming at the end of the month. Do you need money for the plane ticket? Should I buy it for you?” Derek wondered.
“Oh…hmmm…Derek, I’m so sorry. I need to stay a little longer. That’s why I wanted to call you,” Camila started, apologetic.
“Camila,” Derek sighed and rubbed his forehead. “It’s been eight years. You’ve missed out on everything in Juan’s life. I…maybe, we should move down there with you.”
“No! I want my son to grow up in America and have all the opportunities I never had. If you come here, you’re just going to be wrapped up in this mess. But I can’t leave my dad alone. My sister and brother have become a nightmare since Mom died,” Camila explained.
Derek was frustrated because he wanted her to return. | Source: Pexels
“Your siblings are adults. I don’t see how that’s your problem,” Derek snapped, trying to remain calm.
“I can’t leave my dad here with them. They will sell his house and throw him on the streets. It’s…I can’t even explain the monster they have become. I want to bring Dad over there, but he won’t leave Mexico,” Camila continued.
They argued for some time about the situation, but there was no solution in sight. Camila had to remain in her country, and it was better for them to stay in New Jersey.
“I’ll come home soon, Juanito! I promise!” Camila told Juan when he appeared on the screen once again. The boy smiled and said goodbye to his mother.
Camila stayed in Mexico for another four years until her father died. She was heartbroken that her siblings didn’t care and started making arrangements to sell their childhood home. But she was looking forward to finally seeing her family again. So she excitedly packed her bags then traveled home after 12 years. She couldn't wait to surprise them.
“Hello! Is anyone home?” Camila called out when she entered their New Jersey home.
She was chatting with Amanda in the kitchen and heard Juan's voice. | Source: Pexels
“Hey! How can you walk in here…wait, Camila? OH MY GOD!” Derek’s cousin, Amanda, said in shock. She ran to hug Camila.
“Hey, Amanda. It’s been so long. Are you babysitting Juan?” she asked.
“Yes, I’m just making us some sandwiches. But OMG, you’re here! Derek didn’t tell me! Let’s go to the kitchen!” Amanda hooted. “JUAN! Come down here!”
Amanda led her to the kitchen, and they chit-chatted until Camila heard a voice. “Mom?” Juan said from the kitchen doorway. She turned around, and her jaw went slack.
“Juanito! Mi amor! What are you doing in a wheelchair?” she questioned after running to hug him.
“I’ve been in a wheelchair for years, Mom. I thought Dad told you. It’s ok! It’s pretty cool!” Juan answered, hugging his mother back. “But you’re here! I missed you so much! I can’t believe it! Dad didn’t say that you were coming!”
“It was a surprise. I didn’t tell anyone. But now I’m here!” Camila replied, smiling at her son. But she also gave Amanda a weird questioning look.
Derek got home from work and was surprised to see Camila. | Source: Pexels
“Let’s eat first!” Amanda sang, keeping a poker face. After lunch, Juan had to finish some homework and went to his room.
“What’s going on? How long has he been in a wheelchair? Why didn't you or Derek tell me? We’ve talked on Skype for years,” Camila inquired earnestly.
“I’m sorry, Camila. But Derek said it was just better not to say anything at first. Then we all just got used to it. Juan adapted so fast that it was like he didn't have a disability at all. It was not my place to tell you,” Amanda clarified. “But you have to ask your husband about it.”
Derek got home that night and smiled when he saw Camila. Over the years, his family had encouraged him to divorce Camila and find another woman. But she was the love of his life and would wait for her forever.
He was a little confused when she didn’t immediately run to his arms. “We have to talk,” she demanded. They went to his office and closed the door so that Juan couldn’t hear them.
“Camila, why didn’t you tell me you were coming? I would’ve picked you up from the airport,” Derek commented and smiled.
Juan got into an accident during his soccer practice. | Source: Pexels
“Oh, I don’t know. Why didn’t you tell me that Juan is in a wheelchair? THAT’S A HUGE THING YOU’VE BEEN KEEPING FROM ME! WHAT HAPPENED?” Camila started yelling.
“Shush. Please, calm down, or Juan will hear you. I’ll explain everything,” Derek begged and moved closer to Camila, trying to comfort her. She resisted at first, but he finally got her to listen.
“Juan got into an accident at school during his soccer practice. He fell down the bleacher stairs and got them pretty bad. Doctors said there was a chance for him to recover, so I wanted to wait to tell you. But it’s a slow process. He isn’t entirely disabled. He can move a bit,” Derek revealed.
“But why didn’t you tell me?” Camila cried.
“How could I tell you? I was supposed to keep our son safe, and you were dealing with a nightmare back home — your dad and his alcoholism plus your siblings. I didn’t want to worry you more than you already were,” Derek continued.
Camila promised to never leave them again. | Source: Pexels
“I had a right to know. I’ve missed so much of his life, and it’s my fault. Dad died, by the way. That’s why I finally packed everything and left. I can’t believe I gave up watching my son grow just to try to help,” Camila lamented.
Derek continued hugging her and apologized for not keeping her in the loop. They didn’t talk for a few minutes, then he spoke up. “Are you staying for real this time?”
“Yes. I’m not leaving again for any reason. I have to make it up to Juan… and you too if you still want to be my husband,” Camila promised.
Derek smiled and kissed her. “Of course, I do. I’ve also tried to keep Juan interested in his Mexican heritage, and I enrolled him in Spanish lessons. But he needs you to teach him everything I can’t,” he added.
“I will teach him!” she vowed and never left the U.S. again.
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