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Single Dad Struggles to Raise Kid with Down Syndrome, Missing Mom Shows up on Boy’s Birthday – Story of the Day

Preeti Pillai
Sep 11, 2022
02:00 A.M.
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Sam loved his son and raised him with incredible difficulty as a single parent caring for a child with down syndrome. Nothing prepared him for when his ex-wife showed up on Martin's birthday unannounced.

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"Happy birthday again, my boy! Remember, I'll always love you!" Sam said fixing his four-year-old son's tilted bow tie.

"Papa…don't go!" Martin hugged Sam's sleeve and refused to let go.

"I'll tell you what. Ms. Danes here will take you to your class and introduce you to some new friends. Right, Ms. Danes?"

The kind teacher nodded, holding a hand out to Martin for a handshake.

"If you don't like them, Ms. Danes will give me a call, and I'll be right outside, ready to take you home."

"After a scoop of ice cream?"

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"Ah, no, not a single scoop of ice cream…but two!"

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Getty Images

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Getty Images

That promise helped Martin feel better about walking away from his father's car with Ms. Danes.

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Sam chose to stay for a few minutes, watching Martin take small, careful little steps towards the daycare building.

Sam couldn't get enough of the sight. Unlike other children, Martin had only started walking last week, shortly before his fourth birthday.

"That's normal for a child with Down Syndrome like Martin," the doctor had said.

'Huh! Normal.' Sam hated that word. And the memory of his ex-wife Faye using that word still hurt Sam like a dagger in his heart.

Their last meeting replayed in Sam's head.

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"Nothing is ever going to be normal again. You, me, the way we live our lives - everything will be stained with the fact that something is wrong with our child."

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Getty Images

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Getty Images

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"There are plenty of adoption agencies we can try to talk to. There may be a family out there who doesn't mind raising a child with Down syndrome. In our home, he won't feel loved. He'll feel pitied and looked after, but not loved."

That fight was the final straw for Sam and Faye. Sam was determined to raise the child, and Faye filed for a divorce. Baby Martin was only 7 weeks old while his family was falling apart.

'I wish I had said what was in my heart. I wish I could have let Faye know that she was wrong.' Sam had this recurring thought in his head.

Family is nothing if not a place for unconditional love.

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He may not have told Faye off, but his and Martin's life proved that Faye was wrong. In the last 3 years, Sam had managed to take care of the baby and make ends meet as an independent plumbing contractor.

Of course, there were days where Sam struggled and failed, days where he had nothing left in the fridge and not enough money to buy himself a sandwich.

But for Martin, there was always plenty. The colorfulness and abundance of the little boy's room were an astonishing contrast to the rest of the house.

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Getty Images

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Getty Images

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Sam was never going to give up on his little boy. And Martin was never going to know why his mother had left. It would have broken his gentle heart.

And it's not like he would ever meet Faye again anytime soon. Or so he thought.

That afternoon, Sam was shaken by Ms. Danes' response when he went to pick Martin up from daycare.

"He was already picked up."

"What do you mean? By who?"

"Martin's mother came by. She showed me her identification, too. Faye Monterson from Ohio, right? Martin was a little cranky, but she calmed him and got him to her car."

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Sam managed to offer poor Ms. Danes a grin as she stood nervously, watching him punch the steering wheel of his car, cover his panicked face with a palm, and suddenly drive away.

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Getty Images

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Getty Images

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Sam had been lying to the world. Most importantly, to Martin. And that lie was about to be exposed.

'I can't let that happen. I can't let Martin know that his mother had written me multiple emails in the past few months and that I just didn't respond.'

Martin tried to call Faye frantically as he drove, but she didn't answer.

'I hope they're at home!'

Martin was discreet as he tiptoed from his porch all the way to the living room. He could hear voices coming from the kitchen.

He leaned in cautiously and listened as his ex-wife held Martin's hand and spoke.

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"Of course, it is true! I AM your mother."

Martin was shaking his head aggressively in denial.

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Getty Images

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Getty Images

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"Look, kid, how would you like to move into a bigger house with me? There'll be many toys and more candy than you can imagine."

"Papa! Where's Papa? I want Papa!"

Martin broke down in tears that just wouldn't stop. Sam watched from behind the wall as Faye struggled to calm her forsaken child. He waited — to see Faye hug her son, kiss him, or even just hold him to soothe his tears. But Faye was seconds away from losing her patience and screaming at Martin. And she hadn't touched the boy once.

"Stop it! Stop crying! Why won't you listen that I'm your mother? Why won't you call me 'mama' as I asked you to? I took you out for ice cream, didn't I? I told you I'll give you everything you want, didn't I? And yet, here you are, crying for your father. Like a weakling!"

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"That's enough!" Sam's angry voice shook Faye and Martin.

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Getty Images

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Getty Images

"The only reason I stood quietly for the last few minutes was to let you have closure with your son. I know why you're really here. But I thought once you see him, hold him, you will realize what a beautiful boy you gave birth to.

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"But no, all you wanted was for him to magically accept you as his mother. So you could force me to give you the money you've been hounding me for. Or else, what? You'll threaten to take him away?"

Faye began to form her words to explain but knew that Sam was right.

"You do not deserve this child's presence around you, much less his love or acceptance. And you are not getting a cent out of me. We owe you nothing. Now leave!"

As Faye stood up and turned to leave, she knew she had lost her son forever. Not the money, not the dream business she needed — she was walking away from her only child, whom she carried for 9 beautiful months.

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For illustration purposes only. | Source: Getty Images

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Getty Images

She took her final steps to her car, turning back only once to find Sam and Martin back in the kitchen, hugging each other like nothing else in the world mattered.

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"So, how about we get that ice cream, Martin?" Sam asked, wiping his tears.

"This is the best birthday ever!" Martin nodded and screamed.

What can we learn from this story?

  • Every child deserves love. Every child is innocent and curious. Every child needs their parents' affection to navigate through life. Sam devoted his life to making Martin feel abundant.
  • Family is nothing if not a place for unconditional love. It is one of the most fulfilling human experiences. Faye did not realize that disowning Martin robbed her of having a loving, caring family.

Share this story with your friends. It might brighten their day and inspire them.

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If you enjoyed this story, you might like this one about a single dad who adopts a child with Down syndrome. Years later, he gets a call from a lawyer that changes his life.

This piece is inspired by stories from the everyday lives of our readers and written by a professional writer. Any resemblance to actual names or locations is purely coincidental. All images are for illustration purposes only. Share your story with us; maybe it will change someone's life. If you would like to share your story, please send it to info@amomama.com.

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