A young single mom is faced with a horrific situation in which the only thing that will save her newborn baby’s life might well kill him.
Every mother and father always say they would do anything for their child, run any risk to save their lives — but would they? How far would you go to save your baby?
And if what you needed to do was horrific, would you have the courage? Lily Senjic discovered the answers to all these questions that haunt parents all their lives when she was just 21.
Lily’s mom had always told her she’d have a bad end. Lily liked music and parties and short skirts and painting her nails bright pink, and for her mom, that was all sin. When Lily met handsome Wayne and he asked her out, her mother warned her, “That boy will bring you nothing but sin and damnation, and when he does, don’t come crying to me!”
Sure enough, two years later she was proved right. Lily held out the pregnancy test silently, and Wayne dashed it out of her hand. “You were supposed to be on the pill!” he screamed. “This is all your fault.”
“Wayne,” Lily said quietly, “I was so careful…”
“Not careful enough!” Wayne screamed. “But if you think I’m throwing away my future playing college ball for Penn State over some trailer trash slut with a bun in her oven, you’re mistaken!”
While Lily sat there bewildered, Wayne grabbed his jacket and walked out of her college dorm room, slamming the door. “Mama,” she whispered. “You were right about Wayne but wrong about so many other things.”
Lily lay her hand on her stomach and thought about the tiny seed stirring in her flesh, a seed that would one day blossom into a new person, a new miraculous beginning.
The next day Lily spoke to her advisor and was told that even though her scholarship would not be affected by her pregnancy, she couldn’t remain in the dorm after she gave birth.
What Lily needed was a job and an apartment. Thankfully, her English professor had an eccentric best-selling novelist friend who refused to write with anything but pencil on paper, so all his manuscripts had to be typed out.
Lily went to meet the writer and the two hit it off immediately. The man, Larry Allcot, was in his seventies and mad about cats, just like Lily. Lily was very upfront with him and admitted that she was three months pregnant.
“Oh,” the author said. “Does that means you can’t do the trilogy?”
“Trilogy?” gasped Lily.
“Yes, didn’t your prof tell you?” the author said. “It’s at least a two-year commitment.”
“That’s super!” cried Lily. At the rates Larry had quoted her, she would be able to rent a small apartment, eat, buy diapers, and pay a sitter for when she had to go to class. It was perfect.
When the time comes we are all capable of acts of great courage.
Three weeks later she found the apartment – a three-floor walk-up within walking distance of the campus. It was a studio apartment, and Lily could afford it (barely) so despite the run-down appearance of the building, she took it.
Lily moved in straight away and slept on the huge 60s style vivid orange couch — the apartment’s only piece of furniture. By the time her son Fred was born, the apartment looked quite different.
It was freshly painted and cozy, and friends had brought odds and ends which somehow went together and made a home. Only the huge, hideous sofa remained, still to be replaced.
Little Fed was a cute kid, he cried enough, slept enough, and pooed more than Lily thought was possible for such a small human being. Lily realized that despite it all, she was happy, she’d made it, she and her son were safe.
But that night, fate proved Lily wrong. Somewhere, somehow, a candle overturned, or a circuit sparked, or a mouse chewed through an electric cord… No one knows how it happened, but a fire started.
It was small at first, but it was ambitious and grew faster than a man could draw breath. Lily woke in the middle of the night disturbed by something, a sound, a smell — and realized that there were thin wisps of smoke sneaking in under her door.
Lily placed her hand flat against the door and drew it back with a cry. The door was red hot! That meant that if she’d opened it, the fire would have swarmed in greedily, devouring all their air.
Lily looked around. How could she get Fred out? She ran to the window and looked down. Three stories, but it might as well be as high as the Empire State building! That was when Lily caught sight of the ugly orange couch out of the corner of her eye.
If she could throw it out first… Lily dragged the huge and heavy couch over to the window and started to shove it out. She had to pray that it would land with the soft side up!.
The sofa fell, and Lily screamed in triumph when it settled right side up. She ran inside and strapped little Fred into his baby car seat then carried him over to the window.
The room was getting hotter and hotter, and Lily could see the carpet by the door start to smoke — it was now or never. Lily leaned as far out of the window as she could, stretched out her arms with Fred in his car seat in them, closed her eyes, and let go.
She stood rooted to the spot, her mouth dry as the little car seat fell, fell, fell, forever until it hit SPLAT right in the middle of that ugly, beautiful orange couch. Fred was safe!
Lily started feeling dizzy, so she knelt by the window with her head hanging out, keeping an eye on Fred and the orange couch. And that was how the firemen found her, unconscious, but still by that window.
The story of Lily’s brave act caught the imagination of the news feeds and social media. One of her friends started a GoFundMe page to raise money so she could rent a new apartment and buy another laptop she could use to continue working while she studied.
People loved the story of the brave young mom and her baby and gave generously, Lily found a nicer apartment and bought new furniture, but sitting in the middle of the new lounge is an old, ugly, indestructible orange couch from the 60s.
What can we learn from this story?
When the time comes we are all capable of acts of great courage. Lily knew she couldn’t get out, but she saved her son by taking a daring chance.
The kindness of our friends is our greatest treasure. Thanks to her friends and generous contributors, Lily started a new life.