A Son's Love, A Mother's Resilience

Jonathan Tan Shao En, Age 19

Lucy is the loving mother & sole caretaker of Jonathan Tan Shao En, a 17-year old robotic whiz-kid and soccer enthusiast.  

 Lucy and ex-husband separated shortly after Jonathan was born. She has since faced the struggles of motherhood alone, working part-time shift jobs to get them by. “I had a difficult time,” she sighs. “Luckily, [at that time] I had my family members to come in and help me look after [Jonathan] while I went to work.” 

 Added to this burden was the discovery that her son suffers from Sleep Apnea - a condition that causes his blood oxygen levels to drop drastically. “When Jonathan was in Primary 3, his teacher would always call me to tell me that he falls asleep in class.” Jonathan has since depended on a CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) machine to help improve his attention at class. He is now a top performer in school, scoring the highest in Home Economics and placing 3rd at a regional science competition.  

 “[The CPAP] is a small machine,” Lucy elaborates, “It allows him to breathe in…” She pauses, musing over the the right words to articulate his case.  

 “Extra oxygen,” Jonathan quips in, helpfully.  

Quiet but thoughtful, Jonathan is one whose actions speak much louder than words. Lucy fondly recalls an incident where she had gone for an operation, two years back. “I never expected Jonathan to wait for me outside the operation ward! He came down straight from school - I didn’t call him. He took the effort. I was very surprised, very touched,” she smiles, eyes brimmed with tears.  

 Mother and son share a strong and tender bond, though tenuous at times. She laments of an incident where her son had run away from home, leaving her deeply upset and stressed. “For Jonathan, I know he’s not easy to bring up - I have to be more patient. It’s hard for me also.” Listening to music or doing cross stitch have become welcome outlets for her to manage stress. If all else fails, Lucy knows that she can also readily depend her their Club Rainbow social worker, Grace, to lend a listening ear.  

 Motherhood is nevertheless a gift she has embraced wholeheartedly in spite of its difficulties. “As a mom, I do my duty to take care of Jonathan; from the time he was small to when he grows older. Make sure Jonathan goes down the right path, not the wrong path.” She continues to lead him down the right path, rooting for his every achievement in school and ambitions to become a chef one day.  

With the encouragement of her son and Club Rainbow, Lucy has likewise found the strength to achieve her goals by pursuing English and Computer courses. “I decided to take these course becauses I went to Primary School only - now that I have the chance, why not?” She dreams of becoming an early childhood teacher in the future, and hopes to one day be able to volunteer at Club Rainbow’s events. 

Club Rainbow has enabled Lucy and Jonathan to fulfill their dreams in more ways than one. In addition to food rations, Lucy expresses her gratitude for the financial assistance they have received in the past. “When I was jobless, I called up our first social worker, Cynthia, for help. They were really helpful… They were always there for me.” Events organised such as an excursion to F1 and a short cruise present good opportunities for mother and son to bond, and play a part in the community. “When I graduate, I’d like to come back to volunteer at youth-based programs… I’d like to help people,” Jonathan shares.  

 For Lucy, Club Rainbow has truly made a difference to both their lives. “I would like to thank Club Rainbow through the years that they have been helping me and Jonathan… I’m very happy to know Club Rainbow.”