7. Mother's DayA Chapter by Craig2591
Chrissy tries to adjust to parenthood.
Chrissy enjoyed the peace and quiet she got from getting up early on the weekend while Ian and Emily slept in. She sat at the kitchen table with her laptop and munched on a bagel as she sipped coffee and perused the news sites with no interruptions. Her private time was becoming more precious to her, especially since she and Ian had taken Emily in with them.
It didn't last forever, though. Eventually, she looked up as she heard Emily's bare feet padding into the kitchen. The child sat down at the table with her. Chrissy noticed she was holding a piece of paper in her hand.
“Morning, Kid,” said Chrissy.
“Morning,” Emily answered with a yawn.
“Want some breakfast?”
“In a minute.”
Chrissy went back to her surfing.
After a couple of minutes, Emily placed the paper on the table in
front of Chrissy. She looked a little embarrassed.
“What's this?” asked Chrissy. It was a full sheet of paper folded in half. Chrissy's name was written on the outside in large, fancy letters with colored pencil.
“Open it,” answered Emily.
Chrissy unfolded it and looked inside. “A Mother's Day card?” she asked with genuine surprise, “For me?!”
Emily shrugged. “You're my foster mother. Doesn't that count?”
“Well... I suppose,” she answered
hesitantly, “I don't think there's any rule against it. Thanks,
Squirt. It's real pretty!”
Emily smiled and got up to fix herself a bowl of cereal. Chrissy watched her thoughtfully. She was really touched by Emily's card. The whole foster mother thing had been depressing her more and more. Ian had been right! It was a lot more work and a lot less fun than she thought it was going to be. He told her it would change her relationship with Emily and it had. She went from being the kid's 'big sister' to her being her boss - enforcing bedtimes, homework requirements, junk food restrictions and so on. She fought with Emily often about those and other things. Ian seemed to be taking it all in stride since he had already raised a daughter. But it was all new to Chrissy! She felt a distance forming between her and Emily and it bothered and depressed her.
Emily sat down with her bowl of cereal and started eating. Chrissy had an idea.
“You know,” she said, “every year on Mother's Day I get some flowers and go visit my mom's grave.”
Emily nodded. “Oh.”
“Maybe we could take some flowers to your mom's grave, too.”
Emily's eyes grew wide. “Could we?!”
“Do you know where she's buried?”
Emily nodded excitedly. “Mom and Dad are in that cemetery over by the college,” she said.
“Alright. We'll go after breakfast.”
“What about Ian?” Emily asked.
“His mom's buried in another state and too far to visit,” Chrissy answered.
After breakfast they got into the car and drove to the supermarket. Chrissy bought them each a small bouquet of flowers. Next she drove them to the cemetery where her mother was buried. They got out of the car and walked up to the headstone.
When Emily saw only one stone, she
asked, “Is your father still alive?”
“I don't know,” Chrissy answered, “I never knew my dad. He ran out on us when I was a baby.”
“You never had a father?!”
Chrissy laid her flowers on the grave and then stood, silently looking down. Emily sensed that she wanted some quiet and said nothing for a while.
Chrissy didn't hold much belief in an afterlife. Nevertheless, she always talked to her mother whenever she visited her grave. She spoke quietly in her head... Hi, Mom. I know it's been a while, but I've been busy. And this time I really have been busy! See, this is Emily. And get a load of this... I'm her foster mother! Isn't that a hoot? Me taking care of a kid?! I always said I would never have any kids. I never realized how hard taking care of a kid was! I don't know if I'm cut out for it, Mom. It sure makes me appreciate you. And it makes me really sorry for all the grief I gave you growing up. I'd be happy to be even half the mother you were.
I wish you could see me, now. You'd be proud of me. I've been clean for over seven years now! And I've got a new job - a real good one. And Ian and I are still together. He didn't turn into an a*****e like all the others. I've still got the motorcycle, though. I know how much you always hated it. Ian hates it, too. But I'm not giving it up! It's part of me.
Well... I have to go. I promised Emily I'd take her to see her mom's grave. I miss you, Mom.
Chrissy looked over at Emily, who looked up at her expectantly. “Come on, Squirt,” she said, “Let's go find your mom.”
They got into the car and drove to the cemetery where Emily's parents were buried. Emily couldn't remember exactly where their grave was. She had only been there twice before. After a bit of a search, they finally found it. As they approached the grave site, Chrissy hesitated. Emily stopped and looked back at her.
“Aren't you coming?” she asked.
“I thought... maybe... you might want to be alone,” replied Chrissy.
“It's okay. You can come with me,” said Emily.
Chrissy continued on with her. She felt strange and out of place visiting the grave of the parents of the kid she was taking care of. She could only imagine what they would think of her. A tattooed street punk like her watching over their only child. They were probably turning in their graves! She felt inadequate and ashamed.
She stood quietly
as Emily went up and put the flowers on the grave. After a long
moment of silence, Emily looked at Chrissy and they both turned and
headed for the car. Chrissy put her arm around Emily's shoulder and
the little girl leaned against her as they walked. Chrissy thought
about how much she missed her own mom and how much tougher it must be
on a little kid like Emily. She had never really given much thought
to how much Emily must miss her parents. More than ever, it made her
feel inadequate as a mother for her. She had been hoping this little
excursion might bring them closer together, but it was only
depressing her more.
“You must miss her a lot,” said Chrissy.
Emily nodded. “I pray to them all the time,” she said, almost in tears. “Do you think they hear me?”
“I'm not going to lie to you, Kid. I really don't know. But I don't see any harm in it.”
“Sometimes I want them back so bad it hurts,” she said. Then she gave Chrissy a look of concern. “But that doesn't mean I don't like you and Ian!” she added.
“That's okay,” Chrissy smiled slightly, “You should want them back. I'll never be able to replace your mom. But someone's got to watch after you, and Ian and I are glad to do it. We like you!”
“If they did come back, I'd still want you to be my friend,” said Emily.
“Thanks, Squirt. That means a lot to me.”
They got into the car, but Chrissy didn't start it right away. She turned to Emily and said, “It's almost lunchtime. What do you say we go get some pizza. Then you can tell me all about your mom and I can tell you about mine.”
Emily smiled and nodded. “Do you think they know each other in Heaven?” she asked.
Chrissy shook her head. “I don't know. Wouldn't that be a hoot?!”
They drove to the pizza parlor in silence. Not for the first time Chrissy wondered if it had been a mistake to become Emily's foster mother. She must have been insane to think that she could be a good parent for Emily. A kid like Emily needed a mom that would bake cookies and sew doll clothes and kiss her hurts away, not some street-wise, motorcycle driving former drug addict like herself. Lately, she had even entertained the idea of going to see Emily's case-worker, Ms. Lopez, about finding Emily a better home somewhere else. Ian would be furious if she did! She was the one who talked him into taking Emily in in the first place. Now, every time she told him about her self doubts, he told her that she was just being silly. He assured her she was doing a fine job as Emily's foster mother. Good old happy and optimistic Ian! She loved him, but sometimes he could be so clueless!
She pulled the car into the pizza parlor parking lot and parked it. She unfastened her seat belt, but before she could open her door, Emily held up a red carnation toward her.
“Uh-oh,” said Chrissy, “Did that fall out of your mom's bouquet?”
Emily shook her head. “I took it out and saved it for you. I thought you should get a flower for Mother's Day, too.”
Chrissy took the flower from her and looked at it.
“I'm really glad they let you be my foster mother,” Emily continued.
Emily nodded. “I don't feel scared anymore.”
“Scared? Scared of what?” Chrissy furrowed her brow.
“Ever since Mom and Dad died I've been scared 'cause I didn't know what was going to happen to me. But I don't feel that way since I moved in with you and Ian. It's like everything's going to be okay now, 'cause you guys really want me! You didn't take me in just to be nice, like the others.”
And there it was! Chrissy stared at her dumbfounded, thinking about what she had just said. Maybe mothering wasn't about baking cookies and singing lullabies and kissing boo-boos after all. Maybe it was about just making the kid feel wanted! Chrissy looked away out of her window. A lump formed in her throat. Could it really be that simple?! Why not?! At the heart of it, isn't that really all every kid needed... to just feel wanted? She swallowed it down.
“Did I say something wrong?” Emily asked in a worried voice.
Chrissy turned back to her. “No!” she said abruptly. Then her face softened and she gave Emily a faint smile. “You're right about one thing, Kid,” she said, “You don't have to be scared anymore. Just let someone try to take you away from me!” She reached out and tousled her hair a little. “Now, let's go get that pizza. I'm starved!”
© 2013 Craig2591
And Emily Makes Three
AboutI am a visual artist with no formal training in creative writing. I get stories knocking around my head and sometimes I write them down. I decided to join this site to share them with other writers .. more..
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