Twin Beeches -- an Illinois Love Story
Author: paul schoaff

Chapter 13
Facing Facts, 'Fessing up, and Moving On (What was I thinking?)

(all MJ)

Mama's philosophy of child rearing:  Give them one mistake and give them a chance to get back on the straight and narrow before removing your physical support, even if they are 17 going on 18.  Never, never stop loving them.  Maybe she also thought, “God only gave me one child.  I don't have a backup reserve child.  I better not stop loving this one.”

 

We stayed up late after graduation; My womb carried a fetus, so we discussed all my options.  I couldn't blame this on Larry, even though Mama didn't know any differently yet.  I had to keep her from calling Larry to have him come over, which meant I had to tell her the whole story.  Not only about fooling around with my long-time boyfriend, which she had expected would happen and reluctantly accepted, but I had gotten drunk and let another boy -- somehow, I managed not to tell Mama who the other boy was, and Buddy must have been too drunk to remember for sure, I hoped, even drunker than me, maybe  -- just take me, and I had enjoyed every second of it.  Shocked?  Not a strong enough word.  There isn't a word in the dictionary describing the pain my admission caused her.  She threw up, vigorously, making me physically ill, and we took turns losing our post-graduation buffet into the nearest sink and toilet bowl. 

 

When our stomachs finally felt a little better, she spoke slowly, quietly, and deliberately, saying “I know I would love to make this decision for you.  I know what my decision would be, given the circumstances.  I don't know of anyone who would really blame you for having the fetus aborted.”  She worked hard at being controlled -- so controlled, I knew she wanted to slap me silly, and I believe I wished she would, but she didn't. couldn't.

 

 “But”, she said, “no one can make a decision about abortion for another person, not even a daughter.  You have to decide.  You -- and no one else.  Just you.  I beg you to make your decision in the next two weeks.  If you decide to keep the baby, I'll have to make a lot of changes so you can still go to school, and I won't let you not go – I won't see my daughter become 'just a mother' when you have so much more you can accomplish.  I want you to know, for sure, you should make your decision knowing I will do everything in the world to help you raise your baby, if you want it.  And, I also want you to know, if you don't, I will never mention it again to you, I'll never throw it up to you and tell you you did anything evil or wrong.  Either way, I'm here for you.”  She walked out of the bathroom into her room and closed the door.  I heard her crying and pounding her bed pillows through the thin wall.

 

Her words were those every pregnant teenager may have hoped to hear, and it came from a woman who had never taken a boyfriend while I was growing up, so I would never feel the least bit alienated from her.  I suddenly realized what real Love was, and I knew I hadn’t had a clue before that moment.

 

I still took the full two weeks.  In the end, the decision was easy.  Mama grew up as an only child.  I grew as an only child.  Maybe I would never have another chance to be a mother.  Things happen.   And with Mama's assurances of help, no matter what, my decision became obvious.

 

“Mama, I'm going to have the baby.  I want to keep it, too.”

 

“I thought you would do the right thing.”

 

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