“You are doing what?” The matronly nurse in a starched white uniform blurted in exasperation and promptly blocked the doorway of the hospital room.
Lizzie, a young woman dressed in a plain navy dress and white crocheted sweater, gulped and tried to appear stronger than she felt. “I’d like to leave now… please.“ She must “escape” before the powers-that-be descended upon her to make decisions.
“Please bring my … baby.” The words didn’t sound right coming out of her mouth, but Lizzie stood firmly. The nurse, surmising the situation sighed and stomped down the hall toward the nursery.
Once they had followed hospital protocol and were settled into her nondescript white Ford Fairlane, Lizzie gave a sigh of her own and tears flowed. She reached over and caressed the baby girl, marveling at the tiny lips shaped like a rosebud, thinking oh, she’s so beautiful.
Lizzie sat in the parking lot for an hour or more, gathering her thoughts and calming her heart. She had known this moment would come. She must do this. Keeping an inexperienced eye on the sleeping baby and hoping to get to her destination before that little rosebud mouth awoke hungry, Lizzie drove the car with intent.
They had arrived. It was dark, but that was alright. Lizzie bundled the baby in a pink quilt adorned with angels that she’d brought for this very purpose, being sure to tuck a note inside the blanket. She’d written it the night before, choosing the words carefully and knowing this was the only legacy she’d give the child:
“Dearest baby girl, you were conceived in love. Please know that I am not giving you away. I am placing you where you can be loved wholeheartedly by someone whose greatest desire is to raise a child and they aren’t able to give birth.
You will always have a place in my heart. You are a child of God and my wish for you is to experience His abundant love, making your own life complete. Believe that all things are possible through Christ.
Your father is a good man, but I was not able to tell him about you. Please forgive me.
The truth will always set you free.
Know that you are loved.
P.S. I have named you Rose Mary.
Lizzie checked again to make sure the note was there and walked up the steps of a large brownstone building, standing in front of a massive oak door. Taking one last moment to nuzzle the baby and soak up the sweetness,she would cling to this moment many times in the years to come.
She laid the little girl carefully on the steps, rang the doorbell, and bolted behind a tree. Waiting to see if someone would answer promptly, Lizzie would not let herself cry. She must not. This could be the ultimate answer to everyone’s prayers. “Please God, let this work out for the best,” she whispered.
Quickly, the door opened and a nun picked up the baby. Almost sensing that someone must be watching, the nun gave a nod and smiled with kindness at the newborn. The Sister’s look of compassion gave Lizzie the courage she needed to move on.
She got in her car and headed east, back to her life that had been put on hold for the past several months, back to her life as Sister Mary Elizabeth, a nun who had fallen from grace just once and nobody knew, except for the handsome priest that departed from his parish for places unknown.
Several years later, twenty-two to be exact, Rose Mary walked across a large stage to accept her college diploma in nursing. She was graduating with honors and her family cheered. She waved at them enthusiastically. An only child and knowing she was adopted, Rose Mary felt very loved. Even her aunt, Sister Mary Elizabeth, was there. That hadn’t been easy, as Sister Mary was a missionary at an orphanage overseas, but the nun, her mom’s only sister, was adamant that she’d be there for the graduation.
As Rose Mary stepped down from the stage, she thought briefly about her birth mother. Her parents had given her a note written by her mother and its words often fell upon her. She picked up one of the crimson roses sitting in a vase by the steps and held it up to the sky. “The truth did set me free. Thank you. I love you.”
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