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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Hot and Cold (04/09/09)

TITLE: Extreme Emotions
By Beckie Stewart


“When are your mom and stepfather coming?” George asked.

“Around eight,” Mary said.

“Isn’t that a little late for Nick to be up?” George asked as a bit of annoyance unmistakably seeped out.

“I know,” Mary answered. “What else was I supposed to do?”

“Tell them to forget it and let them give Nick his presents tomorrow when we come for Christmas.”

“No!” Mary shrieked as tears unexpectedly welled up in her eyes. “I won’t have my son ripped off on his birthday like me.”

Mary stormed toward her bedroom and plopped onto the bed. Despite the fact that her birthday came three days after Christmas, it made no difference to her mother. As far back as Mary remembered she found her birthday gift sitting under the tree amidst her other gifts.

Mary determined to keep Nick’s birthday separated from Christmas. She wanted him to always feel his birth was special to her.

Annoyed with her husband’s insensitivity regarding this issue, she brooded for some time. Finally she decided to release her feelings openly to the Lord. As she did, her anger and pain subsided.

With a renewed strength and kindness in her heart, she returned to the living room where she heard the giggles of her son. Nick’s stomach and chest rested on her husband’s right arm as airplane noises emitted from her husband’s mouth. She watched in silence and reveled in the man and son she adored.

Suddenly George caught a glimpse of her and veered Nick toward her.

“Give mommy a big kiss and tell her that daddy was a bonehead,” George said.

Mary leaned in and gave Nick a kiss on the nose. “Tell your silly daddy that all is forgiven.” Nick just laughed with glee.

Mary kissed her husband and prepared for her son’s birthday celebration. She placed his birthday cake on the table and put a number one candle in the center.

A little after eight, her parents arrived. With trepidation, Mary opened the door and greeted them. Her mother entered with a huge smile and hugged her daughter. She came in bearing several gifts and a mid-size brown paper bag.

“What’s in the bag, mom?” Mary asked.

“We’ve got to take care of this right away. They’re fish for George’s aquarium.”

Mary led her mother to the tank and watched as she took out three plastic bags that held over a dozen fish.

“Wow, that’s a lot of fish,” Mary exclaimed.

Mary’s mother looked around, put her arm around Mary, and whispered, “Don’t tell Floyd, but I spent more then he knows on these fish. I just love you all so much and wanted to get them for George.”

Completely taken back by her words and actions, Mary realized that for the first time she actually believed her mother loved her. For the next hour she received multiple embraces from her. She took pictures of Nick as if she had never seen her grandson before. Mary lost count of the times she verbalized her love as well.

For the first time Mary felt encouraged about the possibility of a closer relationship with her mother. She slept that night with a new sense of hope.

The following day, Mary found herself anxious to spend some of Christmas with her mother. After a special breakfast and their own gift exchange, Mary and her family headed across town.

Mary rushed in and expected to be greeted with open arms. Instead she embraced her mother first, and with it immediately sensed tension. She noticed her mother took no pictures or physically reached out to her at all. In fact as before she expressed no love at all that day.

It proved to be an excruciating visit. Finally, unable to endure it anymore, Mary gathered up her family and left. As soon as they got in the car, the tears flowed uncontrollably. Between her sobs, she pleaded with her husband for some kind of understanding.

“George, what did I do? Why was my mother affectionate and loving with me yesterday and back to her uncaring, callous self again today?”

George placed his arms around his wife’s shoulder.

“Honey, I’m so sorry. I guess you didn’t realize she was drunk last night, did you?”

Mary cried. Alcohol had always been a part of her growing up years, but she never saw it affect her mother in that way before. It confirmed once again Mary’s desire to portray a steady love to her family.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Lyn Churchyard04/16/09
An excellent choice for the topic, but how sad that your MC's mother was unable to express her love except through a cloud of alcohol. Well done, good job.
Rachel Stone04/17/09
I thought this piece was quite powerful and would relate to many people.
Laury Hubrich 04/18/09
I especially like the extreme love the young mom pours out on her family in spite of her own childhood years. You showed very good extremes in this piece and it is very sad.
Connie Dixon04/18/09
Wow, I didn't see that coming. Alcoholism is such a bummer, and such a "wrecker" of lives and relationships. You covered this story and the topic well.
Verna Cole Mitchell 04/22/09
What a sad picture your presented. I was so glad that the mc had an understanding, caring husband.
Joshua Janoski04/22/09
Your story reminds us all of the sad truth regarding alcoholism and the hurt that an unloving parent can cause to a child. Thank you for sharing this.