Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Bitter and Sweet (05/28/09)
By Linda Boulanger
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I picked her up, feeling her tiny nose against my cheek, soft yet firm, like nothing I had ever felt before. She nestled against me as I held her in my arms. I breathed deeply, the aroma of baby lotion, powder, and her distinctive scent filled my head. She smelled like him, her father….my husband.
I didn’t want to love her, vowed I would not the day he told me about her and that he wanted to bring her home. To our home! His child with another woman…brought into this world by a chance encounter and I was supposed to take her in and love her as my own. Preposterous! I had resolved to harden my heart toward her. Bitterness had tried to creep in.
I’d already made my peace with my husband…with an awful lot of help from God. I had come to terms with the fact that, perhaps, it had even been my obsession with the need for a baby that had driven him away for a time. It had been difficult enough but we’d gotten through it. And then he’d learned of this child, his child, to be given away without a care from her real mother. And now, here she was, so small, so helpless. She was soft within my arms, looking to me to take care of her, to show her a world where someone cared.
“God, how could you do this to me? How can I do for her what is needed when my heart is hurting so?” I’d been denied my own child in life. Years of trying had left me with nothing but a hardened heart, wounded pride, and a taste of bitterness in my mouth. The barren woman…..and now this child.
She began to fuss. I laid her back and she looked at me again. I was touched by the total lack of judgment in her eyes. She had no idea how tormented I was or that I had planned not to love her, only that she needed someone to take care of her and that I seemed to be doing a pretty good job at that very moment. Her own mother didn’t care, didn’t love her; had not even loved my husband as I did. I brushed the palm of my hand across the soft down that covered the top of her head. She liked it. Her eyes took on that dreamy look and I smiled. The realization of how much she needed me washed over me with great cleansing waves.
I leaned down and kissed her forehead. Her eyes fluttered, and then shut. I could feel her breath. Soft sweet whispers caressed my face as I rubbed her cheek with my own. In her sleep, she smiled. It was an angel’s smile. I couldn’t hate her. My bitterness faded away. She was the answer to my prayer for a child. And, with a sigh and a thank you, I resolved to be her mother, to be that someone, who would love her.
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