I thought I’d killed her! She ran off screaming – tangled, mud splattered hair; arms flung wide, begging ‘Help! Someone save me.’
Like the dog I once ran over; it howled and limped precariously into a corner before collapsing and giving up the ghost. I thought she’d do the same. Run behind the ice cream van and gurgle a final breath with arms and legs splayed at odd angles.
Instead she turned briefly, long enough for me to see my finger marks across her cheek, and yelled a choice expletive in my direction. I was gobsmacked!
Ok - so I lost my bottle; but oh … that little prima donna! And yes, I slapped her, because you could back then. But it was a very controlled slap; enough to stop her whining but not quite enough to vent my spleen. So I gave her another to even things out. And that’s when she cockled over.
When my sister saw what I’d done to her unruly pre-teen daughter she laughed: “You been making mud pies or something?”
My niece shot me a vengeful glare before stamping upstairs to her room. The parting two fingered gesture behind her mother’s back disturbed me. ‘Little Meg’ was morphing into ‘Monster Meg’ at a frightening pace.
Four years passed before I next saw Meg. She was in the Maternity Suite. Her vindictive absence had not only hurt me but caused a dreadful family rift. She told her mom that I’d poked my nose into her business, before slapping her so hard that she hit the ground; and apparently, all because she didn’t share my opinion.
My sister, a gullible woman was not street wise. She’d given birth to Meg at the tender age of 16 after falling for the first boy who told her how cute she was. I could see my sister in that undisciplined child’s eyes. I sensed that history would repeat itself. Now here she was aged 15, nursing a new born baby in her arms.
What to do? I tentatively stooped to kiss her cheek. She didn’t respond but neither did she resist. Her baby was feeding at the breast.
“She’s a cutie.” I told her. “She’s just like you.”
“I’m no cutie now am I?” She glanced up at me. I didn’t pursue the line of conversation. It could only head in one direction. I settled for baby talk.
The nurse popped her head around the door: “Everything ok honey?”
“Yes thank you.” Meg answered politely. She didn’t look up.
“The social worker rang,” she continued. “She’ll be here about three.” Meg tensed as she pulled her baby closer.
“So where’s mom today?” I asked.
“Dunno.” She shrugged. I pondered for a moment: “You’ve had a fight with her. Right?” She nodded. “And she hasn’t seen her granddaughter?” Meg’s eyes filled with tears.
History has a nasty habit of repeating itself! The question had to be asked: “Meg, does mom want you to give your baby up?” She didn’t need to answer.
Time for some home truths!
I drove straight round to the house. My sister was sitting in her house-coat smoking a cigarette:
“You’re not welcome here.” She said listlessly.
“I know that.” I told her, “But I’m staying.”
“S’pose you’ve come to gloat - say I told you so?”
“Wrong. I’ve come to ask what you’re playing at.” She lit a cigarette from the one she’d just smoked. “Did our mom abandon you when you needed her? Did I, your big sister?” She turned sheepishly to meet my eyes: “No!” I ranted on. “We all pulled together to get you through. That’s what caring families do.” I stomped off leaving her to ruminate on the past – lest she forgot.
Two days later the car pulled up. I watched my family walk up the path; Meg cautiously carrying her new daughter with mom by her side. And I wondered … When would the right time be? How would my kid sister re-act? God had laid the deception on my heart. One day, she must be told the truth.
I opened the door wide and welcomed each one of them with a family sized hug full of love. A gentle one for my great, great grandbaby; a forgiving one for my granddaughter Meg. And a huge weepy - waily one for her mom - my daughter!
As I say … History has a habit of repeating itself!
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