Beanery Online Literary Magazine

May 11, 2008

MOTHER-NEWBORN DAUGHTER STRUGGLE

—written by Jane

My little girl, she struggled so. Her tiny form, on a flat bed with lights glaring, had more wires and tubes than there was a child. Her skin was so thin that it was translucent.

I started weeping the first time I saw her. I was sewn together like a chopped up rag doll and wracked with coughing. My little fighter, my daughter, you do your part and I will do mine. “If God dares to take another one from me He will know what wrath is!” I thought.

Like cement, this set the fight in me.

I fought too, as hard as she did, this little thing, looking so much like something born of the hospital. I fought because deep inside somewhere I knew she was mine. For 88 days I watched God out of the corner of my eye…He wouldn’t dare. We were sent trials, those people that looked at her. “Poor little thing!” they said. To me “I don’t know how you do it.” The pity was laughable. For what? We were fighters, we never gave up and we fought together.

For 88 days I made the trip to be with her. When others took a day off I went. I could no more miss the time with her than I could miss breathing. And with my breath she grew and fought and became strong. She endured holes and punctures that scarred her. I carry those scars in my heart and soul. When her mouth was obstructed with tubing and equipment and tape I cried for her. My thumb smoothed her wrinkled brow. Her hand, the size of one of my finger joints curled around my pinky. Unified, we continued the fight together.

Home now, and a little older, she still fought with the world. She hated anything touching her but I wrapped my arms around her and calmed her anyway. She would scream and pull her hair from her head. Everything was a cry of frustration. “Don’t come near me.” Somewhere inside all this pain was my daughter, and she knew that I knew it.

Another battle raged then. I worked with her. She began to try hard to catch up, and I worked with her. When there were speech problems we worked on them. “You’re mean to her.” I was told when I expected anything from her. And they thought of her, and called her, “Poor Little Thing.”

By three she knew all her ABC’s and could sing Mr. Mestopheles. Starting school she already knew how to read. She was awarded membership in the National Junior Honor Society. She knew how to be charming and gracious and had a witty sense of humor. She was beautiful. When I look in her eyes I have never seen such beauty.

This is not the end of the story, but it is where I choose to end it. Seeing her that way, and not knowing what was to come, that she would be turned against me. Because I never gave up the fight.

For additional Mother’s Day reading, click on:

IF MY MOM WERE…

JOCHEBED & LUCY: STORIES OF ADOPTION AND MOTHER’S LOVE

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