Amelia sat in her rocking chair on the porch on sunny Saturday afternoon in late Fall, her knitting needles clicking in a soft, steady rhythm while she worked on an afghan that would be for her first great-grandchild due early next Spring. Her two grown granddaughters sat in cushioned wicker chairs across from her, sipping tall glasses of lemonade as they visited about weddings, babies, new houses, and all the good things that come with this stage of life. Jana, the older one, was pregnant with the little boy that would be wrapped in the beautiful afghan Amelia was knitting. Ann Marie, Jana's younger sister, was planning a Christmas wedding with all the fancy trimmings. She was engaged to a military man who would be home on leave just long enough for the wedding and a brief honeymoon before heading back to his duty station overseas.
Amelia smiled as she listened to their happy chatter, thinking back some forty years to the beginning of her own little family. She had married Jack straight out of high school and their first daughter had arrived just six months later. She had known Jack since Jr. High and had been captivated by his charm since the beginning. While here parents were none too thrilled about her getting pregnant, Jack assured them that he was going to get a job and take good care of Amelia and the baby. He started working at a hardware store, and before long he was promoted to assistant manager. They moved into a little rent-to-own house and it looked like life was going pretty good until Jack started hanging out with some of his coworkers at night, drinking a few beers before heading home to a cold supper and a wife in tears. He knew it wasn't right, but it was hard being young and tied down to family responsibilities when his friends weren't. Guilt fed his behavior and he drank more to keep it at bay.
It wasn't long before fighting was a regular part of Amelia and Jack's relationship. One thing led to another, and one night he stayed out way late and came home smelling of perfume instead of the usual beer and cigarette smoke from the bar. Amelia confronted him, and Jack admitted that he'd met someone new. He told her that he wanted to end their marriage and go live where life wasn't always going to be "dragging him down". Amelia cried as he packed his things and tossed them in the back of his pick up truck. She held little Lizzie close as Jack mumbled something about being sorry and walked out the door without ever looking back. She didn't tell him that she'd bought one of those test kits from the drugstore the week before and another baby was on the way. She'd been waiting to surprise him on his birthday that weekend. She guessed the surprise was on her now, but she wasn't going to let that lessen her love for this new life growing inside her.
Amelia was determined to make a good life for her and the children. She got a job at a bakery, and took night classes at the college to become a nurse. Little by little she built herself up from nothing, making sure that the kids were her first priority, and attending every school event and church activity they took part in, even if it meant starting her hospital work shift with very little sleep at all. Her dedication had paid off well in the end; both Lizzie and her brother Jordan did well in school and went on to college just as she had always dreamed they would do.
For just a few moments, Amelia thought of the struggles she endured all those years - the hard times with Jack, the lonely times without him, the extra shifts to make ends meet and put enough food on the table to keep two growing kids from going hungry. Her children had no idea how tough it had been, being father and mother and worrying all alone about sickness and bills, and how to keep them safe and on the right track. Then came the night that two policemen showed up at her door, hats in hand and staring down at their feet, telling her that Jordan had been killed in a shoot out involving some people who'd been selling him drugs. Oh Lord, those were painful times. She missed that boy more than anyone could ever imagine...
Suddenly she was brought back to the present by Jana's voice asking, "What's it like, Grandma, being a mother and knowing that the lives of your babies depend totally on you, and even if you're the best mom in the world, there's no promise that it will all turn out good in the end?"
Amelia smiled, knowing that her granddaughters would love their babies just as much as she had, and would do everything in their power to protect them and raise them right. "All I can tell you is that it darn sure isn't easy," she said wistfully, "but there isn't going to one moment of it that you would trade for anything. In a heartbeat I'd do it all again. That's what love is, girls, that's what love is."~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~
This post was written for Two Shoes Tuesday
where the prompt choices this week are easy and wind...
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