“Michael, please leave us alone for a few minutes. Maybe you could take that last box of my things out and put them in my car trunk,” said Adelaide in a calm, quiet voice. Michael looked at Addie; she nodded her head. He picked up the indicated crate and walked out to the car.
“Felicia, sit down. We need to talk.” Taken aback by her mother’s calm tone, Felicia did as she was told. “Did you ever wonder, growing up, why your mother was older than most of your friends mothers? Truth is, I had 3 miscarriages before I had you—and then you were born 4 weeks premature. Back then, without all the neo-natal equipment and knowledge they have today, that was pretty risky business. Your father and I were both thrilled and terrified that we had you. You were a miracle baby; you survived and thrived against some pretty tough odds.”
“When the doctor told us we would be unable to have any more children, you became even more precious to us, and we spoiled you. We showered you with love and gave you everything you wanted, because we were so grateful that you were ours. In retrospect, I now know that wasn’t the path we should have taken; a spoiled child becomes a selfish, self-centered adult.”
“Mom, I didn’t know you had three miscarriages. That must have been awful. Why didn’t you ever tell me?” asked Felicia.
“Because I didn’t want you to worry about having kids of your own. You have no idea how relieved I was when you and Jordan had Betsy with no difficulty.”
“So why are you telling me now?” snapped Felicia, her moment of vulnerability past. “What’s that have to do with anything?”
Adelaide paused and reached for her daughter’s hand. “I guess because I wanted to let you know I feel partially to blame for your attitude. We were so busy trying to make sure you were happy that we didn’t prepare you properly for life. We fostered your selfishness and your feelings of entitlement. We didn’t teach you responsibility, and we hardly, if ever, said ‘no’ to you. As a result, you weren’t equipped to have a successful, loving relationship and a happy life.”
Momentarily stung by her mother’s words, Felicia reacted by tearing her hand away and jumping to her feet. Addie quickly rose and took her daughter’s arm. “I want to help you become a happy and independent woman.”
“By abandoning me and running off with some old perv you met in the hospital?” responded Felicia.
“Michael is not an ‘old perv.’ He’s a kind, thoughtful, funny man that I really am enjoying getting to know. I’ve been lonely since your Dad died, and it’s time I find some happiness again. I don’t know if it will be with Michael, but I do know I want to give that relationship a chance and see where it goes.”
“Oh, I’ll bet I know just where it’s going,” growled Felicia. “You’re going to shack up with some stranger you’ve known for a week or two!”
“It’s not like that, Felicia. I will be staying at his house, but in my own bedroom with my own private bath. Dr. Wilson was against my coming back here because of the laundry room being down in the basement, and the bathroom being upstairs. He said I shouldn’t be climbing stairs much for a while. Also, he didn’t want me to be picking up Betsy for a few weeks, and well, he didn’t want me arguing with you.”
When there was no response other than a scowl from Felicia, Addie continued. “I’m going to pay the rent on this place for six months; also, I want you to go to Riverside Community Health Center and sign up for some counseling. I will pay for your sessions at first. You’ll need to find a job and make daycare arrangements for Betsy. I really want you to find a way to be happy and independent.”
"No way! I'm not going to waste my time talking to some shrink! I'm not crazy, and I'm not going to do it. If you want to go play house, then you go ahead, but don't expect me to go Community Health like some nutcase," sputtered Felicia. "Not gonna' happen."
To be continued.