Saturday, November 12, 2005


"Pride and Joy"

Where and how do I even begin to describe Becky?  The first grandchild on both sides; highly anticipated; no name til we left the hospital because the ex couldn't agree on anything.  I wanted to call her Rebecca, not Becky....that lasted five minutes.

Rebecca the beautiful....that she was.  I had her in the biggest "baby" hospital in Pgh.  I was there for 3 days.  The word spread about the most gorgeous newborn and people were coming to look at her out of curiosity.  Blonde and beautiful.  She continues to stop traffic but is oblivious to it all.

She would grow up to be my toughest adversary.  I didn't realize that for a long time. 

She was brilliant and bright from the get go.  No silly toys for this one.  She mastered adult jigsaw puzzles at two.  Was reading at 3 and counting change.  She loved to draw but hated to read.  She could read; just hated it.  She was my mother-in-law's favorite.  My mother and Becky clashed continuously.  I couldn't understand it at all. 

I don't think I realized that Becky and I traveled in totally different universes until she was close to puberty.  Puberty was total hell for the two of us.  She had a potty mouth.

She kept everything tucked away inside for her own consumption and shared very little.  She was so serious.  She threw herself into studying and succeeded beyond what I could have ever imagined.

And, when I realized that her inner pain was driving her to succeed, it hit me like a ton of bricks.  How could I have let my two oldest children live in hell and be so clueless?

Becky was applying for colleges and was struggling with the essays she had to write.  Her mind thinks scientifically.  Writing has never been her greatest asset.  She came flying down the steps in our old house waving her essay wildly asking me to proof read it.  She was so proud that she had accomplished it.  Her dad had been out of the house for a year and peace pervaded our valley.

What I read stopped my heart....literally.  It was a brilliant piece of writing.  She had opened her heart, for once, and let it out.  What she let out made me so ashamed of myself; it still does.  She had to write an essay of what drove her to succeed.  What drove her?  The literal fear of her alcoholic father's rages and the need to succeed so that she never ended up in a situation that she had been born into.  I still have that essay tucked away somewhere.  I don't blame myself for her father's actions; only my fear and inability to take the steps to remove those kids from that hell for so long.

She got full scholarships to many colleges.  She finished her pre-med degree in four years with a 3.9 QPA.  She is working in genetics research at Pitt pursuing a Ph.d in infectious disease.  And she is finally finding inner peace and happiness.  She also calls me at least once a day just to far we have come.  My independent one has gone full circle, and we are now friends. 

Yes, we have struggled.  My two youngest vie for the #1 position in my heart and totally discount the fact that Becky is right there with them.  Yep, Becky and I are as different as night and day.  I love her for that.  She doesn't need to be like me.  My mother and I have only recently scaled our mountain of differences.  It took 50 years.  My mother could never accept the fact that my mind traveled in a different universe than hers.  I refuse to try to mold my children into a duplicate of me.

So, my beautiful's to your beauty and are my different child but you are finally happy with yourself.  I apologize for the fact that I added such difficulty to your life when you deserved so much more.

We've traveled past all that, and we are both better people for it...............Love you, also make my heart swell with such pride and joy and emotion.  Don't let anyone try to tell you otherwise.


pennietoonz said...

Oh Chris, this one brought tears to my eyes. Bless you for accepting your children as their own individuals. I`m happy for you, that you and Rebecca are friends.

sherilynjaz said...

Your story was like a trip down memory lane for me.   My mom and I are also as different as night and day but now hardly a day goes by that I don't talk to her on the phone.  

kdcutie26 said...

My ex friend Kevin's mom has the same problem with wheat chris.  i had never heard of it before her, and now i learn more about it through you.  Rebecca sounds just fabulous and I can only imagine how wonderful a mother you are to her.  Thanks for being my friend...
Katie Jane