Chapter 12 – Second Thoughts

Suddenly Emily realized what she had done.  In a matter of minutes Christy would be walking through her door.  She had talked to Brian months ago to see how to go about going through the foster parent applications.  She didn’t realize just how long the process took.  She thought Brian was going to have a heart attack when she told him that she was going to ask specifically to become Christy Daniels foster mom.  When she asked him what was wrong he kind of brushed it off as shock that she wanted to become involved with children.  Although, looking back now, the conversation did seem kind of strange to her.

“Emily, I hope you know what you are getting into.  Becoming a foster parent is no guarantee that you will be a good mother.”

“What do you mean by that?  Not be a good mother.  Are you saying that because I gave a child away that I wouldn’t make a good mother?”

“No, that isn’t what I meant.  You will be a great mother.  It is just that this is so unexpected.  Are you sure that you want to become Christy’s foster mother?  What do you know about this child?  Have you spoken to the Child Welfare Officer in charge of her case?  Have you even thought of all the responsibilities that come with a child?”

“Well, it’s not like she is a baby.  She is getting old enough that she could take care of herself most of the time.  The only thing that I want to do is give her a good home that she won’t run away from.”

Then Brian looked like he had swallowed a fly.  He became agitated and very worried.  Emily thought that he was hiding something but she could not put her finger on it.  Brian had moved to Abilene about three years earlier and because she was one of the few people he knew there he had contacted her.  They had been dating on and off almost exclusively since then.  Maybe he didn’t want her to become involved with children at all because that would take time away from them.

“You just don’t want me to have a child in my life do you?  Do you think that will change things between us?  Do you think that a child will take time away from you?”

“No, that’s not it at all.  What kind of man do you think I am?  Do you think that I would be jealous of a child?  Oh Emily, I just can’t go into this right now.  You just need to consider carefully what you are doing and then make the right choices for you.”

“Well Brian, let me tell you something.  I have thought about it.  I have thought about little else for months.  I have known Christy for almost four years now.  I have seen her grow and bloom as an actress and as a young lady.  She has run away more times than can be counted.  She has been very unhappy in her life.  Her tragedies have done nothing but make her into a strong, stubborn, and resourceful little girl…”

“Yes, I have watched her too.  And you know that I love her also.  I have also watched you around her.  You become agitated, uncomfortable and very nervous when she is around.  And I know it is because she is the age of your daughter.  You can’t fool me.  You also can’t make her into the daughter you gave away.”

“Do you think I don’t know that?  Do you think I have not thought of that myself?  How do you think I came to this decision?  I’ll tell you.  I came to this decision because this child has always been a reminder of what could have been.  She has opened up a place in my heart that I locked away all those years ago.  You have watched me shut down emotionally.  You have watched me run and hide and basically lock out life.  Christy has changed that somehow.  She has made me see life through different eyes.  I have made the right decision.  Not because I want her to take someone’s place but because I want her to take her place in my life.”

“Okay Emily, I will stand by you and your decision.  But you have to promise me that no matter how things turn out with Christy you will never go back to that person hiding behind the smiling exterior.  You have to promise me that you will go on in the land of the living.”

Brian had left then and now a week later here she sits.  Waiting.  Brian had gone to the Child Welfare office and was picking Christy up.  She didn’t know what they told her but Emily had asked them not to tell Christy that she was the one becoming her foster mother.  There were just things that she wanted to keep a surprise.  In fact Brian had said that if she would like they could make a game of it; but only if Christy agreed.

Emily only knew that if Christy walked through her door blindfolded then she went along with the game and did not know where she was.  So Emily sat and waited.  It seemed like she had been waiting for days when she heard the car drive up, stop and two doors slam shut.  This time she did not hesitate to run and look out the window.  She knew that if she saw Christy with a blindfold on things would work out great.

She wanted Christy’s first look at her new home to be one that she would always remember.  She also wanted to see the surprise in Christy’s eyes when she realized what was going on.  Then the relief was so great; Christy had not failed her.  She had that blindfold on and she was laughing at something Brian had said.

“Wait right there Christy so that I can come help you.”

Emily watched as Brian went around the car and took Christy’s arm.

“So, are we playing the blind leading the blind here or what?” Christy giggled.

“You guessed it, okay, we are coming to a couple of steps, there are five of them and I will count them out to you so you know when you are finished.  Okay, here we go.  One.”

“One” Christy repeated.

“Two.”

“Two.”

“Three.”

“Three.”

Emily was getting anxious, this was taking forever.  When they were almost to the top of the steps she ran over to the door and waited.

“Four.”

“Four.”

“And finally, five.”

“We made it.  See no stubbed toes or anything.”  Emily could hear Christy comment through the door.  Slowly Emily opened the door with her finger to her lips after Brian helped Christy ring the bell.  She did not want Brian to say anything to her.

After Christy had been taken to the living room she was placed in a chair.  Emily quietly walked behind her and removed the blindfold.  On the wall directly in front of Christy was a huge banner that read WELCOME HOME CHRISTY.  Below that was a mirror that let Christy see everything behind her and as their eyes met in the mirror Christy and Emily smiled.

“Well, what do you think?  Do you think that you could call this home?”

“Wow, it was you.  It thought that when Officer Worthington showed up that I was going to be put under arrest.”

“I had to keep it a secret.  I didn’t want to get your hopes up if my foster parent application was turned down; especially since I was asking specifically for you.”

“Well, you sure had me fooled.  Although I did remember seeing you a couple times with Mr. Douglas here.  I just did not put two and two together.  That was a great surprise.  Does Mrs. Thomas know?”

“I’m not sure.”  Emily looked at Brian for help with that question.  By the look on his face she could tell that the answer was no.

“Because, just before I left we had a little talk.  Do you know that she told me she loved me for the first and only time that I have been in that house?”

Emily was becoming extremely uncomfortable with the conversation.  She did not want Christy to have any type of problem with coming to stay with her.  She had hoped that there would not be any type of conflict on the first day.

“Do you want to give her a call?  I would understand if you wanted to let her know that you were okay and where you were.  In fact I would like for you to keep in touch with her if that is the way you feel.  However, I do want you to understand one thing.  I made this decision because I love you and want you to live with me.  My house is not going to become a revolving door.  You will not run away simply because you and I have a fight.  I will expect you to treat me with respect and you should expect the same from me.  I also expect you to treat Mr. and Mrs. Thomas with respect whenever you see them.”

“Man, your giving me the lecture already and I’ve only been in the house five minutes.”  Christy said with a mischievous grin.  “Okay, I can deal with that as long as when the time comes that I can find my birth mother I have your full support.  Also I want a guarantee that no matter how much of a brat I become you don’t make your house a revolving door either.”

Suddenly Brian started choking in the back ground.  When Emily rushed to help him she wondered just what had set him off.  He brushed her off with and “I’m okay” and then said that he had to go.  Then he rushed out of there like his pants were on fire.  Emily just did not know what to make of him anymore.  It seemed like the closer they became the more secrets there were between them.

Well, she would just have to think about that later.  Right now she had a new daughter to get settled.

“Come on.  Let’s go see your new room.  I hope you like it.  I redecorated the guest room in your favorite colors.”

“You redecorated it in purples and whites right?”  Christy asked enthusiastically.

“Just come see and tell me what you think about it.”

Emily watched as Christy saw the room again for the first time since she had run away.  She hoped that the room was a dream room for Christy.

“I love it!”  Christy exclaimed.  “Um, I brought my old pillow though.”

“Christy, this is your room.  You can use whatever pillow you want.  You can even do this…” and Emily went over to the bed and threw all the pillows on the floor.

“Could I redo some things in here?  I was not allowed to change anything at the Thomas’s house.”

“Sure, just tell me what you want to do and we can do it together; as long as what you want to do isn’t too expensive.  It took me a while to do this you know.”

“If you really don’t want me to change anything I won’t.”  Christy insisted.

“Christy, this is your home.  I was just saying that right now finances are a little tight.  I just need a ballpark figure so that I can plan a budget that’s all.”  Emily watched the emotions run across Christy’s face.  “So tell me what do you want to change?”

“Okay, it isn’t much because I really love the room.  I just want a little table over in that corner with a chair so I can sit and read or do homework a little more easily.  If you don’t want to put one in here I can always do the stuff on my bed.  I always did it that way at the Thomas’s house so it won’t hurt me to do it here.”

“And I thought I had thought of everything.  You are right; you do need something in here.  Come with me Christy, I have something even better than a table up in the attic.”

When Emily showed Christy the antique roll top desk that had been sitting in the attic for years she thought that Christy was going to jump through the roof.

“Will this do?”  She gestured at the desk.

“Will it do?  Not only will it do I think that I am going to have a heart attack.  Why are you being so nice to me?”

Emily had to think about that one.  She did not want to say the wrong thing.  So she finally told Christy what was on her heart.

“Christy this is the first day in a new home.  I have loved you for such a long time.  I want you to be happy here.  I don’t have any ulterior motives.  Being nice to you is not a bribe or anything to prevent you from running away.  I just want you to feel welcome here and to be comfortable living with me.  I hope that you will come to love me as much as I love you.  Until that time I just want you to be happy.  Now come on, let’s get out of this dusty old attic.  We can have Brian bring down the desk when he returns later.  What do you say that we go grab a quick bite to eat?”

With that Emily led her new foster daughter down the stairs and out the door she had entered not long before.

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