Chapter 16 – Christy’s Dream Comes True

I can’t believe it.  I will be 17 tomorrow.  I have so many things I want to do with my life.  Mom and Dad have really helped me a lot with my college plans.  Although I still don’t know exactly what it is I want to do.  I have talked to my little brother Jimmy and he has encouraged me to continue on with the acting.  I am really leaning towards that.

I was looking through Mom’s scrapbooks again last week and just realized how many plays I have been in.  Along with the school plays and things that I helped produce around town I have been in close to 40 plays.  Could you believe that it all started with a woodland fairy for Shakespeare?  What an obnoxious little kid I was then.

I have been living with Mom and Dad now for a little over five years.  It just seems like time has flown by while I have been here.  Things just seem to change so fast.  One minute I am living with the Thomas’s and the next I am living with Emily and Brian.

Right after I moved here, Mom married Brian and he moved in with us also.  I guess they thought that it would be easier for him to move in with us than it would be to find another house that we all liked.  It was kind of neat.  They had been dating for so long that it was about time they got married.  For a while there I was extremely rebellious.  Everything Mom said I would argue about.  And I mean everything.  I finally came to realize that the reason that I was doing this was because I still didn’t feel like I belonged.  So finally when I was 15 I asked Emily if I could call her Mom.  I thought that she would never stop crying.  Then when I asked if Brian would be okay with me calling him Dad it seemed like the crying would go on forever.  I guess we both never realized just how much we needed to take that one little step.

That was a day I will never forget.  Dad and I had also gone out to get my driving permit and we were going to surprise Mom with it.  Instead she surprised us with pictures of her family that she never knew she had.  It is kind of strange but Mom never talked about her family and we never saw them, but there they were for every premier that Mom directed.  I thought Dad looked kind of funny for a while but then he collected himself and we had a great time.

Mom and I cleared the air over some Rocky Road and then she dropped a bombshell on me.  She told me about a little boy who had lost his family in a fire similar to the one my family was in and she wanted to know how I would feel if he became my foster brother.  That was one I had to think about.  I had been so angry for so long about not getting to say goodbye that I did not know if I could handle a little boy going through the same things that I went through.

I had to think about it for a week.  It was the only thing I thought about that whole time.  Then I realized that he was going through the same thing that I went through.  I didn’t want him to end up in a home where no one ever said, “I Love You” so I finally told Mom that I would like for him to live with us.  His name is Jimmy, he is going to be four years old soon and he is a spitfire.  I think that as far as little brothers go he is great.  I think that Jason would have liked him too.

“Christy, it is time to go.  The theater opens in two hours and we still have to do a run through on the costumes to make sure they are all there.”

Well, here we go again.  We are opening a new play tonight.  Mom wrote one of her own this time so she is very nervous.  But I am here to tell you that it is great.  It is going to be a big surprise for her family.  You see even though she has known for two years that they are secretly sitting in the audience she has never said anything to them.  This play is one that will let them know that she knows.  I think it is about time that they quit playing games with each other.

“I’m coming Mom.  I just have to put on my last earring.”  I thought my Mom would have a cow when I came home last week with another earring in my ear.  That makes six on one side and four on the other.  She made me promise right then and there that I would never get anything else pierced and then she started naming them, my nose, eyebrows, tongue and bellybutton.  I think I could live with that.  She never said I couldn’t get a tattoo, who knows maybe that will be next.

I have a major secret that I have not told anyone.  Especially Mom, I have been looking through my old stuff that I kept from when I was adopted by Megan and Michael and I discovered something that I overlooked when I was younger.  I found an old birth certificate that had my birthday on it.  I don’t think that I was supposed to see that.  When I read it I realized that it had to be mine and that my birth name was Sarah Elizabeth Richardson, then I read the place that said Mothers Name and I found out that my birth mother was Emily Jane Richardson.  I don’t think that she knows I know.  We have never talked about her giving up a child.  Maybe she doesn’t want me to know.  Maybe she doesn’t even know herself that I am her daughter.

I am thinking that I will talk to Dad about it sometime soon but for right now I just want to keep it a secret.  I hid those papers so that no one would come across them accidentally.  I am so confused.  I still don’t understand why she gave me away and I can’t figure out why she has never said anything about having a child herself.  I most definitely have to talk to Dad about it.

“Christy, how do I look?” Emily said nervously as she was standing in the hall right outside my room.  She was definitely not her calm cool collected self like she usually was.

“Mom, you look fabulous.  Come on, we are going to be late.  You don’t want that to happen.  Remember “Family Reunion” is only going to open once and then you will be home free.  So to speak.”

“Have I told you lately how much I love you?  Okay, here goes.  Go get your brother and let’s get moving.”

Boy she had it bad.  If I didn’t know better I would think that this is the first time that she has acted in a play.  Yep, you guessed it Mom is acting this time also.  I get to play her long lost daughter that finally comes home.  What irony?  Do you think that she will get the joke when she finds out what I know?

“Mom, relax.  You were on Broadway, remember?  Just do what you always tell me.  Pretend like your audience is naked.”

“What!  I never told you to do that!”

“I know, but I gotcha didn’t I?  Relax; Dad is there now getting things ready.  He has arranged to have ushers greet each member of your family and lead them to a special seat.  Before the night is through they are going to realize that they have been set up, so to speak.  Then they are going to realize that the ‘Family Reunion’ taking place is their own.  I think that is going to be so cool.”

I watched as Mom slowly calmed down while we drove to the theater.  I know that she has been nervous for a long time.  She has even kept the name of the play a secret from the press.  She has been calling it “The Mystery Production” and plans to reveal the name when the curtain opens tonight.  The whole audience is going to be shocked when they realize what is going on.  Everyone is going to be there.  I even invited the Thomas’s and their family along with Katy and her parents.  I think that this is one play that should go to Broadway.  It will definitely make a great story in tomorrow’s paper that’s for sure.

“Mom, could we talk sometime tomorrow?  I really need to ask you something and I don’t want to upset your opening night.”

“Do you want to talk about it now?  You know that I always want to keep an open door with you.  If it is something that you really need to talk about now we can take some time out right now and just go talk.

“No Mom, really, I’m serious.  This can wait until tomorrow.  Besides, I really want to talk to you alone and we can’t do that with duffus here tagging along.”  I gestured at Jimmy sitting in the back seat.

“Hey, who are you calling a duffus, you giraffe.”  He called back.

“Kids cut it out.  Okay Christy, how about we go out to lunch tomorrow and then hit the mall?”

“Cool, I can use some more birthday presents tomorrow.”

“Is that tomorrow?  How could I have forgotten your birthday?”

“Mom, you didn’t did you?”

“Gotcha, this time didn’t I?  Of course I didn’t forget your birthday.  That is a day that I will always remember for more reasons than one and most importantly because it is your birthday.  Well, here we are.  Are you ready to go wow that audience?”

I thought she was going to spill the beans there for a minute.  But maybe she really doesn’t know that I am her real daughter.  I guess that I will have to find that out tomorrow.  Right now we have a play to get going.  It is time for the curtain calls to begin the play.  I listened as one of the other actors introduced the play.

“Ladies and Gentlemen, for weeks you have heard nothing about this play except that we have been calling it “The Mystery Production”.  The play was written and directed by Emily Richardson Douglas and the real name of the play is “Family Reunion”.  So sit back relax and enjoy the entertainment we are going to provide for you tonight.”

Oh boy, here we go.  I watched from the wings when I wasn’t on stage and it was fun to watch as Mom’s family slowly began to realize that the play was about them.  You could have heard a pin drop when Mrs. Richardson got up right in the middle of the play and ran on stage to hug mom.  They had to take an intermission right then until things calmed down a bit.  By the end of the night there wasn’t a dry eye in the house including my own.  I thought for sure that Mom would say something about her daughter but that was not included in the play.  I still don’t know what is going on with that.  Well, it has been a long night and tomorrow is going to be even longer so I am going to say good night right now.

“Christy, wake up.  Come on Christy, you gotta see what Mom and Dad got you for your birthday!” I woke up to find Jimmy tugging on my arm.  It felt like I had just gotten to sleep and here he is waking me up again.

“Alright already.  You’re going to pull my arm off.  Just give me a minute.”  I rolled over and pulled the covers over my head like I was going to go back to sleep.  It was a little joke we had been playing with each other since the day Jimmy moved in.

“If you don’t get up right now, I am going to take all your covers.”  Jimmy laughed tugging on them.

“No, you can’t do that.  Then I will freeze.” I hid a smile behind my hand.  Suddenly I did something that Jimmy was not expecting me to do.  I improvised on the game.  I grabbed him and began tickling him until he laughed that laugh that always made me feel good.

“You weren’t supposed to do that Christy.”  He said when he finally got his breath back.

“I know, Jimmy, but I just needed to hear your laugh.  It was the best birthday present ever.”

“No it isn’t.  Come see what Mom and Dad got you.”

With that I decided to go see this fabulous present.  I wonder if Mom remembers that we are supposed to go out for lunch.  As I walk into the living room I realize that there are tons and tons of people there.  Then I realized that I am still in my nightclothes.  So I ran right back out of that room and went to change.  How embarrassing, why didn’t Jimmy tell me to get dressed first?  I guess that’s something that four year olds never think of.  Especially Jimmy, he likes nothing better than to run around dressed like Super Man all day.

When I got back to the living room I noticed that there weren’t as many people as I thought.  All the people in the room were Mom’s family.  They had all come over for an early morning surprise birthday party.  Was this the present that Jimmy was talking about?  It sure would be neat if I could tell them that I really was part of their family.

“Mom, are we still going out to lunch?”

“Yes, since you said it was important and we both know how long our important conversations can get I decided to move your birthday party to this morning.  How do you feel about going oriental?”

“That sounds great.  Now come on, let’s party.”

As I looked around the room I realized that everyone was having a great time.  You would never have guessed that they hadn’t talked to each other or been in the same house all together since 1981.  I watched as Mom’s family began to heal a little.  I just wanted to cry.

“Come on you guys.  Let’s open up those presents you all brought me.”

“First, you need to put this on.”  I watched as Mom held out a blindfold.  This was going to be good.  “Okay, now you have to turn around three times.  We are going to play a little game with you now.  You are going to open your presents with the blindfold on.  If you can guess what each present is then you get to keep it.  If you can’t guess then I get to keep it.”

I could tell that Mom was joking about keeping my presents but I decided to go along with the game.  What could it hurt?  Ouch, I just bumped my chin on the coffee table.  I guess it could hurt that.  As I opened each of the presents I had a blast; especially when I opened Jimmy’s present.  I knew right away that he had given me some Pokémon cards.  How could he not, they were his favorite things of all time?  I also knew that that was one present that I would enjoy giving back.  What fun we were having.

“Okay, it’s time for the last present.”  Said Mom.  “We are going to go for a short walk.  Now be careful with those stairs.”  I could tell that they were leading me all over the house.  By the time we stopped I had no idea where we were just that there was a lot of laughing in the background and everyone seemed to be having a great time.  “Okay, now you can either try to guess what the last present is without touching it, or you can take your blindfold off.  The choice is up to you.”

“Let me see?  I am going to college in a few months so did you get me a computer?”

“Beep, wrong answer.  Are you going for curtain number three?”

“Take the blindfold off Christy!” Jimmy yelled.

“Okay, okay, I think I will take off the blindfold now.”  There I was, standing in front of the most beautiful car I had ever seen.  I squealed and then just grabbed Mom and Dad in the biggest hug I have ever given anyone.  “It’s just what I’ve always wanted, a 1965 Mustang!  Can I drive it now?  Do you want to come with me?  Where can I go?  Oh man, this is so great!”

“Christy, why don’t you wait for a while and drive us to lunch?”

“How many hours away is that?”

“I was just kidding.”  Mom laughed and held up the keys.  “Here are the keys, why don’t you take Jimmy around the block a couple of times?”

I just grabbed those keys out of Mom’s hand and Jimmy and I took off.  We had a blast. But now it is time to get back down to business.  I really need to take Mom out for that lunch date.

“Mom, are you ready to go now?”

“Yes, I can see that you have something very important that you want to ask me.  If I can answer it I will, if not we will find someone that can.”

So we went to the local oriental restaurant and had a great meal.

“Why haven’t you tried to adopt me?”  I watched as Mom choked on her tea and slowly put her glass down on the table.

“What makes you think that I haven’t?”

“You mean that you have?”

“Yes, shortly after you moved in with us.  I went to the Department of Social Services and asked if it was possible for you to be adopted.  They told me no, that there was something in your adoption/foster care records that prevented you from being adopted without family consent.  Since you had no family to consent to the adoption they were not free to release you for adoption again.”

“Why didn’t you tell me about this?”

“I haven’t even told your Dad.  I guess I never wanted you to be hurt again.  I did this before you began calling us Mom and Dad.  You were only 13 and you were still so angry and rebellious.  I didn’t want to get your hopes up only to have them crushed again.”

I could only sit there staring at her.  I never knew that she had done that.  “Are you ever going to tell Dad?”

“Right now, I am not sure.  It seems like every time I mention something that has to do with you he gets kind of secretive and worried.  I don’t know if it would be a good idea to tell him about it.”

“Okay, I guess.  I am 17 now and I know that you love me.  So what I guess I really wanted to find out now is if you and Dad were going to adopt Jimmy?”  I watched Mom as she listened to the question.  “He is only four years old and you are the only family he really remembers.  I think it would be great if you adopted him.”

“To be honest with you I have thought about that in the last couple months.  But knowing that I could not adopt you, I had qualms about broaching the subject with you.  I never wanted you to feel like you were being left out.”

“Have you talked to Dad about it?”

“Not yet.  It is just something that I have been thinking about.  In between creating the play and making sure that you graduated high school on time I have not had time to really get into the details.”

“Well, I think it is about time that you do.  I think of Jimmy as my real little brother and you and Dad as my real parents so I think that you should make as much of it final as you can.”

“Christy, if only we could make it all final.  I would so dearly love to adopt you as well.”

I watched Mom as she said this and I discovered that she really meant what she was saying.  She really would have adopted me if she could.  Now I just needed to find out why she gave me away in the first place.  Maybe things would be okay after all.

“As long as I know that you wanted me too, I think it will be okay Mom.  Come on.  Let’s skip the shopping and go give Jimmy a birthday present of his own as well.  But we’ll only do this if you think Dad will go along with it.”

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