Emma Stevens was feeling anxious. It was Thanksgiving, and the 41-year-old woman was expecting her son, Ian. She got up at the crack of dawn to make preparations for his favorite meals.
The buffet she planned to serve him included turkey, sweet potato, and pumpkin pie. He had liked the pie since she first made it for him, and she had never stopped serving it ever since. When Ian arrived, Emma gave him a great big hug then sat him down at the dining table, already filled with all the delicacies she whipped up with love.
“All these for me?” he asked in mock surprise.
He knew she would be waiting with his favorite meals prepared; it was a tradition she began the first time he left home for college. “Of course honey, you know they are,” she said proudly, well aware of her consistency.
While Ian wolfed it down like a starving soldier, Emma watched him eat. She had no appetite; her mind was on the bombshell she was about to unleash on her lovely son.
“Remember Auntie Violet?” Emma began. “When you were five years old, she came to our house, stayed for a few days, and gave you a teddy bear.”
“Why are you bringing that up now Mom?” Ian asked his mom. However, she just continued talking.
“You slept with that teddy for several years… Anyway, she wrote to me recently saying she was very seriously ill and she wants to see you again.”
This was news to Ian. His Aunt Violet was an unusual woman who always seemed to be on the verge of tears whenever he was around on the day he first met her.
He could still remember it clearly; it had been during a family friend’s wedding. The whole family had turned up, including Aunt Violet.
When she set sights on him that day, her eyes immediately started to well up with tears. She gave him a motherly hug and called him sweet names that made him feel surprisingly very pleasant.
After that wedding, he never saw her again, and his mother was not forthcoming with answers to the questions he asked about her. “Why are you so interested in your aunt?” his mother would confront him whenever he asked.
Now all of a sudden, his mother was encouraging him to go ahead and see her because she requested it. To say Ian was surprised was an understatement.
“Why does the woman I’ve only seen once in my life want to see me so desperately?” he asked his mother, who was looking everywhere but at him. “Why are you suddenly asking me to go see the same woman you kept me away from all this time?”
When she stopped looking around to lock gazes with him, he saw tears in her eyes.
The truth is, son, I’m not your mom. Violet is your biological mother.”
Ian was stunned. Immediately it clicked in his brain — why she had welled up in tears at the sight of him. “Tell me more,” he urged.
“She gave birth to you with a man who abandoned her to avoid the responsibility of fatherhood. When you arrived, she had no money, then she found a job in Alaska.
“Violet loved you so much, she didn’t want to send you to an orphanage, so she brought you to me. We were friends then, and asked me to take you and raise you as my own child.”
“I initially disagreed because to me it looked like she was trying to evade her responsibility but she threatened to leave you on the street … or do even worse, so I agreed.”
Mom,” Ian said, but Emma continued, now unwilling to stop since she had already begun.
“You were a sickly boy. My husband was against me raising someone else’s child, but I chose you nonetheless. Now I want you to go to Violet and be with her.”
Ian was shocked by his mother’s words; she wanted him to leave right that moment, but he told her he wanted to sleep on it. “It’s a lot to take in mom,” he said by way of excuse.
When he returned to his room, he caught sight of the old teddy bear, and throughout the whole night, he tossed and turned.
When morning came, he took his mother, and they both traveled by air to Alaska to meet Violet, who froze when she opened her door to see her grown son staring into her eyes, holding the teddy bear in his hands. Then he took her hand in his, and said:
“Mother, I hold no grudge against you; Emma raised me, but you birthed me. She also told me about what happened and I’m here to tell you that I understand why you did what you did.
Ian felt his shirt soil as Violet wept in his embrace, but he didn’t stop talking.”Your choice paid off in the end because Emma gave me all the love I could ever ask for. You also had no choice, so I forgive you and hope that you accept me as a son.”
Violet wept some more as they stood on her porch, but later on, they took the party inside, where she made her favorite dishes — turkey and pumpkin pie.
What did we gain from this story?
Forgiveness is liberation. Violet stayed away from her son for years, only seeing him once, after which they were separated. When he learned about what she did in the past to survive, she expected him to be angry. However, he understood her reasons, so he forgave her instead, thereby liberating her from the precarious position she put herself in.
Be selfless, no matter what the odds may be. Emma started the chain reaction that led to the eventual revelation of Ian’s origins by telling him what transpired between herself and Violet. It had been buried for years until she decided to bring it up, ending the farce and reuniting mother and son. She did it at the risk of losing him, but in the end, it all worked out, and Ian ended up with two doting mothers.