I will never forget the day that Jade finally aged into a young adult.
Of course she was beautiful just like I always knew she would be, but no one was focused on her beauty. She had a major decision to make before she could move out. One that would forever change not only her life, but her son’s life as well.
I wanted to sit her down one last time and talk about things. I knew what I wanted for her. I wanted her to go to college and get a good job. I wanted her to have a chance to enjoy her life before settling down. She didn’t get to enjoy her teen years like my other children, and I didn’t want her to grow to resent Jesse for that.
“Jade, I think you should allow me to raise Jesse. At least for a few years. I have a lot of experience raising children and you know he would be well taken care of.”
Jade immediately frowned. She looked at me with so much hurt in her eyes it was breaking my heart.
“You don’t think I can take care of him?”
“Sweetheart, it’s not that. I’m just…”
She didn’t even give me a chance to finish that thought.
“I’m his mother. You want me to just walk out that door and never think of him again? You want me to forget that I ever had a child?”
“That’s not what I meant, Jade. I just wanted you to have a chance to make something of yourself. You don’t realize that once you have children, life gets harder. You won’t get to go to university like your classmates. You won’t be able to just go out and have a good time whenever you want. Having a full time job to support the two of you is going to be nearly impossible on your own. You have done great with Jesse so far. I’m not saying you haven’t, and I know you love him with all your heart but I don’t think you realize how much harder it is going to be once you don’t have me there to help you every minute of the day. You haven’t had to pay for food or bills yet, Jade. Are you going to be able to handle that while at the same time trying to care for Jesse?”
“Mom, you’ve raised sixty-nine kids to adulthood without having a full time job or a higher education and you have done just fine. You managed to raise all of us without ever getting any financial help from the father’s who have participated in your challenge. You taught yourself everything you needed to know about motherhood.”
“That’s not the same…”
Jade looked very confused. “How? How is it not the same?”
“Because I chose this life. As a young adult, I made the decision to get pregnant. You were still a child when you got pregnant and your pregnancy wasn’t planned. The circumstances are very different.”
“But the results aren’t, Mom. You have loved each of us kids more than any of us could possibly imagine. You treated all of us exactly the same regardless of the color of our skin, hair, or eyes. If we looked like you or if we didn’t. Even if we did something you didn’t approve of, you still loved us. You didn’t have to love us unconditionally, but you did. I never understood how you could love so many people that much. Why you were willing to risk so much for all of us. Not until Jesse.”
“Before I always imagined the type of love I read about in my romance novels. I thought that was the type of love everyone needed in their lives, but I was wrong. Love like that can fade. I’m not even sure it really exists anymore, but the love of a child? That’s the absolute best kind of love.”
As I sat there listening to Jade explain exactly how much Jesse meant to her, I couldn’t help smiling. I had been so worried about her having a successful future – about her not having regrets when she looked back on this time ten years from now – that I didn’t realize how much like me she really was. Some of my kids were meant to be successful doctors, police officers, or scientists. Others were meant to find that special someone, settle down, and have kids with. But Jade? She got the chance early in life to see how special children could be. How happy having them in your life could make you. More than just words, I think she really understood how I feel about all of my kids and now, I could see that same type of love between Jade and Jesse.
“As much as I appreciate your offer, Mom, the answer is no. Jesse belongs with me. He needs me.”
I had started this conversation worried about my daughter and my grandson, but as I hugged her goodbye and watched her leave the house, I was proud of her. Most people would have taken the easy way out. Most would have been selfish and wanted to live their own lives. But Jade wanted to take responsibility for her actions and I knew that even with her inexperience, she could give Jesse a better life then I ever could.
Not long after Jade and Jessie moved out, I received a phone call from Ashley. She found the next father for my challenge.
“His name is Zander Mahoney,” Ashley told me. “I met him last week at the library and have been getting to know him. He was born into a baby challenge himself and he has been looking for a challenge to participate in. Of course, I didn’t mention your name or anything, but I told him I knew of just the girl. He agreed to be your next donor, if you are interested.”
The girls would be aging up in just a few hours so I wouldn’t have any toddlers crawling around. The decision was simple.
“I’m interested. When can we meet?”
That night after meeting up with Ashley, we celebrated the girls birthday.
The next few weeks passed by uneventfully. The kids went to school. I kept myself busy around the house. Winter had kept my plants dormant for the season and they were just beginning to awake from hibernating so that kept me busy. It was while tending my garden that I felt the first movements of this new baby.
Trance has been feeling a little bit lonely recently. The family has all been off doing their own things and we haven’t had much time to spend with him lately. But I had a solution. I started letting Trance out of the house first thing in the morning so that he could go explore nearby.
He met this other cat across the street at the park. The two did not get along.
Trance has also started hunting when he is away from the family. When he manages to catch something, he brings it to me and waits for my approval. As cute as it is to watch him, I try not to think to much on where or how exactly he finds these little surprises for me.
Jennifer has been having a little bit of trouble at school lately. Nothing a little mother/daughter time couldn’t help with. But when did the kids homework get to be so hard?
Not long before I was due to to have the babies, we had a few more birthday’s in the house.
Apollo also stopped by to talk. For those of you that don’t know, Apollo and Julian started a band as soon as they left the house. The band has actually gotten pretty popular over the past few years around town and they’ve turned into local mini-celebrities. Apollo was just stopping by to tell me about a great opportunity the band was getting.
“Bridgeport, Mom. They want us to travel to Bridgeport and play at all the best clubs. This could be the break that we have been waiting for.”
“That’s wonderful sweetheart.” And I meant that. My boys had been working so hard to get noticed that I knew this was there chance to become big rock stars just like they always wanted. “But I thought you told me one of your band members quit recently? Got married and had a baby so he had to look for another job? How are you going to go without him?”
“Already taken care of. We are taking Artemis with us. You know how gifted she is at playing any instrument set in front of her. She’s not so much interested in the fame and fortune part of this gig, but she does love music as much as we do. She agreed to give it a try or at least help us out until we can find some kind of replacement.”
I congratulated him on the amazing opportunity, gave him a hug, and said goodbye. It wasn’t until later that night when I started thinking about what this could be. My kids were going to be famous. My kids were going to be famous. I repeated this over and over in my head.
HIS kids were going to be famous. Kids that were said to have died during childbirth just like their mother. If he recognized them, he was going to find out that it was all one big lie. He would find them, hurt them, and then he would come to finish what he started all those years ago.
I couldn’t think about that right now. I was to far into this pregnancy to start stressing out like this. Honestly, I was being ridiculous anyway. It had been years since I had to fake my death and move here. Edward obviously believed the lie like everyone else in my life had. There was no way he was looking for me.
I decided a little tv was just what I needed to relax.
I hadn’t gotten very far into the show when I went into labor.
Not very surprising that I ended up giving birth to another set of twins.
Introducing Baby #75, Alice…
and her twin brother, Blake.
I just want to thank Robert Mahoney/JagPacker26 for offering Zander Mahoney and for everyone that voted for Zander all those months ago. It was a really close vote between him and his brother Levi.