Part I introduced you to Elizabeth, a brave young girl who made the difficult decision to choose life and give her baby up for adoption many years ago. In a time where abortion had just become legal, she could’ve gone the other way and simply dealt with it quickly.
But Elizabeth made the only decision she could have made, and live with herself afterwards. This is Part II of her story. If you haven’t read Part I please do so before reading this installment.
After she had her baby Elizabeth went back to school. And when she finally trusted herself to face her parents, she went home for a visit. Of course she’d stayed in touch all summer while she was doing her “internship”, and they really wanted to hear all about it. Fortunately some of her friends had actually done an internship that same summer so she was able to share their stories as her own, but she felt terribly guilty every time she recounted those stories as her own. And her parents believed her, which made her feel even worse.
But time is a great healer and although she never went a day without thinking about her son, and wondering how and what he was doing, what he looked like, eventually Elizabeth was able to face her parents without feeling such immense guilt and shame. She knew she’d done the right thing, but there was still that twinge of guilt every time she thought how she’d not only given up her son, but her parents’ first grandchild.
Years went quickly by. She graduated from college and began her career in banking and finance. Her younger brother married, and she rejoiced over the birth of his first child, and inwardly cried when she saw how thrilled her parents were to finally become grandparents. She should’ve told them. But now she certainly couldn’t. It had been far too long, and would hurt them worse to think she went through all of that by herself, and lied to them. So she kept silent.
And she still wondered about her own baby boy, who certainly wasn’t a baby any more.
She knew exactly how old he’d be. She remembered every birthday, and even the exact time he’d been born. Although she didn’t have any pictures, she remembered what he’d looked like as if it were yesterday.
She went through a series of relationships, but somehow she just never seemed to find that right man she could trust enough to be totally honest with. After all, she knew she couldn’t commit to anyone unless she was able to share her secret with him; and unless he’d understand.
Finally she met Carl. A few years older than her, he was divorced with two teenaged sons. Unlike the other men she’d dated, Carl didn’t want any more children, because he already had those two boys who were almost grown. Which was fine with Elizabeth, because after what she went through as a young girl, she just didn’t think she could face having another baby, knowing that first one would never know about his brother or sister, nor could that other child ever know about their older brother.
She also knew she had to tell Carl her secret, especially since he was starting to talk about marriage. “I knew there was something in her past that was bothering her,” Carl told me. “But I had no idea what it was. When she finally got the courage to tell me her story, her voice was cracking, and she couldn’t help but cry. I can’t imagine how she held it in all these years. I couldn’t imagine the hurt she was going through. And it made me love her even more.”
Elizabeth and Carl were married a short time later, and she did everything she could to be a good stepmother, and eventually grandmother. Her own parents were thrilled to have Carl’s boys in their lives, which made Elizabeth feel even guiltier.
And she still couldn’t help wondering, so many times, “what if?”
But she had no answers.
Until one day when her cell phone rang while she was at her office. Because of the type of work she did, Elizabeth normally answered her cell, even when she didn’t recognize the number. This call was from California, where it was three hours earlier. She didn’t know anyone out there, but it could be a potential client someone had referred to her. So she picked up the phone, pen in hand, ready to take notes.
“Is this Elizabeth Patterson, or should I say Elizabeth McCall?”
Hmmm….who would be calling on her cell phone and referring to her maiden name? Was it an old friend from college?
“Yes. Who is this?”
The voice hesitated a few seconds before answering, “This is your son.”
Yes, dreams sometimes do come true, but not always in the way we expect. Don’t miss “The Secret Child, Part III,” to be published here on February 6.