I know it will happen someday. Perhaps it will be tomorrow, perhaps in a week, perhaps in 15 years when my daughters visit home during Christmas Break at college.
But make no mistake, it WILL happen.
I will run into HER. My daughters’ other mother. The woman who chose insanity. The woman whose damage I undo a little each day.
This is not only my premonition; my husband agrees with this inevitability.
It is bound to happen because Ruth’s mother lives just under 10 minutes away. Ruth will be driving down the street where you turn right and then go right a second time onto our street.
It is bound to happen because Ruth knows where we live. And if I knew the outcome of certain events, I probably wouldn’t have done the following:
- Let her stay with us for five days to recover from her C-section, because she had nowhere else to stay.
- Invited her and her husband over for Christmas Eve, doing the open adoption we agreed to with Paige.
- Allowed them to drop Payten off on our front doorstep, after we accepted CPS’s request for us to be her foster parents
The kids and I will be at the neighborhood frozen yogurt shop, just down the street from our house. Taking my kids here for a treat on a warm spring day after school, when the homework is finished.
Eli won’t have the frozen yogurt. Rather, he will choose the caramel candy bar Gelato that the frozen yogurt shop, ironically, carries.
Paige won’t have frozen yogurt. She will choose the Hawaiian Ice.
Payten will have Frozen Yogurt. She will pile too many chocolate rocks, sprinkles and gummy bears on top before I notice, and stop her.
I may or may not have something. It depends on the lactose-free frozen yogurt flavor of the month.
And then SHE will walk through the door.
Eli will notice her before I do. He notices everything. Sitting next to me, he will point at her, lean over and whisper in my ear “It’s Ruth!”
I will look up to where he is pointing and hiss, “Don’t point, it’s rude!” Screw social etiquette; I don’t want her to notice us!
Eli will try to say more but I will shush him. I don’t want the girls to overhear and look over, even if they don’t recognize her.
My heart will pound, my palms will be sweaty, a surge of adrenaline will make me shake. I will do my best to turn my chair sideways so she doesn’t have a full-on view of my face.
I will say a quick prayer of thanks that both girls sit with their backs to her. In the next breath I will curse myself for sitting in the open, instead of behind the water cooler or in the corner.
She will walk to the frozen yogurt dispenser. Afterwards, she will turn around and approach the bin of toppings, which negate the healthy benefits of frozen yogurt. I know she likes chocolate, just like I do, just like our daughters do.
She will circle the table of toppings.
Suddenly, with horribly perfect timing, she will look up at the same time I am peeking to see if she’s noticed us. Our eyes will meet and lock together. I will see surprise reflected in her large, brown eyes, the eyes she has passed onto Paige. Her vision will move to peruse the table, to see who is with me.
Don’t come over! Don’t come over! I will plead, hoping there is such thing as ESP.
If she comes over and I introduce her as “my friend,” will the girls realize she is the woman who gave birth to them?
If she doesn’t come over, what will she do? Will she cry? Drop her yogurt and run into the bathroom? Drop her yogurt and run out the door? Carry on, and ignore the children she hasn’t seen in five years?
Will I gather the children up and hurry them outside, for once letting them eat the cold, messy, sweet treat in the car ride home? Will I stay and act as though she is invisible?
WILL I HAVE A HEART ATTACK?????
I will not know until it happens. I will practice the possible scenarios in my mind for years and years. Or maybe I will not waste my mental energy because I know I will never be ready.
In a situation like this, what would you do?