Forgive and Forget: Part Four

Forgive and Forget: Part Four

A Short Story Series

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"I'm sure it's fine. After all, you did do us a favor by driving her home from the airport. Right, Leah?"

Leah knew that tone. It was the "you'd better not argue" tone.

"Right. Besides, you probably made enough to feed a small army."

"Well, I wasn't sure what you'd want to eat."

"Madwoman."

"I love you too, Leah."

Leah started chewing on her lip as she met her mother's eyes. Had they always seemed so tired?

"Will Dad be joining us?"

"No. He's sleeping now. He's been tired a lot more these days. He gets worn out more easily. You can say hi to him in the morning."

Leah's shoulders relaxed as she sighed a breath of relief. As much as she'd missed her father, she wasn't sure she was ready to face him yet. Her mom grabbed her hand and gave it a squeeze.

"How bad does he look?"

"I can't really describe it besides that he looks sick. He's still your dad, just in a sick body."

Leah nodded.

"Come. Dinner's going to get cold."

Sure enough, there was a bit of everything on the table. All of Leah's favorites were there, baked macaroni and cheese, grilled bruschetta chicken, mashed potatoes, Caesar salad, warm crescent rolls, and chocolate mousse.

"Mom, thank you. You really didn't have to make all of this."

"I just wanted you to remember the good parts of being home too."

Leah met her mother's gaze with tears in her eyes. She pulled her mom into a hug and noticed how small her mother's body had become. There were more gray hairs than there were when they'd visited just a year ago. She heard a small sob escape her mother's throat.

"I'll, uh, set the table," Conner said clearing his throat.

Leah had completely forgotten he was even still there. Leah let go of her mom and stared intently at her face.

"I'm home now. I'm here as long as you need okay?"

"I'm sorry honey. I'm trying to be strong for both of you."

"You don't have to do that, Mom. This is hard on you too. Just remember you need to take care of yourself too, okay?"

She nodded and Leah pulled her in again. Her mother pulled back and wiped away the tears with a shaky hand.

"I don't think I would have made it this long if it wasn't for Conner's help. He's been great about helping me get your father to his appointments and with fixing stuff around the house."

"He's....he's been helping with Dad?"

"I never called him. He just showed up one day after I'd mentioned to Nancy that the fridge was making a weird noise."

"Why didn't you let me know? I would've come back sooner."

"Your dad is so proud of you with your big city job. He made me promise not to call you."

Leah rubbed a hand over her face angrily.

"Stubborn man." She mumbled.

"I know a lot happened between you two and I won't excuse him for being, well, you know, back then. But he's been a real help now Leah. At least try to keep that in mind."

"I will."

Conner cleared his throat nearby.

"The table is set, if you're ready."

"Thank you," Leah said gently as she made her way into the dining room.

Leah loaded up her plate and moaned in pleasure with the first bite she took. Conner and her mother started up a conversation as they ate. Leah continued to shovel food down until she was completely stuffed. Nothing could beat her mom's cooking and it was something that she'd missed while in the city.

Her mom started to clear the dishes but Leah gently stopped her.

"I can handle the dishes mom. Why don't you go get some rest?"

"Are you sure?"

"I'll help." Conner threw in.

A crease formed on her mom's forehead.

"See? We'll take care of it. Go rest. Shoo, shoo, shoo!"

Leah directed her mother out of the kitchen and then gathered as many dishes as she could with Conner grabbing the rest. Leah washed while Conner dried. They fell into a rhythm as they worked in silence.

"So, you've been helping Mom out?" Leah asked.

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To The Dad Who Didn't Want Me, It's Mutual Now

Thank you for leaving me because I am happy.
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Thank you, for leaving me.

Thank you, for leaving me when I was little.

Thank you, for not putting me through the pain of watching you leave.

Thank you, for leaving me with the best mother a daughter could ask for.

I no longer resent you. I no longer feel anger towards you. I wondered for so long who I was. I thought that because I didn't know half of my blood that I was somehow missing something. I thought that who you were defined me. I was wrong. I am my own person. I am strong and capable and you have nothing to do with that. So thank you for leaving me.

In my most vulnerable of times, I struggled with the fact that you didn't want me. You could have watched me grow into the person that I have become, but you didn't. You had a choice to be in my life. I thought that the fact that my own father didn't want me spoke to my own worth. I was wrong. I am so worthy. I am deserving, and you have nothing to do with that. So thank you for leaving me.

You have missed so much. From my first dance to my first day of college, and you'll continue to miss everything. You won't see me graduate, you won't walk me down the aisle, and you won't get to see me follow my dreams. You'll never get that back, but I don't care anymore. What I have been through, and the struggles that I have faced have brought me to where I am today, and I can't complain. I go to a beautiful school, I have the best of friends, I have an amazing family, and that's all I really need.

Whoever you are, I hope you read this. I hope you understand that you have missed out on one of the best opportunities in your life. I could've been your daughter. I could have been your little girl. Now I am neither, nor will I ever be.

So thank you for leaving me because I am happy. I understand my self-worth, and I understand that you don't define me. You have made me stronger. You have helped make me who I am without even knowing it.

So, thank you for leaving me.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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My Mom Is My Biggest Weakness In The Best Way Possible

Although my mom is still my parent, she's also a friend.

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My parents are everything to me. They raised me to be independent, strong, smart, and hard working. They made sure to keep me in line, to ensure that I would be respectful and responsible. They raised me to be prepared for the world before I graduated high school. For everything they've done, I'm very grateful.

Focusing on my mom more specifically, she is my weakness. By that I mean, I can go to her with anything and I know she's willing to listen, to be open, and she won't impart judgment.

My mom always knows how to calm me down, but she is the one person who can also make me cry harder. I don't mean this in a bad way. It's just that whenever I've had a tough day or my anxiety has been heightened by some ordeal, I know that if I see my mom or if I even call her over the phone, the waterworks come flooding. I don't know what it is about my mom that makes me feel so emotional, so vulnerable. Each time I go to her, it's almost as if I'm a kid again, crawling into her mother's arms, seeking a nurturing soul to tell me that everything will be okay.

Sometimes I even avoid calling my mom when I'm in a rut because I refuse to cry or feel weak. For instance, if I had a problem, I'd avoid talking to her about it. If a week goes by, I'll update her on my problems, and begin crying about it (even though I was already over it beforehand). My mom can bring out anything from me. She laughs when I tell her this because she knows that no matter how old her baby girl gets, she'll always need her mama.

I think as I've gotten older, I've realized how much more my parents mean to me. As a kid, I always felt like they were against me. I felt as if they didn't want me to do anything and didn't want me to grow. As an adult, I realize it's the exact opposite. My parents have always wanted what's best for me, and because I've grown to understand this, I feel so much closer to them.

I feel as though now, although my mom is still my parent, she's also a friend. She's someone I can go to when I feel down, someone I can go to for a good laugh. She's so much better than me in so many ways. She's outgoing, loud, obnoxious, smart, and is always seeing the good in situations. When I talk about my mom to other people, they're always so interested in meeting with her or talking with her. When they finally get the chance to, they're instantly drawn to her character. They're drawn to her laughter. I kid you not, my mom can light up a room in seconds. She is always the life of the party. It sometimes makes me jealous when people find out how amazing my mother is because I swear they'd rather be friends with her than me.

What people don't see is her struggles. They don't see the pain she goes through with her ongoing injury. They don't see that not only does it take a physical toll, but also an emotional toll. She hides it really well because that's what parents are "supposed to do." My mom is the strongest person I know and to see the two contrasts of her is astonishing. To think that someone so full of life can also battle personal struggles, it's hard to see, especially because she's my mom and all I want is the best for her. One part of my mom struggles while the other part of her is so vibrant, so full of life, so sassy.

I don't know how she's put up with all of the hardships in her life. I've never seen someone work so hard and refuse to fail. She refuses to be taken advantage of. I've never seen someone as amazing as my mother. She can do anything.

I think my mom looks down on herself sometimes. I think, like any woman, she sees imperfections. What I don't think she sees, that I wish she would, is the tenacity she has. I want her to see herself the way I do: beautiful, strong, courageous, sassy, outgoing. I could go on and on about how much my mom inspires me and how she's made me appreciate her in more ways than one.

Mom, thank you for all that you do and all that you are. I hope you know how much Rachel, Vanessa and I all love you. I hope you know that no matter what struggles we go through, you are our rock. You hold the fort down and you're always there to make sure we're good, even when you aren't yourself. Thank you for always thinking of us, for believing in us, and for never turning your back. I love you more than you know.

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