Before I could argue my case any further, the courtroom doors opened and the bailiff called my name. By signing my baby away, to strangers, my life could return to the way it had been.
By: Margaret Mott
I touched my mother’s arm and pleaded in one last desperate attempt to stop the events from unfolding. “Please don’t make me do this”.
“Don’t start.” She sat stiffly in her black dress, her court attire, as though she was at a funeral. She was – mine.
Mom insisted that I wear the new white dress she had bought me as though by wearing it I would become a virgin again, that by signing my baby away, to strangers, my life could return to the way it had been. Of course, I knew it would never be the same.
I was too young to be an adult but too full of life’s experiences to be a child, a woman/child trapped outside the boundaries of both. An outcast robbed of childhood laughter, yet too young to enjoy the control of adulthood. I longed to be held, cared for and told everything would be all right.
“I’ll get a job. I’ll take care of her.” Mom and I never used Noel’s name openly. It was always ‘her’ to Mom so as not to get too personal. Not to imagine her as my daughter or my mother’s granddaughter.
“You have to go back to school.”
“I’ll go to school at night and work during the day.”
“What kind of a job could you get? No dear, this is best for you and the baby.”
Before I could argue my case any further, the courtroom doors opened and the bailiff called my name. His voice echoed through the empty hallway. I sat frozen. Mother stood and walked toward the doors yanking on my arm, forcing me to follow.
I knew nothing of duress at that age or that I wasn’t old enough to sign a legal contract, so when the judge asked me if I understood what I was doing, I could only nod and mumble a laden yes.
There are moments in time, frozen, but never forgotten. This was the day my heart froze. It was the only way I could survive. Un-empowered, intimidated, I let them take my Noel. I left the courthouse with a soul as deadened as any of those women in the doll’s eyeball factory. My tears dried. I put my girlish dreams away. No more fairy tales of pumpkins turned into carriages and white knights to carry me off. Life had dished me a healthy dose of reality so I pushed my dream of Noel where no one would see, only allowing myself to think about her occasionally, like a precious jewel removed from the vault where I could view the purity and the beauty, but only for a moment.
About the Author:
Margaret Mott is now happily married and living in Vancouver, Canada. What she learned in her life is that even the most horrible experience can result in the best thing that ever happens. She found her daughter when she needed her most.