"Congratulations, it's a girl" Like she didn't know already. Valerie holds Rachel in her arms. She waits for that rush of emotion to come over her. Nothing. It worries her. Is she going to make it as a good mother? Is she going to be different than her own?
"It's not easy to bring up children the way you like them to be. You need help."
"And you just happen to be handy?"
It's her. She showed up the next morning by her daughter's bedside; waited long enough to undo what she had to Valerie by being a part of Rachel's life from the get go.
"I don't need you in my life"
"I'm here for my grandchild."
"She needs good parenting."
She might as well have shot her than say those four words to a new mother. Baby Rachel starts to cry at the top of her lungs.
"Mom, I don't want her to know you exist" was all Valerie could manage, still shaking with anger. The old lady limped out of the room. Her funny hat is the last memory Valerie had remaining of her mother. She'd call once in a while; not on birthdays, not on Christmas, not on the days families oblige everywhere else. She'd call on days when the world would already be upside down but needed someone to kick and make sure. Woman has timing if not shame.
Rachel goes to sleep soon after. Babies should be modeled after her: quiet when you need them to be most. Valerie would always tell Rachel how she cried the day her mother visited, and how it helped shove her away.
"You always took care of me. Even when you didn't know you were. Yet, I never made you...happy." Valerie's cried-out voice barely registers on the Richter scale. Diet Pepsi in her hands choking up its last fizz.
"Let's just watch the stupid show."
Valerie chose to pass out instead.