Title: Secrets

Author: f.f. lindy

Date: 8/03

"I understand sweetheart. I know what you're going through," she said consolingly.

"No, Mom, you don't. How would you know?"

"Honey, I've been around the block a few times. I know that you're scared, and I know you think nothing is going to help you now, but it will all get better."

"Mom, I don't think you understand. I'm pregnant. I'm unmarried and pregnant. I don't even know how to tell my boyfriend. Things are going to get worse before they get better," Becky started to cry.

She heard her daughter's sobs over the line and tried to ease the young woman's pain. "That's how it looks now, and you may be right. But it's always darkest just before the dawn."

"Mom, I hate to break it to you, you can console all you want, but it's not like that."

"Becky, I know more about this than you give me credit for."

"How? When you were my age you were little Ms. Vessey, the schoolteacher in a town smaller than the college I went to. It was the turn of the millennium for Christ sake. Women didn't just get pregnant like this, and even if they did, goody-goodies didn't."

"I'm not that ancient. It's not like I was born during the American Revolution. Plenty of women got pregnant before they were married when I was your age. This is nothing new. It's all going to be okay. I know that you'll be happy. It's scary to find out you're having a baby. Even when I found out I was pregnant with Tom I was nervous, and we spent six months trying to get pregnant. You'll be fine, but you have to tell Mitch."

"I can't tell him. He'll break up with me. He doesn't want to have a baby. We haven't even talked about marriage, much less children."

"You have to tell him. If you haven't talked about children then you don't know for sure he doesn't want kids. Mitch is a good guy. You've been through a lot with him, and I'm sure it'll work out. You can't not tell him. It doesn't work that way."

"What do I do just walk up to him and say 'I'm having your baby'? It doesn't work like that Mom. I can't just do that."

"You have to sweetie. You don't have to say it like that. Spend some time thinking about the best way to tell him. It'll come to you."

"Mom, you're too optimistic. Things don't just magically come to people like that. This won't work. You don't understand!"

"Stop saying that Rebecca! I have lived a lot more than you know and if you would just listen to me for a minute maybe I can teach you something," Carol yelled.

"What can you teach me about this, Mom?" Becky shouted back. "After you and Dad planned and structured my birth for months on end, how did you tell him you were finally pregnant?"

"Becky," Carol bit her lip and felt tears welling up in her eyes and willed her voice not to crack, "Dad and I love you, and if I had my life to do over again, this is certainly not something I'd change."she had to stop to swallow the lump in her throat. "We've always loved you. And this baby, you'll love this baby too. I know now it seems like the world is going to end and you don't know what you're going to do. Your baby will be beautiful, and perfect, and you'll love her." She stopped before she broke down.

"Mom, what are you saying?"

"We decided when you were a little girl that we weren't going to tell you, but we didn't get married in November of 2002. We got married in November of 2003."

"Mom?"

"We weren't even together until May of 2003. We never thought it would happen. We were so happy. We promised each other that we would never tell you. We didn't want you to think you weren't loved, because we love you. We didn't plan for you, but we love you. You'll understand ten years from now; trust me. When this baby is old enough to subtract nine months from her birthday you'll understand." She was wiping tears from her eyes when she gave up talking.

"You weren't.you and Dad. I'm."

"I'm sorry honey, please don't tell Tom or Nichole. Your father is going to be upset I told you. But now you know, and now you can trust me, now you can listen to me. You have to tell Mike."

"How did you tell Dad?" Becky asked in a tiny voice.

"Well, we were in the bowling alley one night, two days after I found out, and he knew I'd been acting crazy, but he didn't know why." Carol smiled, thinking back on the day. "The alley was already closed and he was helping me bowl. I was really bad back then. He'd put out the gutter bumpers so I at least had a chance at knocking down pins. Well we ran out of motivation and ended up lying with our heads on the bumpers. He told me he'd seen kids bowl better than I had. I told him he'd have to make sure our kids were good bowlers, and that I hoped they would inherit his ability rather than mine. I was petrified. He got this great big grin on his face and asked me if I really thought we'd have kids some day. I took his hand and put it on my stomach and said 'How about 8 and a half months?'"

They were both quiet for a little while, imagining the moment. "I love you Mom," Becky said softly.

"I love you too."

"I have to get going. Thank you for everything."

"Alright sweetheart, be in contact."

"I will. Oh, and uh Mom, your secret is safe with me if mine's safe with you."

"I won't tell anyone."

"Not even Dad?"

"I don't think he's quite ready to know he's gonna be a grandpa."

"When did you tell Grandpa?"

"About a month after the wedding."

"What?"

"Grandpa and I have always been close, and he likes Ed, he always has, but he was a little bit overprotective of his little girl and it's easier to say 'I'm having a baby' after you're married. Even to add, 'by the way, in 5 months,' is easier than saying 'I'm pregnant' to your dad before you're married." Carol paused. "Thank you for telling me."

"I love you Mom. I'll talk to you soon."

"Alright, Becky. Send Mitch my best."

With that both phones we're hung up and two women went on with their day, each with a new secret, and a renewed hope for the future.