A/N: My beta, silly bella, was a HUGE help on this story. She gave me a lot of advice on word choice and how to make Esme sound authentic. Couldn't have done it without you, lady! Thanks also to everyone who reads and reviews! Disclaimer: Unfortunately, I do not own Twilight or any of its plots or characters. They all belong to the wonderful Stephenie Meyer!
Disclaimer: Unfortunately, I do not own Twilight or any of its plots or characters. They all belong to the wonderful Stephenie Meyer!
I am a mother. As I gaze in wonder at my newborn baby, I try to absorb the weight of those words and all the life-changing implications they summon. But the reality refuses to sink in. All I can do is marvel at the perfection of tiny fingers, downy hair, blue eyes; the miracles go on and on. I cherish every breath, every heartbeat.
It amazes me how suddenly and drastically my priorities have changed. The well-being of my child is now the most important thing in my life. My well-being does not even matter anymore. All I really care about is this wrinkled little angel snuggled in my arms. I would do anything in the world for the sake of my baby.
My baby died after only a few days of life, but I am still a mother. I know this because I have a maternal ache inside of me that never subsides. Part of me embraces that feeling, for I am not ready to let go of my child or my motherhood. The other part of me despises the ache, for it slowly destroys me. Every breath burns hotter than the last, searing my throat and lungs. Soon my insides will simply crumble into ash.
Watching my baby fall victim to the lung infection—it tortured me. The doctors did all they could, but it was not enough. And I was even more helpless, which made the torture worse. As a mother, I felt compelled to save my child, to prevent any harm from occurring. But all I could do was watch as my sweet baby painfully struggled to hold on to life.
When not tending to my baby, I prayed. I prayed for a miracle, hoping that God would have mercy. When the end drew near, I begged Him to take my life instead, a trade of sorts. I swore that I would do anything, anything, to save my baby's life.
Did God not hear my pleas? Or was there a reason why he could not answer my prayers? What reason could possibly exist for taking away my angel, my only reason for living? How could God be so cruel?
Since my baby's death, my time divides into two main activities: sobbing from the pain of this maternal ache, and screaming with fury at God. The ironic thing is I believe in God now more than ever. I want—no, I need—to believe that my baby resides in Heaven now. This belief comforts me like nothing else can. My useless screaming is just an outlet, a sin I cannot seem to avoid.
On the other hand, believing in Heaven is very tempting, and not in a good way. If my baby is there, and if I could go there, then we could be together for the rest of eternity…
But I cannot afford to think about that. In church, the minister preaches that people who commit suicide have no hope of heaven, so surely I can think of alternatives to suicide.
Well, returning to Charles is not an acceptable alternative. I will never again tolerate his abuse. I cannot even seek solace in my parents, because they would just turn me over to Charles. I have no family or friends I can trust. The only people I know in Ashland are my students and a few acquaintances. If only I could talk to someone; maybe talking would help ease this heartache. The way I see it, my only other option is to go through life alone, depending only on myself, with no way of filling this painful hole inside of me. I could drift like a wounded ghost until the end of my days, though that may be several years from now.
Two choices: live or die. Three possible outcomes: live a hellish life, die and go to Heaven, die and go to Hell. I have a one in three chance of being happy in the near future. The odds are against me. I have never gambled in my life, but today seems like a good day to start.
Despite the fact that I am no longer human, I am still a mother. Human memories may fade, but I will never forget my sweet baby.
When Carlisle changed me into a vampire, adjusting became a constant battle for me. Not only did I have to cope with being a vampire, but I also had to try to fit in. Carlisle and Edward were already a family, and I felt more like an intruder who needed constant guidance and supervision just to make it through each day. I think perhaps Edward resented such a disruption to his life. At the very least, he was confused by Carlisle's decision to change me. It was not until later, after Carlisle and I discovered how much we loved each other, that Edward finally accepted me as a mother figure. And it thrilled me to call him my son. Edward was the first of my new children, and thus he holds a special place in my heart. His ability to read minds took awhile to get used to, but it created an intimacy that surpasses anything I possess with my other children.
Rosalie was my first daughter. Though I could never stop loving any of my children, Rose tests my patience the most. At the same time, I admire her tenacity. She knows what she wants, and she is not afraid to go after it. Her beauty can be so breathtaking; sometimes I cannot help but gaze at her in wonder, the way I gazed at my newborn baby so many years ago. At the time of her change, Carlisle hoped she would be a companion for Edward. But I soon realized it was not meant to be. Rose and Edward are like oil and water, in more ways than one.
When Rose found Emmett, it made me happy for two main reasons. First, they were perfect for each other. I think every mother hopes her daughter will find a love that completes her. Second, Emmett brought so much joy into my life. Nobody makes me laugh the way he does. His jokes, his jovial smile, his love of competition… everything about him warms my heart.
Alice and Jasper arrived at the same time, and they surprised all of us. Their talents completely changed our lives for the better, but more than anything I cherish their personalities. Alice is sweet, kind, and affectionate. My love for her developed so quickly and easily. Jasper is caring, reflective, and intelligent. Apart from Carlisle, Jasper is my favorite person to have a conversation with. Not only will he listen to everything I say and offer perceptive observations, but he will also enhance my mood!
The most recent addition to our family is Bella, the only one of my children who remains human. She is so innocent, so brave, and so perfect for Edward. When our family left Bella in Forks, it only confirmed that we are not complete without her. Not only Edward was affected by her absence; we all suffered. It showed in the lack of smiles and laughter, in the emptiness. I wanted to see Bella, talk to her, and know she was okay. Yet I could do none of those things. I tried to stay strong for the rest of my family. But my thoughts often strayed to Bella, which made everything so much harder for Edward. How could he seek comfort from me when he could hear my every thought of her? Our family could not help Edward, and so he left. To lose Bella and Edward, and then to imagine how much pain they both experienced, left a constant ache inside of me. I could not imagine ever being completely happy again.
But then it got worse—much worse. Alice told us that Bella had committed suicide by jumping off a cliff. Instantly I flashed back to the moment when I jumped off a cliff, a human memory that remains stubbornly vivid. I remembered all the pain and despair that led me to the edge of that cliff. Even with all my thoughts focused on my baby, the sensation of falling toward the rocks had been terrifying. To imagine that Bella had felt the same type of pain and despair, and perhaps the same horrible fall, ripped a deep chasm through my heart. I rolled into a ball and sobbed, like it was the death of my baby all over again. When Alice found Bella alive, relief overwhelmed me, and I was able to breathe again without aching. Until I heard of Edward's plan to go to Italy…
Thanks to Bella, I was spared from losing Edward, too. Now my family is complete, together again in Forks. But for how long? I worry for Bella's safety. Humanity is so fragile and fleeting. And if the Volturi are coming, now I am worried for the rest of my family as well. I know worrying will not help anyone, but I cannot help it. It is the curse of being a mother.
Other curses exist, such as the painful heartaches and the never-ending sacrifices. However, every day of motherhood brings countless blessings which far outweigh the curses: giving and receiving love, offering advice to help them through tough times, exchanging smiles and hugs, feeling pure joy whenever they are happy. These are just a few of the advantages I get to enjoy.
I have been a vampire for eighty-five years now, and I consider myself a mother of six. Though not born of my womb, I feel the same love for them as I did for my own flesh and blood. However, part of me still harbors the hard questions, which I shrink from but can never completely ignore. If my baby had lived, I would not have committed suicide. I never would have felt the love of Carlisle and my six current children. So if I had to, which life would I choose?
Obviously, when I was human, I would have given anything for my baby to live. But what about now, so many years later? Would I trade all my years as a vampire to be human again, to feel the soft warmth of my sweet baby alive in my arms—a feeling that cannot compare to anything else in the world? And I can never forget the reason I tried to kill myself in the first place: so I could see my baby in Heaven as soon as possible. How ironic—I could not wait one lifetime to enter Heaven naturally, yet now I will be waiting for an eternity. That is, assuming I ever get to Heaven at all. I always side with Carlisle on this issue, but sometimes Edward's beliefs plant a seed of doubt in my mind.
When I struggle with these questions, I inevitably admit that I am wasting my time. I made my choice when I jumped off that cliff, and I have to accept the consequences. From here on out, no matter how my life changes, one thing will always remain the same. I am a mother.