Fiction & Opinion: The Bet

Annelise Lords

When we give our life meaning and a purpose, life will add value to our lives.
A star made from shell.Image by Annelise Lords

Enjoying her favorite breakfast with her mom, 17-year-old Jennifer Blake asks, "Was you excited when you found out that you were pregnant with me?"

"Well," her mother paused, resting her coffee mug on the table beside her plate of spinach scrambled eggs with buttered whole-wheat toast, nodding her head left to right, then revealed, "I kinda lost a bet."

"You did what!" Jennifer screamed, dropping her fork in the middle of her plate, causing pieces of eggs hugging spinach to fall on the white tablecloth. Both hands raised above her shoulders in shock. "You lost a bet. That's what I was to you? A bet?"

"I am sorry, I was young and unprepared," her mother explained.

Jennifer fumes, then release, "I am an only child, so I guess you won all the other bets?"

"I said I was sorry," her mother apologized.

"Who won the bet that bought me here?" Jennifer demands.

"Your father," her mother answered.

"Let me get this straight. You lost the bet, but you end up with a prize you didn't want?" Jennifer screamed in disappointment.

"I stayed, he didn't," her mother said.

Her relationship with her mother crashed that day.

To escape the disappointment and pain, Jennifer got her scholarship and chose a college two hundred miles away. Moving into their dormitory. She hasn't seen or spoken to her mother in fifteen years. Mother's Day was painful for her. She finished college, got her Master's in Education, and accepted a teaching position at Middlehood Elementary School. Every Mother's Day, she would send her mother a card with a check with no return address. None of the checks were cashed.

Nine-year-old Molly Stewart was a bright and well-mannered child who often came to school looking as if she had been run over by a garbage truck—sometimes smelling just as bad. The children would tease her, and she would often cry or sit in the corner at the back of the class. Jennifer became her protector.

Jennifer called in her mother and learned she was a single mother struggling to feed her only child. Jennifer made sure Molly came to school clean and smelled great after that. When Molly needed a coat, Jennifer started a coat drive—collecting coats and new clothes for other children in the school and the surrounding community. Molly needs school supplies; Jennifer reaches out to the businesses in the community, and they donate lots of school supplies. Molly was a happy child now.

Two days before Mother's Day, Jennifer was passing the girl's bathroom and heard a familiar voice say, "You can't put that in the card."

"What can't she put in a card?" another familiar voice asks.

That's Sara's voice, Jennifer thought, stopping to listen.

"She is making a Mother's Day card for Miss Blake and she wants to put in it that 'I am glad you were born.' You can't put that in a card." Paula's voice, Jennifer identifies.

"But I am glad," Molly defends her decision.

"Miss Blake is nice to all of us," Sara said. "I am glad she was born too. If her mother didn't give birth to her, she wouldn't be here to help us. And I am glad her mother was born too. I got a new coat, shoes, clothes, and school supplies thanks to her."

Jennifer couldn't stop the tears as the words her mother had told her fifteen years ago hit her. She hurries inside the teacher's bathroom and cries long-overdue tears. The children gave her their cards a few moments before the dismissal bell rang. Lots of thanks and hugs later, she sat in her car, sadness hugging her as she read Molly's card.

It said, "Dear Miss Blake, I may not be your daughter, but I think of you as my mother. You gave other children and me the kind of love a mother gives her children. I am glad you were born. Love Molly." Happy Mother's Day Mom."

Jennifer arrived at her destination four and a half hours later. Parking in front of her mother's home. Easing from the driver seat, her eyes glimpse the sun as it slowly slides behind a Cumulus cloud bidding the day goodbye.

Her mom was sitting on her porch staring at the black Toyota Camry that stopped in front of her house. Her eyes lit up when she saw her daughter heading toward her. She jumped up and met her halfway. As they embraced each other both in tears, Jennifer said, "Oh Mama, I am glad you lost that bet."

Minutes later, they sat in the kitchen, sipping Turmeric ginger tea.

Mrs. Blake stared into her daughter's eyes and shared as tears flowed, "I was sixteen when I gave birth to you," she paused, fighting the pain that accompanied her overdue trip into the truth of her past.

Jennifer reached out and took her hands. As their eyes touched, they read each other souls, and her mother confessed, "I lost a bet to your father, and that's how you were born. I may have lost the bet, but I won the prize."

When we give our life meaning and a purpose, life will add value to our lives.

They say, 'children say the darndest things.' Their innocence and ability to love unconditionally gives them the power to heal adults in the simplest and most thoughtful ways. Children have the power to reach inside our hearts and empower change. Open your heart and let them in.

Thank you for reading this piece. I hope you enjoy it.

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I don't limit myself, because I learn from the actions, choices, decisions, and life of everyone I know. I study and learn from all of my life's circumstances and situations, and also yours. My power of words is about life, awareness, the value, and the simplicity of commonsense, especially when it's not used. Life lessons are in everything we do. I will show them to you.

Poughkeepsie, NY

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