In an excerpt from An Accidental Life, a single mother (who happens to be a social worker as well, reflects on recent developments in her daughter’s life.
In the kitchen, Joyce was struggling with her own dilemmas. What had possessed Shana to fall into a disastrous affair with a married man? And her professor, no less. More to the point, what was that man thinking? Had he no ethics? No scruples? The more she thought about it, the more she wanted to confront this creature who had transformed her compliant little girl into this mass of quivering emotion.
She had always believed that Shana would settle down into a safe career with a nice, middle-class man who shared her value system. Together they would produce two children, a boy and a girl, and would buy a house in the suburbs…Near Joyce, of course. She would spend weekends with her grandchildren and would bask in the fruits of her labor…The labor of love and guidance, which had produced the self-confident and beautiful daughter she had sent away to college, the same daughter who had evolved into a happy wife, mother, and career woman. Other mothers had conflict-ridden relationships with their daughters. Not Joyce Mason!
Now she had to rethink that image. Everything in her head reminded her that she had not caused this situation. Nothing she had said or done, no shortcomings in her parenting, had created this dilemma for her daughter. That had been Shana’s own choice to make; her own role in all of this was just to stand by and watch, offering support and guidance, but only when asked. Her heart, however, screamed out to her that it must have been something she had done; some failing on her part.
And in an excerpt from Embrace the Whirlwind, Amber visits with her beloved grandmother and draws sustenance from the encounter.
Amber pulled up into the curving driveway of her grandmother’s house. She lived in an older neighborhood in Modesto, one with large mature trees and landscaping. Amber sat staring at the old white stucco two-story Tudor with its dark green shutters, its wraparound porch, and that same old swing hanging there. Tears sprang to her eyes while she sat there in her old truck just soaking up the comforts of the house that evoked home to her.
Sabrina’s voice had sounded different, somehow, when Amber had called her. They had both been awkward at first, but then, that wonderfully warm glow had filled her heart as Sabrina had issued her welcoming words. “I’d love to see you, Amber. I’ve really missed you!”
Finally, she opened the door of her truck and grabbing her duffel bag, she slowly approached the house; her gaze now focused on the front door with its brass lion’s head doorknocker. That same familiar one, she thought with glee. As she neared the front door, she thought she could smell something baking. She hastened her steps but just when she had lifted the knocker, the door sprang open, and there was Nana’s beloved and familiar face. She fell into her grandmother’s arms and they hugged as if their lives depended on it.
Her grandmother’s face was damp with tears, but otherwise she looked the same. A little grayer, perhaps. She still wore her hair in that French twist and her dark eyes glowed with love. Her eyeglasses, something new, hung from a chain around her neck.
Sabrina slid the eyeglasses up and peered through them, scrutinizing her granddaughter. She felt a pang of sadness and pride as she realized that Amber had somehow turned into a beautiful grown woman! And she had missed all those years because of the horrible quarrel between her and Hilary. She examined her granddaughter’s features more closely. She has our cheekbones, Hilary’s and mine, but otherwise, she must look like her father, Sabrina thought. Those hazel eyes with the glints of green, and that auburn hair…but then she realized that the auburn was probably a dye job. And not a professional one, at that, she observed. Poor Amber. Trying so hard to find herself. And with no help from that mother of hers. Her bitter thoughts of Hilary were now reflected in her face.