Months later Maria’s new lawyers finalized the estate, and everything was transferred into her name. The estate had eventually been valued at just under five million dollars and a regular income began to flow into her personal bank account from investments. Maria visited with the accounting firm that had handled Mrs Jones tax reporting matters and retained them to represent her. Money was set aside and invested to ensure Jeffrey would receive the very best education of his choosing when he was ready to consider his future career.
Maria moved out of her rental home and into the home she knew so well when she’d come to this city to work in the bank. That house was now to be extensively renovated. The sporting trophies of Mrs Jones adopted son were kept as a reminder of more pleasant days when she’d first moved to this city and in memory of her benefactor Mrs Jones. Jeffrey was beside himself with joy at developments and no longer felt he was inferior to all those rich kids in the community who now sought his company. Best of all Maria slowly went out of cleaning business devoting more time to her son and volunteering with charitable organizations serving the needs of those in town who needed help. She had other sources of income now. She’d never forget she was once one of those unfortunates, empathized with their needs and was liberal with her donations.
The house renovations were in process when door chimes trilled one day as Maria supervised tradesmen. She went to the front door and found an ageing grey haired woman there. There was something familiar about this person she didn’t immediately recognize.
“Can I come in Maria?”
“Mom, what are you doing here?”
“You never responded to our letter and I don’t blame you for that as we treated you very badly. I know we can never take that hurt away but would like an opportunity to make it up to you in some way if you can find it in your heart to forgive us. Who knows how many years your father and I have left so we need to do our best to make things right? Can I come in?”
Maria indicated an empty seat where there was space from the renovation work going on around it.
Her Mom sat unsteadily, and Maria noted with alarm that old age was taking its toll. She felt neutral about the visit and waited for her mother to speak.
“You have no idea how much we feel sorry for the way we reacted when we heard you were with child and were told you were not married. It cut across all we believed should happen between a man and a woman and we realize now that we were wrong. We were wrong to assume we’d been told the truth and even if that had been the case we were wrong to cut you off from the family the way we did. You needed our support whatever the circumstances and we did not give you that support. We do not deserve your forgiveness but are anxious for it. If you do decide to allow us to re-establish a relationship as a family then you will be more righteous than we and we will fully understand if you decide not to. I’m going now, but if you ever feel it in your heart to accept us again we’d like to bring the whole family to thank you for that and to ask we be family again.” She handed her calling card to Maria and stood to go.”
“How did you know where to find me Mom?”
“Our relative Mrs Jones told us she was gifting you her estate in a will and gave us your previous address too, so we tried your old address first then came here to see if you’d moved into this house.”
Maria nodded as she accompanied her mother to the door. Out front she spied her father hunched behind the wheel of an old car. He was not looking in their direction. Maria helped her mother to the car and a startled old man looked up with tears in his eyes and an inquiring smile flickered over his lips.
“Hi Pop!” Maria turned and sped back to the safety of her home to process what had happened. Time was needed before she could give them the answer they were desperately hoping for now. The pain of all those years of rejection was still raw and she needed time to heal.
That evening she sat with Jeffrey and poured out her confusion and hurt and the more it poured out the better she felt. Jeffrey with wisdom beyond his years held his mother as she sobbed her hurt out.
“What do you want to do about this visit Mom?”
“I want those years back with you knowing your grand-parents aunts and uncles and cousins, son!”
“Those years are gone Mom, what do you want to do now that they want to make it right?”
“I don’t know son.”
“I want to know my family Mom can we forgive them?”
Maria held her son tight until he said, “Mom you’re hurting me!”
Both laughed and the dismal atmosphere evaporated.
“OK son, as the man of the house why don’t you write to your grand parents and invite them to visit with whoever of the family would like to come with them.”
Jeffrey nodded. “I’ll tell them when the house and entertainment area at the back is complete we will contact them, and they will be welcome then.”
Maria smiled happily. Her anger and resentment seemed to have given way when she heard her son’s response and she was proud of who he’d become. He had the characteristics of his selfless forgiving and loyal father.
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