A LITTLE BIRD TOLD ME
Jimmy’s eyes darkened, as he looked inward at the pictures in his mind. Margret could only imagine what was going through his head. He did not seem anxious or distressed over the conversation, so Margret went about helping Tina fold the tablecloth. Jimmy never said a word, just turned and went inside, up to his bedroom to play.
Margret questioned her decision to tell Jimmy this harmless lie; still, with love and the best of intentions, she felt confident she had not hurt his feelings. Chuckling to herself, she hoped by morning, he would have forgotten the entire conversation.
Tina and Jimmy shared a bedroom. It was a small room with just enough space for two twin beds and a dresser. A toy box with a lid placed in one corner of the room held all of Jimmy’s treasures, while Tina was content to place her possessions at the end of her bed.
As Margret tucked Jimmy and Tina under the covers that night, she expected a barrage of questions about what she had told Jimmy, yet, he said nothing about their talk, only asked his mom to sing him to sleep after she kissed them both goodnight.
It was the usual bedtime lullaby, which a loving mom sang nightly as she stood at the bedroom door. Making up different words every night to the same tune, ‘Lula-by, Then Goodnight’, was a challenge, yet the word came easily to Margret as love poured from her lips to these two angels. Although her singing was amateurish and always out of tune, it seemed to soothe the cares of the day away, and soon they were fast asleep. It also gave her a chance to sing prayerful words quietly, which calmed her stressed out soul, and gave this disillusioned woman the needed courage to face another day.
Sometimes Margret would stand there for minutes, just watching these precious angels slumber in peace without a care in the world, knowing they soon would be facing all the tribulations that come with adulthood. Many times she shed a tear, as much for herself as for them. They were growing up without a loving father and Margret did not have a loving husband.
Tina could sleep around the clock. It had been the same since coming home from the hospital. She would have slept through her two o’clock feeding, had Margret not awakened her. She nursed for a few seconds and then drifted off to sleep. It took a gentle tap on her cheek to keep her sucking, and then, an exhausted mother realized she was the only one not getting a good night’s sleep. After two weeks the two o’clock feedings stopped. The baby girl flourished and so did mom.
Jimmy was always an eager eater. He never missed a meal. Often Margret would fall asleep in a family heirloom rocking chair, while he was nursing, only to wake up to a fussy baby needing a clean diaper and more milk. Her only respite came, thankfully, when she lay the babies down for morning and afternoon naps, together, in the big bed. Her Grandmother’s rocking chair was a Godsend for these quiet, restful times.
Jimmy was always the first to awake in the morning and that never changed. Margret felt the tug on her arm every morning long before the alarm sounded. Asking him to play in his room until it was time to wake Tina for school was her only recourse. That meant another hour’s sleep or did it.
He obliged, however, the roar of the tiny trucks and exploding building blocks were hard to ignore, so wearily, mom rose to start another day. The events of the preceding day completely left her mind as she dressed quietly, trying not to wake Vic, who came to bed very late the night before, reeking of alcohol. If she let him sleep off the effects of his drinking, it was better than facing his nasty nature.
He was always a tick away from exploding into a tyrant, with obscene observations of marriage and his wife’s inability to fulfill his sexual pleasures. Vic was the only boyfriend Margret ever had and the only man she slept with. She knew nothing of the degenerate side of life and held fast to her Catholic teachings. If he had been more patient, more loving and gentle, perhaps both could have fulfilled their desires. Still, love has to be the catalyst for such pleasure; it simply did not exist.
She had married the wrong man, whose moral upbringing was vastly different from hers. He had many encounters with young girls before she met him, even parenting a child out of wedlock. Margret was so naïve that she overlooked all of the obvious lies and believed whatever he told her. Vic said the child was not his since the girl in question had many boyfriends who could have fathered her child. He was very good-looking and so attentive to her and her family, that her overzealous need to be a wife and mother overshadowed her good judgment. It was infatuation, not love, which cast its spell on this innocent young girl, eager to start her own family and leave the “protection” of her father.
Margret’s father was very protective of his daughter and did not allow her to date until she was eighteen. She did date at sixteen, sneaking out with girlfriends and meeting her date at the movies, or a concert. When one of the young men came to her house the next day, Margret’s father sent him away, telling him not to return. He forbade her to go anywhere with her friends because she lied to him. If she went anywhere, her brother was her chaperone.