The rumble of the garage door interrupted Patty’s reverie; her mother was back from the store. With a groan, Patty picked up her notebook and pen. Might as well get this over with. She plodded to the kitchen and flopped into a chair.
“Need help with the groceries, Mom?”
“Thanks, hon, but it’s just these few things.” Marilyn didn’t need words to tell her that her daughter was preoccupied with things other than milk and bread. The face and voice of her twelve-year-old spoke volumes.
“Mom, I have this assignment.” She rolled the pen between her fingers and thumb. “I’m supposed to interview you, and then write an essay.”
“Sounds fun.” Marilyn slid the milk jug into the empty space on the first shelf of the refrigerator and shut the door. Taking a seat at the table with her daughter, she said, “Ok, shoot.”
“It’s really just one question.” Patty sighed and opened her notebook to the first blank page. Her eyes looked everywhere except at her mom. “Uh.. How.. why..”
“Go ahead, spit it out, sweetie.” She rested her elbows on the butcher-block tabletop and folded her hands, biding her time.
Patty’s green eyes finally met her mother’s. She blurted out, “Why did you pick my name for me?” then quickly dropped her gaze to the page in front of her. Her fingers, now gripping her pen, were turning white.
A smile lit Marilyn’s eyes, and her lips slowly curled up in amusement. “You don’t like your name much, do you?”
Patty shook her head, too embarrassed to answer.
“It’s ok, sweetie. I didn’t think you did.”
She slowly raised her head. “Really? You knew?”
“Your insistence on being called ‘Patty’ gave us a big clue. Your dad and I love your name, though. We gave it to you for a reason.”
In big, loopy script, Patty began to write. ‘I was given my name for a reason.’ She lay the pen down and wiped her sweaty hand on her jeans. “Ok, so, what was the reason?”
Marilyn drummed her French-tipped nails on the table and contemplated her next words. “Well, you weren’t too anxious to enter this world. I, on the other hand, couldn’t wait to meet my child. Plus, I was tired of being as big as a horse.”
Patty grabbed up her pen and scribbled furiously in her notebook. “Wait, slow down.”
Marilyn laughed and held up her hand. “Wait! You aren’t going to put that in your essay, are you? That I was as big as a horse?”
Patty looked up with a mischievous grin, “Yup. Payback for my name. Ok, go ahead.”
“Anyway, I complained to everyone about being past due, and I mean everyone: the bag boys, the mailman, the preacher, even telemarketers. I didn’t have to ask them to put me on their “do not call” list.” Marilyn chuckled at her own joke.
“Just a sec…’do not call list’. Ok, shoot.”
“Of course your dad, poor thing - he suffered the brunt of my ranting. I was so frustrated. And I kept hearing the same answer from everyone, over and over.
Marilyn sat back and grinned, watching her daughter copy down the last sentence. “I bet you get an A on this essay.”
“Quit stalling, mom.” Patty was charged up now, her embarrassment forgotten. “What did they say?”
“Well, they all kept telling me, ‘Just have patience.’ And so I did. Two weeks late, mind you, but I finally had patience--Patience Grace Lattimer, 7 pounds, 3 ounces of screaming baby girl.”
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