In honor of Mother’s Day, we have planned a special week of content from some of our favorite authors! Day 1 features Lauren and Michael from Back To You by Priscilla Glenn. If you did not read the epilogue of this amazing book – here it is! Enjoy!
“Hey, Mom. Happy Mother’s Day!”
“Thank you, sweetheart,” Lauren’s mom said. “I just got your card. Daddy and I are still laughing.”
Lauren smiled as she slid a little further beneath her comforter, shifting the phone to her other ear. “I cracked up in the middle of the store. In fact, I made such a scene that two people came over to pick the card from the shelf and read it themselves.”
Lauren’s mother laughed. “I’m putting it up on the fridge. Your brother will get a kick out of it later.”
“Hey, Laur?” Michael called from just outside the bedroom door. “You want coffee?”
“Is that my son-in-law?” her mother asked.
“No, it’s some random guy I picked up at the grocery store last night. He looked kind of cute, so I figured why not?”
“Very funny,” her mother drawled, and Lauren laughed.
“Well, who else would it be?”
“Put him on,” she said. “Daddy wants to get central air this summer, and he’s set on doing it himself. I’m hoping I can get Michael to talk him out of it.”
Lauren rolled her eyes. “Michael?” she called.
A second later, he popped his head into the bedroom. “Yeah?”
“My mom wants to talk to you so she can get you in the middle of an argument between her and my dad regarding central air installation.”
He laughed as he walked farther into the room and reached for the phone she outstretched to him. “Hey, Ma,” he said before he mouthed “Coffee?” to Lauren. She nodded and he smiled before saying, “I refuse to take sides before I hear all the facts.”
Lauren smiled, and he winked at her before he left the room with the phone tucked between his shoulder and his ear.
She closed her eyes and reached her arms over her head as she pointed her toes, stretching her body before letting it fall limp with a contented sigh. Her eyes were still closed when she heard a tiny knock on the door, and she cracked one eye and lifted her head to see Erin standing in the doorway.
“Hey,” Lauren said, pushing up on her elbows. “Good morning, sleepyhead.”
Erin smiled and walked into the room. “I’ve been up for a while. I just didn’t know if you were awake,” she said as she climbed up onto the bed. “I have something for you.”
“You do?” Lauren asked, sitting up, and Erin nodded, handing her a tiny folded square of pink tissue paper.
“How sweet of you,” she said, genuinely touched by the gesture. “What did I do to deserve this?”
Erin shrugged sheepishly, and Lauren leaned over and ran her hand over the top of Erin’s hair before unraveling the filmy paper. Neatly folded inside was a small crystal heart dangling from a thin black cord. Lauren held it up, and the pendant twirled from side to side, refracting little rainbows of light from the window.
“Do you like it?”
“It’s beautiful! I love it,” Lauren said, smiling at Erin before she held it up a little higher to admire it in the light. “In fact,” she said, sitting up straight, “I’m going to put it on right now.”
Erin watched with a smile as Lauren fastened it behind her neck. “How does it look?”
Erin reached into the neck of her T-shirt and pulled out the exact same necklace, holding it out for Lauren to see. “It’s perfect. Now we match.”
“Well, now I like it even more,” Lauren said with a smile.
Erin grinned, but then her smile faltered as she looked down. “I have something else too.”
“Two presents?” Lauren asked, surprised.
“Well, no. It’s just this,” Erin said, holding out a card in a lavender envelope. Lauren hadn’t even noticed her holding it when she walked in.
The look on Erin’s face had changed; the excitement from earlier had transformed into something that looked to Lauren almost like anxiety.
She couldn’t help but feel somewhat apprehensive in response as she slid her finger beneath the edge of the envelope and pulled out the card.
On the front was a large sun overlooking a meadow full of flowers, and inside the sun was written:
Hundreds of stars in the pretty sky,
Hundreds of shells on the shore together,
Hundreds of birds that go singing by,
Hundreds of lambs in the sunny weather,
Hundreds of dewdrops to greet the dawn,
Hundreds of bees in the purple clover,
Hundreds of butterflies on the lawn,
Lauren opened the card and read the final line:
But only one mother the world-wide over.
She cupped her hand to her mouth as her eyes flooded with tears. Because underneath that, in her careful, rounded hand, Erin had written:
Can I call you Mom?
Lauren looked up to see Erin watching her carefully. And when she dropped the card and held out her arms, Erin flew into them, wrapping her little arms around Lauren’s body and squeezing.
“Of course you can,” Lauren squeaked out, planting a kiss on top of her head. “Of course you can, sweetheart.”
Erin laughed softly against her shoulder, and Lauren smiled as she closed her eyes, forcing the tears down her cheeks.
“Well, then, Happy Mother’s Day,” Erin whispered.
Lauren pressed her lips together as her chin trembled. “Thank you,” she finally managed before she kissed her head again.
“Erin,” Michael called from the kitchen. “Get in here and clean up this mess!”
“Okay!” she called before she pulled back and smiled up at Lauren. Then she hopped off the bed and ran from the room.
Lauren looked down at the card on the bed, and she lifted it, reading it one more time as a fresh round of tears spilled from her eyes.
“So I think I managed to get out of that unscathed—”
Lauren looked up as Michael entered the room with two cups of coffee, his words cutting off when he saw her face.
“What happened?” he asked.
Lauren held up the card, and Michael pulled his brow together as he placed the mugs down on the dresser and crawled onto the bed, lying on his side next to her as he took the card from her.
She watched his expression soften as he read it, and then he slowly lifted his eyes to hers.
“You didn’t know about this?” she asked.
Michael shook his head. “A few days ago, she asked for her allowance early. But it was when Mrs. Brigante was coming by to take her on one of their lunch dates. I just figured she wanted to try to pay.” Michael trailed off, looking back down at the card before he lifted his eyes back to Lauren.
She smiled softly. “I said yes, by the way.”
Michael placed the card on the bed as he scooted toward her, wrapping his arm around her lower back and pulling her further against him. He ran his hand softly over her cheek before he smiled. “Did you stare at her blankly for ten minutes before answering, like you did when I proposed?”
She smirked. “Of course not. It’s only entertaining watching you squirm.”
He grinned before he leaned in and kissed her softly. “Thank you.”
“You don’t have to thank me,” Lauren said as she snuggled into his side. “You know how much I love her. I’m beyond honored.”
Michael laid back with a sigh, blinking up at the ceiling as he intertwined their fingers. “You know, I never believed in the idea of maternal instincts.”
Lauren lifted her chin and looked up at him, and he smiled down at her sadly. “I mean, between my mother, and Erin’s mother,” he looked back to the ceiling and shook his head. “I just thought that all the crap on television, the mom who bakes cookies with you and kisses your boo-boos, the one who is always there to talk about your problems…I just never believed it.”
Michael turned his head and looked at her. “But watching you with her? I know it’s a real thing now. Even before this,” he said, holding up the card. “Even before the words. You were already an amazing mother to her.” He leaned down and kissed her temple. “Now it’s just official.”
Lauren played with the end of his T-shirt. “You think I’m an amazing mom?” she asked softly.
“I really do,” he answered without hesitation.
She chewed the side of her lip as she took their clasped hands and rested them on her lower abdomen. “Amazing enough to be the mother of two?”
For a second there was only silence. Then she felt him shift beside her, and she lifted her eyes to see him staring down at her.
“What does…are you…?” he fumbled.
Lauren sat up slowly. “I took the test this morning.”
She kept her eyes carefully on him as he stared at her in shock.
And then a breathy laugh fell from his lips, and Lauren smiled.
He lunged forward, taking her face in his hands as he pulled her mouth to his. “Oh my God,” he said between kisses. “Are you serious? You’re not kidding, are you?”
Lauren laughed. “I’m not kidding.”
He kissed her again before he pulled back, still looking at her in awe, and she laughed again.
Then he lowered his head and planted a soft kiss on her belly.
She smiled down at him as she laid back onto the pillows, and when he gently rested his head on her abdomen, she closed her eyes and brought her hand to his hair, running her fingers through it.
“So, do you think you’re ready for this?”
“Without a doubt,” he said softly.
“All of it?” she asked. “The swollen ankles, the mood swings, the middle-of-the-night trips to get me some impossible-to-find flavor of ice cream?”
He laughed softly. “I’ll get you everything you could ever want. I promise.”
And Lauren smiled, because lying there beside him, with his child growing in her belly, she already had it.
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