Since I told you yesterday how to parent, I thought today I would share an example from my WIP Ægir’s Wife on how NOT to parent… As you finally get to meet Dr. Nancy Dickens, Kirsty’s mum.
This was the last time, she had decided that when her mother greeted the news of her pregnancy with a heavy sigh and launched into her current diatribe on how could she be so careless, wasn’t one child enough for her to manage, what about the career that they had spent good money preparing her for.
Monika fidgeted on the chair as her mother’s voice lowered into that deathly silent scream, “You could have at least had the decency to wait until after you were properly married.”
Bjorn’s hand covered hers over their unborn girls, “Your daughter and I are very much married, Missus Dickens.”
Monika began to kick the leg of table, probably sensing the change in her other father’s tone of voice. Kirsty smiled…fathers. Despite everything, especially this incubator’s opinions, that was how she wanted it. One big family.
“Your ridiculous barbarian customs aside, my daughter deserved better. We had always planned a lovely church wedding. Followed by a reception at one of the stately country homes of the gentry. All of her friends and family there,” Nancy Dickens continued as her husband raised his third glass of champagne and drained the whole thing in a single gulp.
“Your friends, mother. The people that you want to impress,” she sighed as Monika kicked the table harder. She wished with everything inside of her that Georgia had not fallen and broken her arm. She had tried to get a hold of Roz to see if she could watch Monika, but no such luck. She had even tried to reschedule this week’s brunch, but her mother insisted that they had important things to discuss.
Kirsty had foolishly even looked forward to sharing the news of her pregnancy with her parents since she had not felt comfortable participating in the video call when Bjorn and Mikael shared the news with Petrine and Olaf. She swallowed hard and tried her best to fight back tears at the thought she had truly failed her mother-in-law. Petrine’s disappointment and rejection hurt so much worse than this woman’s had in many years.
She raised her glass of juice, ignoring the slight shake in her hands she took a sip as her mother went on, “You have spoiled everything again, Kirsty.” Her mother gave her that stern look that she knew preceded one of the woman’s lectures.
“There is a managerial position in the OT department open at Children’s Hospital, but of course this pregnancy ruins another career opportunity for you. I suppose you will even want to take the full year’s maternity leave off,” the woman frowned and shook her head.
“Actually, my wife won’t be returning to work at all once our daughters are born,” Bjorn replied in a low tone as he clutched his fork tighter.
“What? What misogynistic malarkey is that? Young man, I know that you are from some backwards God-forsaken place that no one has ever heard of, but let me tell you that is not how it is done in civilized countries. Women…”
“Civilized?” His voice was louder this time, so much so that Monika began to rock back and forth in her chair with her hands covering her ears as she hummed.
“For the record, our culture has always been light years ahead of yours in terms of women’s right. Our women, not only had complete control of their homes, including the wealth, but they fought alongside of us. Something you still deny your female soldiers. So do not lecture me on women’s rights,” he said as he stared directly at her mother.
“As for civilized…I am sure it has been years since your posh ass did, but try taking the Tube one morning during rush hour, then let’s talk about it. Oh, and while we are on the subject, once our little girls are born, I am taking my family back home. Where we all belong,” he finished as Kirsty watched the fork bend in his fingers.
“What? My daughter become just some haus frau and baby factory? We raised her for better than that. We invested too much money in her education. The best schools, private piano lessons, ballet…well she was never any good for that. Too tall and…not the right body shape, of course. But that is beside the point.”
“Oh, no, that is the point, Missus Dickens. You have always seen nothing but the things you think are wrong with your child. You know until we came here, until I met you, I could never understand why a woman as smart, as intelligent, as strong and caring as my wife could have so much trouble accepting our love,” he turned to her and smiled tightly, “I do now.”