Shotgun Wedding

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Jackie woke up at 7:00 a.m. She began her day as usual. She showered, got dressed, straightened her hair, did her make-up, ate a delicious bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch Cereal for breakfast, brushed her pearly whites, and left for school at 8:00, like every other day. Luckily for her, she started her day much later than her classmates because she had an open period, first hour, which left her with time to sleep in. But this week was special; it was homecoming week! Hallways were decorated from floor to ceiling with signs, posters, pictures, and streamers. Jackie looked forward to the decorations that fill the hallways every year, and she loved seeing some of the crazy outfits people wore. Togas, Halloween costumes, and 80’s clothing drew plenty of attention.
This particular day, it was color day. Jackie was a sophomore, so she had worn green. She went through her day as usual; second period- geometry; third period-literature; fourth period- preschool; and finally fifth period-lunch.
Jackie was also lucky enough to have a cousin at school; her name was Danielle. She and Jackie had lunch together and spent every day talking about everything from old memories to school work. Danielle was a junior and her t-shirt color was yellow for color day. They had gone out to lunch and decided to go to Wendy’s. Their typical meal was an order of french fries and a chocolate frosty. Normal people would usually eat their fries, and then enjoy their frosty. You see, Danielle and Jackie were a bit strange. They liked to dip their french fries into their frosty. It was something about mixing the sweet with the salty that made that concoction delicious. While enjoying their sweet and salty mixture, they began talking.
“I think back to when we were little and realize that I have always been taller than you. In a majority of our pictures, it is always me picking you up or you sitting on my lap.”
Laughing, Danielle said, “ I know! Too funny! You are seven months younger than me and yet you are still taller than me. God! I wish I wasn’t so short!”
Jackie replied, “Neli, you’re not short, I am just tall for my age. I mean look at my dad; he is 6’6.” I obviously took his genes. Your parents aren’t short either; you will eventually grow.”
“Hopefully. I could definitely use a few inches,” Neli stated.
Jackie’s parents also explained to her about how mean she was as a child. She used to grab people’s face if she was mad, or simply to gain their attention.
When Danielle and Jackie were very young, their families took a trip to Walt Disney World. They had rented out a house that had a huge pool in a fenced off backyard. Jackie and Danielle were outside with their Auntie Shawn. They were chasing each other around the pool and Jackie pushed Danielle in the pool. Thankfully it was in the shallow water and Danielle was able to walk out. She pushed her in because she wanted Danielle to be “it.” Jackie was really bad at verbally expressing her emotions; instead, she would get physical. She learned pretty quickly that this was the wrong way to express herself. She spent many of her days in time out because of her behavior. This occurrence was brought to Jackie’s attention many years down the line, and she still apologizes about it all the time.
Then, Jackie came to a realization that she and Danielle were only 7 months apart in age, but they were a year apart in school. It was weird to think about it, in that sort of way. School age really means nothing; Jackie and Danielle were at the same maturity level.
Another conversation struck up, it was about getting married one day.
“Jackie, I really love Steven. Danielle had a boyfriend of 1 year. His name was Steven, and she was madly in love with this guy. They talked over the phone for hours on end, drowned each other’s cell phones with text messages, and constantly sent things to each other by mail. There was one thing that had gotten in their way, it was the fact that Danielle lived in Mt. Prospect, Illinois, and Steven lived in Sanibel Island, Florida. They had a strong, long distance relationship. Danielle was head over heels for Steven. She could see her marrying him in the future. Jackie had said she wanted to wait until she was at least 23 before she got married, and then have a child by like 24 years old. Danielle was in the same ballpark. Jackie wanted to follow in her mother’s footsteps, or so she thought. Jackie had thought her parents had her a couple years after they were married.
Then, something sparked in Jackie’s mind. She was trying to put two-and-two together. Her parent’s wedding picture is framed in her living room, and on the bottom of that frame is their date of marriage, October, 30, 1993. Then Jackie thought, “no way”. Her birthday was January, 22, 1994. That’s only three months after her parents got married. Her first thought was, “Am I adopted, and my parents never told me?” She didn’t notice her mother with a pregnant belly in the wedding picture. She was sure that it would have been obvious to see if her mother was pregnant because she would have been six months along.
Then, Danielle chimed in, “Jackie, your parents would have told you if you were adopted. That’s not something that they would keep from you. But you are right; there is only three months between October and January.” Danielle was reassuring Jackie that she was not adopted.
Before the girls could finish their conversation, the bell rang, and it was time to continue the school day. The only thing that was going through Jackie’s mind was “Is this true? Am I just crazy and have dates mixed up? Am I having an off day?” She couldn’t quite figure it out. Until finally the day was over, and it was time to go home.
Jackie had to take the smelly, yellow bus, full of loud teenagers home, while she was still in a puzzled state. She walked home from the corner of Orchard and Cleveland to her house, which was about five houses down. She casually walked in the house and looked at that picture in her living room she studied the picture, and the date engraved on the golden frame very hard. It wasn’t changing. Jackie blinked a few times, rubbed her eyes, and still, no change. She then decided to strike up a conversation with her mother about her curiosity.
She said, “Mom, today I was thinking about the date on the bottom of your wedding picture, and it says October 30, 1993. Is that the day you and dad got married?”
Her mother replied, “Yes, your father and I were married the day before Halloween.”
Jackie then proceeded to ask, “Mom, I have a question that I would like answered truthfully. Was I adopted?”
Her mother answered, “Jacqueline Eve, are you crazy? Do you ever think I would keep something like that from you? Of course not! I gave birth to you on January 22, 1994, and it was one of the best days of my life!”
Jackie, still puzzled said, “Well if you were married on October 30, 1993, and I was born January 22, 1994, then you were pregnant with me at your wedding!?”
Her mother then said, “I knew you were going to figure that out one day. It is nothing I have to be ashamed of.”
She then began to tell her daughter the story behind her pregnancy at her wedding.
“I went to the doctor with complaints of bad cramps all the time as a teenager and as a young adult. I knew that problems dealing with female organs, needed to me monitored by a gynecologist. The thought of lying on a cold bed, with nothing but a sheet while your questions are in the process of being answered truly did scare me,” she said.
When I had gone when I was about 22 years old, the doctor told me that I had a large amount of scar tissue building up and I was in the early stages of Endometriosis and I had a very small chance of being able to conceive a child.
The doctor said “If you don’t try to have children now, your time can run out.”
I had then talked with your father, who at the time was my fiancé. He was concerned too because it was his dream to have kids of his own one day. The conversation was then brought up to my parents, your grandparents, and your father’s parents. They were very understanding of my condition. After discussing, your father and I took the doctor’s word for it and we became pregnant with you. Now, I know I tell you all the time to wait until you’re married to have children, but your father and I were already engaged to be married, and we were ready for you.”
After Jackie’s mom told her the story of how she came to be, Jackie had mixed emotions. She wasn’t sure what to think.
“Mommy, I am so sorry I thought I was a mistake. I feel like I’m more of a miracle child.” Jackie admitted
“You are a miracle child sweetheart.” Her mom said.
“Thank you mom, that’s all I needed to hear. With that explanation, I understand what you went through. I know that you and dad were blessed at a young age, considering your condition,” Jackie said.
“And as you know, I love having these talks with you. It makes me feel like a good mother when my child comes to me with questions. I want you to ask me questions, that is what I am here for,” Jackie’s mom explained.
“After I learned about your story, it made me realize that your determination to have another child after me was strong, even though you only had a small opening to be able to have anymore children before the Endometriosis took over your body. God blessed you with your dream of having another girl three years later. Mom, I have realized now, more than ever, that you are my idol. You have made the biggest impact on my life, and I love you for that,“ Jackie replied.
Jackie’s mom in tears said, “I love you too sweetheart, and don’t you ever forget that. Your father and I were so happy that we were able to have both you and your sister. My dream was to have at least two little girls to raise, and love unconditionally and my dream came true.”





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