One cannot be humble and aware of oneself at the same time.
- Madeleine L'Engle, A Circle of Quiet
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It was a dark Saturday morning and by this time the sky was already grey and swirled as if there was a developing tornado. It was her 5th birthday and Sammy was crying. The over-whelming gusts of wind that forced itself against the window along with the absence of her father circled together to create a whirlwind of disappointment. It was only her 5th birthday and Sammy had already got a glimpse of what the rest of her life would be like.
She was a beautiful blonde girl with crystal blue mesmerizing eyes. In many people’s eyes, she was viewed as an extravagant little princess who would grow up to be the ultimate queen of beauty. She didn’t look much like her father, only her mother. As she grew older, her father became less of a figure and more of a conception. It was hard enough for Sammy to be raised with two parents that cared little about her, but there was nothing more she wanted than to be raised in a loving home with a happy family.
Whenever Sammy went to school, she would paste a grand smile on her face, almost as if it were a sticker, and as soon as she returned home, she would rip the sticker right off her face until she had to slap it back on for the next day. Her ‘friends’ and classmates always assumed that at home she lived a perfect life and that her family was wealthy. They made assumptions that she had nothing to worry about because “ her daddy’s money was all she needed.” Unfortunately that was not the case for her at all. In fact, that was so far from the truth. Sammy may have had perfect hair and a nanny (Maria) who prepares great lunches with cute notes, and clothes that look like something out of Vogue magazine or Chanel, but in reality, her life at home was worse than imaginable. As far as she knew, her father neglected to visit her, and her mother occasionally bothered to pick her up from school. In fact, her mom was so ‘busy’ that Sammy’s nanny, Maria, was essentially her mother. But to all the kids at school, they observed her life from a different perspective. They saw a picture-perfect life.
As she crashed into her bed, her head spinning around the room, she scanned over the timeline of Polaroid’s surrounding her room. Her 16th birthday was only a few weeks away and all she could seem to think about was how terrible her life had been. As she sat buried in her bed, she looked outside to the leaves of the autumn maple trees and felt as though while she looked outside, the leaves began changing colors. Meanwhile, downstairs, Maria had planned on making Sammy’s 16th birthday the best one yet. Despite her past medical history, she went above and beyond trying to please her on the decorations and the food and activities. She wanted to assure Sammy that at least she was the one person Sammy could count on. Upon the arrival of her Birthday, she didn’t seem too thrilled. Not knowing what was ahead of her, the room looked quite decorated and charming but it seemed that no one was going to show up.
The room was filled with air of depression and gloom. Time went by and neither Maria nor the guests showed up. What more was expected out of her life? Sammy didn’t expect a great turn out, but she didn’t think it would be this devastatingly empty. In that moment of complete silence, she was startled by the sound of the doorbell. Sammy reluctantly approached the door and as she opened it, there stood an unfamiliarly tall uniformed guy, she was muddled and wasn’t sure what to say. “May I help you?” she said with a particularly snobby attitude. Ignoring her brashness, the officer merely replied: “Is an adult home?” She accusingly asked why as if he was attacking her. “Unfortunately a terrible accident has been reported and the only address we have for contact is this house. I’m sorry ma’am. So is there an adult home?” At that moment, Sammy’s world came to a dramatic pause. Her heart sank into her stomach, barely conscious enough to stand straight, and she was physically incapable of responding to this officer who had now been patiently waiting in the doorway for 7 minutes. Faintly in the background, Sammy barely heard a mumbled yet defined man trying to recapture her attention. She knew what the worst scenario would be, yet she wasn’t able to grasp onto her thoughts well enough to pull it all together. She had already decided that if it was about her mom or dad it wouldn’t affect her, but she knew that the officer wouldn’t have asked what adults were home if it was about her parents. Facing reality, she answered no, sharing with him that she was waiting for Maria who ditched the party that she threw for Sammy. The officer’s head suddenly, yet expectedly dropped and his voice sympathetically softened as he explained to her that Maria had a heart attack while driving and she crash the car into a telephone pole. Sammy’s greatest most insufferable nightmare was another problem that had invaded her life to the point of suffocation. She refused to believe the words that were overwhelmingly filling her ears. At this point, she felt like her pain would endure indefinitely. She wasn’t able to fathom the idea that the only meaningful person in her life was no longer there to teach her rules for the rest of her life. She became hysterical and uncontrollable and managed to neglect any type of support that was handed to her.
Maria’s death was devastating to Sammy, yet she somehow had to pull herself together for the funeral. She could not stop thinking of how much she misses Maria, her best friend and confidant is no longer there. Maria’s death took a toll on Sammy. She eventually decided to start afresh and move to another city to begin a new chapter of her life. The 25th Chapter to be precise.
Up until her 25 birthday, Samantha Lee Cavanaugh was not able to forget the moment she was told her best friend, mom, and caretaker was dead. Still embedded in her head were the words that the police shared with her, expecting his sympathetic voice to soothe her. Since then, she moved away from her devastatingly memorable town she called her home and moved to New York where she discovered her birth mother now lived. Although she was not particularly adopted, she preferred to refer to Maria as her real mom even though she wasn’t. For some unexplainable reason, she decided to look for Kris, her birth mother. Whether it was for closure or with the intention to gain a relationship with her, Samantha was resilient in finding Kris. It only took her about 2 and a half months before locating her mother. Upon finally gaining the courage to visit Kris, Samantha left her apartment feeling great that day. She jumped into her car eager to reconcile with her mother playing a continuous loop of throwback songs to get her in the right mindset.
When she arrived at her mom’s house, she could see a perfect family through the window, just like the one she had imagined when she was 16. She saw them laughing together, eating together, and acknowledging each other’s love. Samantha was heartbroken, but only because at that moment she saw what she wished her mom would have done for her. On the contrary, she had never been happier in her life to realize that her mom, may not have raised her right, but at least she caught herself in time to give it another try. In that moment, Looking through the window of her mom’s house was the first time in 25 years that Sammy felt Family love.