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Authors: Melody Carlson

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Anything but Normal (24 page)

BOOK: Anything but Normal
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Her mom nodded. “I think that’s wise, sweetie. She’s such a cutie pie too. She looks so much like you did.”

Within minutes Sophie was holding her very own baby in her arms. The baby was so perfect, so sweet, so complete, that it took Sophie’s breath away. She touched a soft cheek, and the baby turned her head and looked into her eyes. Sophie’s eyes filled with tears, and it felt as if someone had just slid a dull knife into her heart. “Here, Mom,” she said quickly. “Please, just take her.”

“But, honey, that wasn’t—”

“Just take her. Now.”

Her mom took the baby and left the room. Once again Sophie cried. She sobbed so hard that she got the hiccups. Even then she couldn’t stop crying. Why was this so painful? Why wasn’t she just relieved? After all, it was over now. For months that’s all she had wanted—for it to be over. And now that it was over, she was a basket case.

“Here.” Mom handed her a glass of water. “Drink this.”

Sophie slowly drank as Mom rubbed her shoulders. “You did good in there, honey. Real good. And it’s only natural that you should feel sad now. You’re only human, sweetie. If you didn’t react like this, I’d wonder where your heart was.”

“My heart feels like it’s in pieces.”

“I know, honey.”

“She’s so pretty, Mom.”

“She is. The attorney told me that the adoptive parents were practically delirious with joy.” She pointed to the huge bouquet of gorgeous pink tulips. “That’s from them.”

Sophie looked at the tulips and sighed. “She’ll be in good hands, won’t she, Mom?”

“You know she will.”

“How big was she anyway?”

“She was nine pounds and seven ounces.”

“Wow.” Sophie shook her head. “No wonder it hurt so much.”

After a short nap, the attorney came in with the final paperwork. As she signed her name, she felt that dull knife slicing through her heart again. “I’m not sure which hurt more,” she told him as she handed the papers back, “giving birth or giving her away.”

“Are you having second thoughts?” He peered down at her with a creased brow. “Because you don’t have to do this, Sophie. I’ll admit the adoptive parents would be crushed. But it’s your choice, you know that.”

“I know.” She sighed. “And I know it’s the right thing to do. I just didn’t expect it to hurt this much.”

He made a sad smile. “Maybe that’s how God felt.”


“You know, when he gave up his Son.”

She considered this.

“It’s a huge sacrifice, Sophie. Very unselfish too.”

She swallowed against the lump in her throat. “But it’s because I love her that I can do it . . . even if it does hurt.”

“Unfortunately love hurts sometimes.”

She nodded. “You got that right.”

Sophie knew she wasn’t the same person after going through nine months of pregnancy and giving birth. Oh, sure, she could pretend to be the same funny, witty girl as before, but she knew she had changed. And that was okay. Some of the changes had to do with how she looked at life, and even more how she looked at others. She realized this experience had forced her to grow up—as a human and as a Christian.

Although she felt she’d been forced to grow up a little too quickly, facing questions and decisions that most teens would rather postpone, she still knew that her life as a teenager wasn’t over—not like she’d believed it had been before. Because now she knew for certain that God really did give fresh starts. He really did allow “do-overs.”

So when Sophie recommitted herself to her purity pledge, she did it in private. And when she felt the reassurance that God was restoring her purity—in his own way—she knew she would keep this moment stashed away deep inside of her. No way was she going to make this a big public show. This time it was a vow between her and God—alone. And this time she knew she would keep that vow. With God’s help, she would keep it.

Also available from
Melody Carlson:

Just Another Girl

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been stuck in the middle. Like being dealt a loser’s hand with no more turns to take, my luck seemed to run out even before I was born. My older sister, Rose, got all the good stuff. Not only did she get the looks in the family, but being an energetic and fairly demanding child, she got the best part of my parents’ attention too. I’m pretty sure this is true, because I’ve seen all the photos of young Rose with my parents—happy snapshots of the three of them laughing and having fun, all taken before I came along.

By the time I was born, only two years later, my mom was already getting a little worn-out by Rose’s antics. And I’ve heard that my dad was severely disappointed that I was not the son he’d been longing for. If I’d been a boy, I would’ve been named Norman Nelson Flynn, after my dad, but because I was just another girl, my dad left the name-assigning task to my mother, a frustrated botanist who never graduated from college. Naturally, she decided to call me Aster. This is the name of a common and insignificant little flower that’s not very pretty—some people even consider it a weed. Of course, my mom swears she loves asters for their simplicity and hardiness, but I’m still not convinced.

When I was about two, the third baby came along, and if it wasn’t bad enough that she was another girl (my dad had already purchased an expensive baseball mitt for her), she also suffered from birth defects. Fortunately for this baby, she was quiet and good-natured, and so soft and creamy-white-looking that my mother named her Lily.

My dad hung around for a few more years, but it was easy to see, even for a little kid, that the man was miserable. I remember trying my best to make him happy. And knowing his aversion to his youngest daughter and her special needs, I would try to humor Lily if she ever cried when he was around. I would even try to act like a boy and play ball with Dad in the yard. But, looking back, I can see now that we were steadily losing him. And just before I turned ten, Dad left our house for work one day and never came back. That’s when my mom gave me Lily. “You take care of her,” she said that summer day. “She likes you.”

That was seven years ago, and it seems like I’ve been taking care of Lily ever since. It’s not that I don’t love Lily. I do. But sometimes I just get tired, or, like my mom likes to say about herself, “I’m totally burned-out.” Of course, I don’t say this back to my mom because that would be like throwing fuel onto the fire. Why go there? But sometimes, and more often lately, I think that I deserve to have a life of my own too.

Melody Carlson
is the award-winning author of around two hundred books, many of them for teens, including the Diary of a Teenage Girl series, the TrueColors series, and the Carter House Girls series. She and her husband met years ago while volunteering as Young Life counselors. They continue to serve on the Young Life adult committee in central Oregon today. Visit Melody’s website at

Aster Flynn Wants a
Life of Her Own . . .

But will her family get in her way?

Available at your local bookstore.

BOOK: Anything but Normal
13.24Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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