A mother’s belated understanding

I’ve started final revisions of My Dear One’s sequel, My Own, in preparation of sending it to my editor, for you guessed it, her to send back to me for more revisions! But that is the nature of the authoring beast—you think you’re finished, and someone, maybe yourself, shows you how wrong you are. That said, I find myself falling in love with this story all over again, and I can’t wait, for its eventual release!

Until then, and in honour of the month of May, the one month of the year we—hopefully—take special time to show our mothers we care, I share this snippet from my WIP, of a mother’s belated understanding of the pain she’s caused her children…

Excerpt, My Own, copyright Deborah Small, All Rights Reserved

Dianna puffed a disbelieving breath. “Are you suggesting they feel unworthy?”

Mother Mary offered a faint shrug. “Each feels… lost. Neither has learned to harness her power, shine without aid of your company. Each only understands that she feels bereft without you to brighten her days, and naturally, holds you responsible for her emptiness.”

“But… that’s so unfair.” Dianna scowled. “And it can’t be right. I was always in trouble, as a child. No one ever accused me of brightening their day. Only of ruining it. Mama frequently accused me of causing her migraines.”

“And you did.” Mama entered the room, a young boy in her arms, his chubby legs hooked on her short, too-slender, waist. His head was turned into her neck, and all Dianna could make out of his face partially hidden by dark tousled curls, was a plump and flushed cheek. And stubborn chin. Breath gasped from her constricted chest.

“But Mother Mary is right.” Mama stopped short of the settee, her gaze narrowing on Dianna in brief warning to stay where she was, and when Dianna forced her knees to lock and body to straighten and still, rather than rush over and brush the child’s hair from his face–verify whose child he truly was as she so desperately wanted to do–the countess proffered an apologetic smile. In a gentle tone, she continued, “You also brightened my life, Daughter. I admired, and loathed you. You were everything I wasn’t and wished to be: brave, and independent. Persistent. You never backed down when something, or someone—” She glanced at the child she held, smiled when she looked up— “was important to you. You’re a fighter, something I never was. Never will be. I miss that, your spirit, your contrariness. You kept your father and I honest, forced us to examine our decisions, and though I know we rarely changed our minds, Dianna, you must know; you caused us to think. I didn’t always like the thoughts your comments and arguments evoked, but that didn’t change the fact you challenged me—and your father—to expand our repertoire of knowledge, if only to prepare for the next battle. You made us better people, for your presence in our lives.”

Her smile grew sad as she resumed course for the settee. “Which is why Mother Mary is correct, when she says that we are not the same without you. The house is too quiet, everyone too polite. And now, without Elaina… I never realized it, until today, hearing Elizabeth. But she’s right. William’s too young for her, and she’s too young for the world. There is no one here for her. She’s lonely, and I’ve been so wrapped up in William—” She kissed the boy’s head, and eyes glimmering, offered a regretful smile. “I am ashamed to admit, that I was too involved in my own worries, to notice how desperately lonely she was.” She sat the boy on the sofa, handed him a cookie. “Inverness.”

Inverness scuttled into the room, but Dianna had eyes only for the boy. “Yes, my lady?”

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“Stay with Master William, while he gets acquainted with his sister. I’ll be back later. I’ve some mending to do.”

Dianna frowned, and looked at her mother. Mending? After that heart-felt confession, the countess was rushing off to sew? And then it struck her.

She meant Elizabeth.

Mama was going after Elizabeth. To try and make amends. To acknowledge–and hopefully help heal–her youngest daughter’s shattered soul. Apology and love Lizzy deserved to receive as much–if not more–from her eldest sister.


“Later, Dianna,” Mama said. “Let me talk to her first. For now, say hello to your little brother. Be careful he doesn’t wipe his nose on you. He has the sniffles.”


From a shy, timid girl I had become a woman of resolute character, who could no longer be frightened by the struggle with troubles. ~Anna Dostoevsky

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