Rose and Basil had a baby girl, and they named her Epiphany.
Partly because she was born on January 6th, and partly because their OB/GYN Dr. Oren Coles informed them that there was a good chance the baby would inherit her mother’s deficient short-term memory.
They figured, as it had been for Rose all her life (the pregnancy had been a particularly interesting several months, as every morning since she began showing, Rose would awaken, take one look at her swollen belly, and freak out and then need to be talked down by Basil–after he reminded his wife that he was her husband and not some stranger sleeping next to her), that their girl’s existence would be filled with a neverending series of epiphanies.
But it turned out that the child, on the contrary, not only remembered things well but remembered everything well. When she was old enough that such things could be done with reliable results, she was tested and it was official: Epiphany possessed an eidetic memory (it was apparently a recessive gene on Basil’s side of the family).
For a long time, Rose was not only disappointed her daughter did not share her genes, she was downright resentful of it. She and Epiphany would walk out the front door and Rose would marvel that the sky was blue; Epiphany would respond with “Yes…and those cloud formations look so much like the ones that were in the sky last October 16th. Weird.” Rose would ask her daughter “How do I look?”; Epiphany would respond with “Great–just like you did two days ago, last Thursday, and seventeen days before that, the other times in the past month you wore those exact same clothes and did your hair the exact same way.” Rose found it a bit maddening at times.
That all changed many years later, the day Epiphany graduated from high school–as the valedictorian.
Most of Epiphany’s speech came and went for Rose without her retaining much of it–not retaining much was kind of her thing–but the words Epiphany directed towards her mother stuck:
Mom: Thank you for bringing me into this world. Thank you for raising me. Thank you for being the best Mom you could be.
I know you named me at birth under the assumption that we’d be alike, and I know it hasn’t turned out that way. In fact, I know in some ways we couldn’t be more different.
But I love you just the same, and if I remember correctly–and I’m pretty sure I do–you love me, too.
But barely. As of today, the lifetime tally of Mom moments is 973 good, 971 bad. So, in conclusion, Mom: I hope you and Dad got me a nice graduation cake and gift.
Rose suddenly panicked and squeezed Basil’s hand. Anticipating what his wife was going to ask him, he leaned in and whispered in Rose’s ear “A frozen half-eaten Cookie Puss left over from my graduation, and a six-month trial gift subscription to Cat Fancy. We’re good.”
Rose sat back and smiled. She didn’t even realize until today that there had been a running tally of her Mom performance, but she was relieved that the tally was–and from the sound of it, would continue to be–in her favor.