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  • My sister Mia told me that Mom confirmed the story but it took a long time to get her to admit it. At first Mom denied it. Apparently, she had actually forgotten the whole thing had happened. But as she slowly started to remember, her eyes widened with realization.

    Then she asked, "Does Tom know about this?"
    "Yes," Mia said. "Chris told him too."
    "Oh my god. What a terrible thing to know about your father."

    My brother told me about it after I'd gone off to college. I'm the youngest of four kids. He's the oldest. He said he would scream and cry and jump on my father's back to try to get him to stop hitting her. It happened over and over.

    Is there anything about the story that surprised me? That my father freaked out about the expense of raising another child, so he beat his pregnant wife to induce a miscarriage? That my mother wanted a second son so much, so she defied him for months, for years even, to protect me? No, no, it all fit perfectly within character for both of them. And in retrospect there were too many clues during my childhood that corroborated the story.

    What did surprise me is that my mother had wiped out the memory. I assume that was a coping mechanism to eliminate cognitive dissonance.

    And it's amazing her first concern was that I'd have a terrible impression of my father. Sorry Mom, but amongst us kids, he already had an indelible reputation as an asshole.

    But that's in the past now. It turns out that my mother's love alone was more than enough to make up for everything else. The love of a mother or a father is not to be underestimated, nor taken for granted.

    Consider me very, very lucky.
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