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A woman in a material store | Source: Flickr
A woman in a material store | Source: Flickr

My Little Son Called a Saleswoman in a Store His Mommy - I Was Broken to Discover the Truth

Prenesa Naidoo
Jun 28, 2024
08:28 A.M.

Carol, her husband, Rob, and their son Jamie have a Saturday routine of errands and treats. As the day unfolds, everything turns out exactly as Carol planned for it. Until they get to a fabric store, where Carol looks for material to make Jamie's Halloween costume, only to uncover secrets that she didn't know lay in the foundation of her family. She is left trying to pick up the threads of grief that she didn't know she had.

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The day began like any other Saturday morning — errands and grocery shopping with my husband, Rob, and our six-year-old son, Jamie. But I didn't know that by the end, everything I understood about my life would be questioned.

A smiling little boy sitting on a stool | Source: Pexels

A smiling little boy sitting on a stool | Source: Pexels

"Mom," Jamie called from the backseat while we were at the car wash. "Can I get some ice cream?"

"If you're a good boy in the grocery store, then yes, we can get some ice cream on the way home," my husband said.

Jamie's face lit up and he beamed at his father.

"Are you sure about your costume for Halloween?" I asked him.

A car going through a car wash | Source: Pexels

A car going through a car wash | Source: Pexels

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Halloween was a few weeks away and I was going to make his costume by hand, as I had always done. But this time around, Jamie had changed his mind many times before deciding on which costume he wanted.

We had discussed him being a wizard, a tree, a spider, the ocean, and finally, he seemed to like the idea of being a ghost.

A child wearing a costume | Source: Pexels

A child wearing a costume | Source: Pexels

"It's cool, Mom," he told me while I poured milk into his cereal one morning. "Like, I'd be a friendly ghost. Not a scary one."

Up until this morning, my son seemed fine with being a ghost.

I just hoped that when we got to the fabric store, he would keep that in mind.

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"Yes," he said. "A ghost. Should I be called Casper?"

Rob chuckled beside me.

Children in ghost costumes | Source: Pexels

Children in ghost costumes | Source: Pexels

"Sure," I said, laughing at my child.

After the car wash, we went grocery shopping with Jamie on his best behavior. I knew him — if he had been promised ice cream, he wouldn't stop until he got it.

We walked up and down the aisles, Rob adding items to our cart as he spoke about meals he wanted me to cook.

A woman at a grocery store | Source: Pexels

A woman at a grocery store | Source: Pexels

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"Grilled fish tonight, Carol," he said. "That's the way to go."

Everything had gone along perfectly, especially Jamie who hummed to himself the entire time.

"One more stop, buddy," I said to him. "And then it's time for ice cream."

Grilled fish on a plate | Source: Pexels

Grilled fish on a plate | Source: Pexels

We got to the fabric store and I wandered through the aisles, trying to decide on the best material for my son's ghost costume.

Rob was nervously checking his phone, texting someone every few minutes. I chalked it up to the baseball game later that day — my husband had many flaws, and gambling on sports was one of them.

A man using his phone | Source: Unsplash

A man using his phone | Source: Unsplash

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I picked up my phone, ready to check the measurements that I had noted down when I saw a saleswoman walking toward us.

Rob looked at her and turned pale — which was strange in itself. But then it got even stranger.

My son, seeing the woman at the end of our row of fabric, suddenly sprinted off toward her, his little legs carrying him faster than I'd have thought possible. He stopped in front of the woman, staring up at her with wide innocent eyes.

Different types of fabric | Source: Unsplash

Different types of fabric | Source: Unsplash

"Are you my mommy?" he asked earnestly.

The saleswoman's face went pale, her eyes darting around, finally landing on a similarly shocked Rob.

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"I'm so sorry," I said. "I don't know what's gotten into him."

The woman looked from Rob to me, to Jamie.

A shocked woman standing against a wall | Source: Pexels

A shocked woman standing against a wall | Source: Pexels

"Come on," Rob said, picking Jamie up.

We took Jamie to an ice cream shop, we had promised him after all.

The entire time we sat there, Rob refused to meet my eye.

My mind raced. I couldn't understand what had happened. There was no way that Jamie would just run up to a stranger and ask a question of that nature. He knew something. Jamie had to have overheard or seen something. There was no other explanation for it.

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An ice cream shop | Source: Pexels

An ice cream shop | Source: Pexels

Later that evening, after I tucked Jamie into bed and settled down for story time, I knew I had to clear my conscience. I needed him to tell me the truth.

"Sweetie, why did you ask that woman if she was your mommy?" I asked gently.

"I heard Dad say that on the phone, and her picture was there, too," he replied simply.

"Dad said that the woman is your mommy?" I pressed, my voice barely a whisper.

A little boy lying in bed | Source: Unsplash

A little boy lying in bed | Source: Unsplash

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I didn't have a lot of time. Rob would come in to kiss Jamie goodnight soon.

My son nodded earnestly, his eyebrows raised — his own telltale sign of the truth.

I went to my bedroom and lay across the bed, trying to understand.

A woman lying across the bed hiding her face | Souce: Unsplash

A woman lying across the bed hiding her face | Souce: Unsplash

I waited for the weekend to pass, and on Monday after I dropped Jamie off at school, I went back to the store. Alone, this time. I had questions and they needed answers.

As I stepped into the store, I saw the woman restocking buttons in a little container.

"Are you having an affair with my husband?" I blurted out, my voice tense.

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An aerial view of different buttons | Source: Unsplash

An aerial view of different buttons | Source: Unsplash

"What? No! Of course not!" she exclaimed, her reaction seeming genuine.

"My son asked if you were his mother on Saturday, when we were in the store," I added, trying to piece together the fragments of our crumbling reality.

The same alarmed look crossed her face again. She glanced around hastily before grabbing my hand and leading me away.

"Not here," she said. "Come."

A person holding out their hand | Source: Unsplash

A person holding out their hand | Source: Unsplash

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She pulled me into a storage room, her eyes scanning my face for signs of understanding.

"I'm not sure what's going on," she said. "My name is Kaylee. And I don't know how this all happened. Or even how your son found out."

"Found out what?" I demanded, the urgency in my voice even frightened me.

Kaylee flinched at my tone.

A storage room | Source: Pexels

A storage room | Source: Pexels

"Maybe I'm not the one who should be telling you this. Please, ask your husband," she said, already turning away from me.

I went back home and tried to think of all the possibilities that could link Rob to Kaylee. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary, except the fact that my husband may have been cheating on me.

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I tried to sit down in my study and work, but tears kept streaming down my face as I tried to make sense of it all.

A person using a laptop | Source: Unsplash

A person using a laptop | Source: Unsplash

When Rob came home, he had a pizza in hand and was ready to sit down with Jamie and talk about their respective days.

I let everything slide until my son was sound in bed.

"Rob," I began, sitting on the couch. "We need to talk."

My husband closed his eyes and ran his hands through his hair.

A box of pizza | Source: Unsplash

A box of pizza | Source: Unsplash

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I told him everything — my visit back to the fabric store and the conversation I had with Kaylee.

"What does it all mean, Rob?" I asked. "I need you to tell me everything. It's one thing if you're doing something that I don't know about. But it's another thing when Jamie knows something that I don't."

"What are you saying?" he asked.

"Tell me the truth. What does Kaylee have to do with our family?" I asked.

A man sitting on couch and holding his head | Source: Unsplash

A man sitting on couch and holding his head | Source: Unsplash

"Carol, I hoped that you would never have to know this," he said slowly. "But do you remember the night you went into labor?"

Of course, I remembered. It had been the most difficult and traumatic night of my life. I just remember my water breaking, and then my blood pressure dropping rapidly. Everything happened so quickly, that the doctors asked Rob to choose whether he would save me or the life of our baby.

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Afterward, when I held our baby in my arms, Rob told me he chose my life. But it turns out he didn't need to because there we both were.

A woman in labor in hospital | Source: Unsplash

A woman in labor in hospital | Source: Unsplash

Or so I thought.

I didn't know that as I sat in the living room that night, my entire world was about to change.

"When you were taken in," Rob said. "I chose you, I told the doctors to save you first. I wasn't proud of it, but I knew that I couldn't do this without you."

I nodded, I knew this — Rob had told me this many times before. Usually on Jamie's birthday.

A little boy's birthday | Source: Unsplash

A little boy's birthday | Source: Unsplash

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"What I didn't tell you is that the doctors did save you, darling. Our baby didn't make it. He didn't get enough oxygen and well..."

Rob's voice trailed off into silence. The only sound that could be heard was the clock in the living room.

"What? Then Jamie?" I asked.

"Jamie was born that night, too," my husband said. "But he was up for adoption because Kaylee couldn't do it by herself. So, when I was signing the paperwork about our son, I overheard the story. A nurse pointed me in the right direction and I went to see Kaylee. And there he was."

A man holding a newborn baby | Source: Unsplash

A man holding a newborn baby | Source: Unsplash

I was speechless. I couldn't look at Rob.

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"I shared our story with Kaylee, and she signed the papers over to me immediately. Jamie became ours that night."

The room spun around me as I absorbed the shock. My son — the light of my life — was mine in every way except biologically. The foundation of my world had not just shifted, it had been demolished entirely.

That night, I took a sleeping pill and went to bed. I didn't have the capacity for it all.

A woman asleep in bed | Source: Unsplash

A woman asleep in bed | Source: Unsplash

The next morning, as I made French toast for Jamie before school, I looked at his features and realized that there wasn't any physical resemblance to Rob or myself. It didn't make a difference, because he was still my son.

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But I knew that something had changed — I loved Jamie even more because he had been placed in my arms where grief would have sat otherwise.

After grappling with the news, I sought therapy to process the grief for the son I never got to know. And the deception that I lived through. I loved Rob for doing what he did — giving me a son.

French toast and blueberries | Source: Unsplash

French toast and blueberries | Source: Unsplash

But I was still devastated by the fact that he had kept the truth from me for six years.

I need some time to gather my thoughts and feelings, but I do know that I need to visit the fabric store again. Not just for Jamie's costume, but to get to know Kaylee and any medical history we may need to know.

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A woman holding her head | Source: Unsplash

A woman holding her head | Source: Unsplash

I still need to know why Rob went looking for Kaylee in the first place, or if she went looking for us. But all in good time.

Now, I just need to process my grief and enjoy my son.

A close up of a mother and son | Source: Pexels

A close up of a mother and son | Source: Pexels

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What would you have done?

If you enjoyed that story, here's another one |

My MIL Gave Homemade Dolls to My Daughter - I Forbade Her from Coming near Us after I Found Out the Truth about Them

When Katie discovers that her mother-in-law has been making strange dolls for her daughter, she confronts the old woman, only to discover that she has been holding onto grief for her entire life. But what does that mean for the mysterious dolls? And the little girl who plays with them?

My grandmother died when I was very young, but I always associated love and care with her. So, I always knew that when I had children, I wanted them to know the love of a grandmother. When my daughter, Lila, was born, that was exactly what I wanted.

A grandmother and granddaughter | Source: Pexels

A grandmother and granddaughter | Source: Pexels

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My mother lives a few hours away from us, so she and Lila have more of a virtual relationship.

But the silver lining is my mother-in-law, Susan. She only lives a few streets over, and she loves spending time with Lila.

Since Lila was born, Susan has played the doting grandmother that I wanted for my child. She came over and played with Lila, making her snacks and teaching her little things in the kitchen.

An elderly woman with her granddaughter | Source: Pexels

An elderly woman with her granddaughter | Source: Pexels

Recently, my mother-in-law and Lila have taken to creative hobbies—often painting away or making beaded bracelets.

"Gran makes such great things, Mom!" Lila told me one afternoon as I was making her a sandwich.

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"Gran is really good with her hands," I said. "She can do all sorts of things!"

Now, Susan has been obsessed with wanting to make handmade dolls for Lila.

"I just think that there's something so special about homemade toys," she told me when we went grocery shopping together. "I have lots of fabric ready."

Colored fabric | Source: Pexels

Colored fabric | Source: Pexels

A few weeks ago, when we were having family dinner, Susan gifted Lila a gift box.

"I've made you something, darling," she said.

Lila opened the box with wide eyes, and there it was—the first of the handmade dolls.

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But that's when things started to get weird!

The other day, when Susan dropped Lila off at home, my daughter ran into the dining room where I was working on my laptop.

"Mom!" she exclaimed, her eyes alight with the wonder of a new treasure.

"What happened?" I asked her, delighted to see the joy in my child.

"Gran made these for me!" she said.

An excited little girl | Source: Pexels

An excited little girl | Source: Pexels

Lila placed three beautifully crafted dolls on the table next to me. I had to admit, they were stunning.

"This is lovely!" I exclaimed. "Gran really is good, huh?"

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"These dolls have names," Lila said, following me into the kitchen so that I could begin dinner.

"Introduce them to me!" I said.

My daughter put the dolls on the counter and touched their heads as she called out their names.

"This is Judy, and Vivi, and Kara," she said.

"Those are some pretty interesting names," I said. "Where did you get them from?"

Dolls on a wall | Source: Pexels

Dolls on a wall | Source: Pexels

"I didn't pick them," she said innocently. "Gran did. I'm taking them to my room to have a tea party now."

With that, Lila bounced away.

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Curiosity piqued and unease began to settle in. I knew those names. They were three sisters who were a part of the dark history of the family—my mother-in-law had three younger siblings who all passed away when they were toddlers.

"They were just really sickly children," my husband, Justin, told me once.

Read the full story here.

This work is inspired by real events and people, but it has been fictionalized for creative purposes. Names, characters, and details have been changed to protect privacy and enhance the narrative. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental and not intended by the author.

The author and publisher make no claims to the accuracy of events or the portrayal of characters and are not liable for any misinterpretation. This story is provided “as is,” and any opinions expressed are those of the characters and do not reflect the views of the author or publisher.

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