She came into my life a wet little baby with a ready smile. Curly hair and bulbous blue eyes headlined her charm. The baby years flew past without much incident, but for a bee sting and lozenge-stuck-in-throat drama. Then she was a toddler joyfully engaged whatever game mummy and daddy could think of. She was so extrovert, so unreflective, I assumed she’d be a TV star or at least some kind of star no matter where she went. By middle school she had so many friends. Hardly a day passed when she didn’t drag a new friend back for tea with the family. I was proud. She was a version of me I’d always wanted to be. Children are like that- either better or worse versions of their parents. She dabbled in art for a bit and learned to play guitar. We thought she’d form a band and probably drop out of education, which would have been fine with us. We certainly weren’t pushy parents. Instead she suddenly decided she wanted to be a vet. Strange choice, but parents have to let their children breathe and make mistakes. For the first time in her life she really knuckled down and studied hard. We were so proud when she passed all her exams. What parents wouldn’t be?  I remember one gorgeous July day she was on a three-day break from her first job at a veterinary clinic. She was so excited and fulfilled, her face was radiant, there was a delightful grace to her speech and the way she swayed her arms and elongated her shapely fingers.  A stiff breeze suddenly got up and her glass of pinot grigio nearly toppled over, except her reflexes were so sharp she grabbed it before any wine could spill out. Then she pulled a strange face which involved the right side of her mouth bowing out while her eyes rolled around. What a face, I thought. What a simply awful face and what a disastrous new twist in our relationship. Here was the girl I’d carried in my belly for 9 months, whose nappies I’d changed, whom I’d taught to walk and shared so many photo album moments. I had loved that girl with all the power a mother can muster but since that fateful afternoon in the summer of 2013 when in a fleeting gesture she revealed a hidden and horrible fragment of her character - a person of over emphasized affectations and sneering ugliness - I have simply hated her with all my guts.

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