What I'm Reading
What fanatical extremes will a mother go through in order to have the perfect daughter she has always wanted?
May 1940. Gustavus Peace and his six sons wait anxiously in the sitting room as his wife Emma Jean Peace labors with the birth of their seventh child. Gus hadn’t wanted any more children and neither had Emma Jean. Gus wouldn’t have touched her but Emma Jean said she was going through “the change” and that she couldn’t have any more children. Amid Gus’ anger regarding the pregnancy, Emma Jean saw it as a sign that after six boys, this child had to be the girl that she had always dreamed of having. Thoughts of her new baby girl and the bond they would share relieved the labor pains as Miss Henrietta, the midwife gave birthing instructions.
With the last push, Miss Henrietta announced to Emma Jean that she had a perfect baby BOY. Emma Jean is silent. She hesitantly accepts the tiny bundle in the pink towel as if she is being given a bag of garbage. She wants to cry but that would do no good. Emma Jean stares into nothing. Becoming concerned Miss Henrietta calls Emma Jean’s name to snap her out of her trance.
Finally, Emma Jean begins to laugh and coo over the baby saying, “I’ll name you Perfect because that’s what you are, my perfect baby girl.”
Looking stunned Miss Henrietta tells Emma Jean that she can’t pass of a boy as a girl and that what she wants to do is wrong. She asks her to think about the future of the child. She tells her that eventually the truth will be found out.
Emma Jean will hear none of it abruptly silencing Henrietta saying that if she tells her family or anyone else that the baby is not a girl she will reveal the deep dark secret that Miss Henrietta thinks no one knows about her.
With the lie in place, so begins the life of a baby “girl” named Perfect Peace.