" Let me do it, Nana. I can do it. Let me." Judy smiled at her granddaughter, turned the speed down on the mixer and handed it to her. She knew that there would, probably, soon be batter all over the table and the little girl but it didn't matter.
Four year old Otter was the delight of her life. The little girl was so much like her mother had been at that age and, for Judy, it was like having another chance at raising a little one using all the experience she had gained over the years. She hadn't planned on being responsible for a child at her age but when Otter's mother had said that she was going to give the baby away as soon as it was born, she knew she couldn't let that happen. the thought of having a grandchild somewhere being raised by people she didn't know, never being able to see her, buy her gifts, take her to Disneyland was unbearable.
She had hoped that Carly would change her mind when she saw her beautiful daughter but it didn't happen. As soon as she was able, she was gone. The only thought she gave to the child was to name her. Judy hadn't seen her since. She disappeared back into the life that had captured her when she was only sixteen. Carly had suddenly reappeared after a year, pregnant with Otter, without any explanation of where she had been, what she had been doing or who was the father of her child. And now she had disappeared once more.
Every time a girl of Carly's age was found dead or was involved in an accident, Judy waited for the police to come to the door. The not knowing where she was was the worst. She finally decided that she couldn't live with that constant fear and decided just try and be thankful for what she had. the presence of her granddaughter made living up to that decision much easier.
Otter's name suited her. The little one was affectionate and curious about everything around her. Her large brown eyes were always finding something new. She loved different experiences and often tried to do things that were beyond her years.
Judy had recently started teaching her how to sew and the little girl was thrilled to have her own basket of fabrics to sew together on her child size machine. It hadn't taken long for all her dolls to have their own blankets and even Thomas the cat was given a special quilt for his bed.
Her skills were far beyond her years and Judy thought she might be ready for a bigger project. The next morning, after the house work had been done (and the bed remade after Otter's help), she asked the little one if she would like to make a real quilt. One for her own bed. "Oh, yes, Nana. I can do it. Let me make a big quilt." Judy got out her collection of books and showed Otter some of the photos. She had purposely marked down the pages with the simpler designs because she knew her little adventurer would zero in on the most complicated one otherwise. Pattern chosen it was time to buy the fabrics. A new quilt store had opened up in town and Judy decided this would be a good time to check it out.
Otter bounced through the doors and immediately stopped and stared at all the fabric. "Nana, look. Isn't it beautiful." Yes, it is, princess. Why don't you see if you can pick out four colours that you like the best." As she watched the child carefully looking at each fabric, she became aware that the young woman at the counter was staring at Otter. "Oh, I am sorry. She is a beautiful child and she reminds me so much of my brother's girlfriend", the woman said. "This is a very rude question but are you related to a woman named Carly?" "Carly? Carly Matthews? " Judy asked. "Yes, that is her name." "Carly is my daughter. Otter's mother. How do you know her. I'm sorry, you said your brother's girlfriend. I haven't seen her since Otter was born. I didn't know where she was." Judy knew she probably sounded odd, crazy perhaps, but she couldn't believe that she had just walked into a store and found someone who knew her daughter.
"I am sorry that.... well. I'm just sorry. I don't know her very well but Brad, my brother, said she had gone through a difficult time and was just getting her life back together. Do you, I mean would you like me to give you her phone number?"
Judy thought for a moment. "No, that is kind of you but I think I will let her get in contact when she is ready. If you think it wise, you can let her know you've met me and that I've said that I would love to see her when she is ready. For now, I am just glad to know she is alright and someone knows where she is. Now, there are a pair of very curious ears not very far away so perhaps we can see if she has made her choices."