My MIL Visited Us While I Was Out of Home – When I Returned My Daughter Told Me Something That Shattered Our Family

When Kristen’s four-year-old daughter returns from a visit with her grandmother, she reveals a secret to her. Kristen has to figure out whether Katie’s innocence has clouded the story, or is it the cold, hard truth.

I always told myself that when my children asked about where they came from, that I’d have a proper answer. Something witty and cool, and just different.

I remember cringing when my parents described it to my younger brother, and I knew that I wanted to do things differently.

But then, while we were sitting outside, and toasting smores, my four-year-old, Katie, looked up at me, her eyes wide with the boundless curiosity of youth.

“Mommy,” she said slowly, as if trying to choose her words properly.

“Yes, Katie?” I asked, already bemused because when she called me like this, it meant that my child was about to make me laugh.

She smiled at me as she took a bite of her smore, the chocolate oozing onto her little fingers.

“Mommy, how did I appear?” she asked, her voice filled with wonder.

“Appear?” I asked, hoping that I didn’t need a witty answer so soon.

“Where did I come from?” she asked, picking up another marshmallow.

I hesitated. I didn’t know how to explain it to a four-year-old — I always thought that the creation question came later on.

So, I stole my mother’s line.

“Well, sweetheart, when Dad and I fell in love, we planted a seed. And soon after, you were born,” I explained to her, wanting to laugh at myself.

“Like a tree? A seed for a tree?” she asked, her innocence tugging at my heartstrings.

“Exactly like a tree,” I agreed.

“Do you think you that you could plant another seed, Mommy? I’d like a little brother,” Katie said.

My daughter’s hopeful smile was infectious, and I couldn’t help but laugh.

“Maybe, honey. We’ll see,” I promised, ruffling her hair. “We’ll have to talk to Dad about it.”

“Will Dad be home soon?” she asked.

I put Katie to bed shortly after — thankful that sugar didn’t seem to bother my child.

Washing the dishes, I began to wonder what it would be like to have another baby — the age gap between Katie and the baby would be perfect.

“But I don’t think Sam wants another baby,” I said to the silent kitchen. “He’s barely home now.”

I thought nothing more of the conversation until, about a week later, after Gloria, Sam’s mother came to visit while I was out running errands. Gloria lived close by to use, and she was always visiting, or picking up Katie from school or just taking her home to spoil her.

But on that afternoon, Katie’s innocence toward life shattered my world into fragments sharp enough to draw blood.

My sweet girl came to me, asking me to play dolls with her.

“Mommy,” she whispered once we were in her room.

“Mommy, why is Granny so angry that you planted another seed?” she asked.

I had absolutely no clue as to what my child was talking about. I wasn’t pregnant!

“Honey, why do you think that?” I asked, my voice strained.

She fiddled with one of her dolls, brushing its hair.

“I heard granny yelling at Dad! She shouted, ‘how dare you, Sam!’”

“What were you doing?” I asked, hoping that Katie hadn’t been exposed to anything.

“I was watching TV,” she said, and she began rambling on about what she had been watching.

“Sweetheart, why were they shouting?” I asked.

“Granny said that Dad should have been more careful about planting a seed into that woman. And the child will destroy the family,” she said, the words coming out of her mouth sounding horrid.

Katie’s gaze lifted to mine, searching for answers in the turmoil she saw reflected there.

“Are you sure that’s what Granny said?” I asked.

“Yes, Mommy,” she sighed deeply. “And that the woman will tell everyone. Granny brought pie over, too.”

The room titled, reality slipping from my grasp.


My husband, my partner — the man working in the living room while I played with our child — had betrayed our vows, our family. And in the most unimaginable way.

While I cooked dinner that evening, I watched Sam — who was completely oblivious to the fact that Katie had overheard him and Gloria. Katie loved Sam, but she wasn’t as open with him as she was with me.

She was used to him being away from us because he worked so much.

Now, I wondered how many of those late nights were because of work.

“Honey?” Sam called, shaking me out of my thoughts.

“Yes?” I called out, remaining as calm as I could be.

“Mom saved you some pie, it’s in the fridge,” he said, turning back to his laptop.

How does he do it? I wondered. How can he sit there and pretend like he doesn’t have another child on the way?

During dinner, Katie ate all her food and conned her way into ice cream for dessert. Sam was distracted as ever, constantly checking his phone as if he were waiting for an important message or phone call.

I wanted to get my hands on his phone.

Later that night, with Katie asleep, I confronted Sam.

The air between us crackled with tension, heavy with the accusations I had thrown at him.

Sam sat with his hands on his head.

“How could you?” my voice broke.

Sam winced, the guilt etched deep in his features.

“Kristen, I made a mistake. It was just a bad decision. And it meant absolutely nothing, I swear.”

“Sam, a mistake is when you forget to get milk. Not when you choose to have an affair with someone, and then create an entire life with them!” I spat out, the bitterness coating my tongue.

He reached out, but I recoiled.

“Please, honey,” he said. “I’ll do anything to fix this!”

“How, Sam? How can you possibly fix this?”

Tears streamed down my face.

“Did you know that I was going to talk to you about considering having another baby?” I asked.

I wanted to hurt him. I wanted him to feel how I was feeling — lost, betrayed, hurt beyond repair.

The next day, I took Katie to my mother-in-law’s house, hoping that she would tell me more because Sam had refused to speak to me when I mentioned thinking about another baby.

“How did you find out?” Gloria asked. “Did he finally tell you?”

“Katie did,” I said.

Katie ran into the living room and put the TV on — which suited me just fine. I had questions for Gloria.

“Katie overheard you and Sam talking yesterday,” I confessed. “But I had no idea that anything was going on with him. He always made it seem that work was taking all his time.”

“I only found out recently,” Gloria said. “I told him that he needed to tell you the truth. And that I would give him the opportunity to do so — if not I was going to tell you myself.”

“Do you know who she is?” I asked.

Gloria shook her head as she filled the kettle.

“I don’t know the details. He just told me that she was pregnant and he didn’t know what to do.”

“What do you think we should do?” I asked.

“Honey, when Sam’s father had his affair, I divorced him. I’m not saying that you should do the same. But I am saying that some betrayals are just too deep. I know he’s my son. And that I should be supporting him. But when he told me — all I could think about was when I saw my husband with his mistress, and her big belly.”

I wondered what Gloria was telling me, whether there was some hidden message to her words.

“What about Katie?” I asked, desperate for advice. “She doesn’t know anything specific. To her understanding, I’m the one having the baby.”

“Put your child first, Kristen, by all means. But just remember that you’ll have to live with the consequences, too.”

We drove in silence, Katie looking out the window at the sunset.

When we got home, I sat at the kitchen table lost in thought — I didn’t know what the next move should be.

My love for Sam had died the moment he admitted the truth. Would it be the worst thing for our marriage to end, too? It felt over. He had sought solace outside of our marriage.

Katie climbed onto my lap, wrapping her tiny arms around me.

“Mommy, don’t be sad,” she said. “I love you a hundred, thousand, million.”

I sighed, holding onto her tightly.

It was Katie’s innocence that had unveiled the bitter truth, but it was also her love that reminded me of my strength. With her by my side, I knew that I could face the uncertain future with Sam.

It was time for a new beginning for Katie and myself.

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