Chapter One: Jane

To my dearest child, Janie,

On this, the anniversary of your birth, the day you become a woman, I have very little which I can offer you. I have not been the best mother. I am not ignorant. I chose my own career, my own desires, over your needs. I was selfish. For the way that has made you feel about me, for the way you seem to resent me, I apologize. I never meant to bring you up that way. But for my actions, for my choices, I cannot apologize. I would do the same over again, even at the detriment of your happiness.

This is not because I do not want you to be happy, Janie. I do, I dearly want that. But, in this case, I chose your long-term happiness, not the short-term. Through my dedication to my work and, yes, through my treatment of you, I have left you with something that is greater than any temporary happiness. I have left you with a legacy. I have left with a foundation, from which you might build your own happiness.

You must understand, darling, when I was your age, on the cusp of young adulthood, I had nothing. I had no parents, you see. Or rather, I had biological parents, but none that wanted me. I grew up bouncing between foster homes, before finally ending up in a government facility for unwanted children. I stayed there until I was your age. At that point, the government was no longer obligated to provide for me, so they sent me away. Left me to fend for myself.

I had been relatively smart, getting decent grades in school, but I had never truly applied myself to it. So when I was suddenly on my own, I was entirely without aid, except for the scant money the government sent me away with and my single family heirloom-my biological grandmother, apparently, had willed it to me when she passed away, so that I might inherit it on my eighteenth birthday.

I don’t want anything like that for you, Janie. I never wanted you to struggle as I struggled. Let me tell you my story, and perhaps you’ll understand my choices.

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