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Excerpted from No Less Than Greatness by Mary Manin Morrissey. Copyright © 2001 by Mary Manin Morrissey. Excerpted by permission of Random House, Inc.  All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. HTML and web pages copyright © by SpiritSite.com.

"I'd have done just about anything to avoid making that kid angry at me."

  Mary Manin Morrissey, No Less Than Greatness, Part 2

Once, Ed dropped Michael off with me for the weekend so that his son could get to know my youngest son and me better. Michael stood in the front doorway, shoulders hunched, eyes downcast, as if weighted down by his backpack. He had his hands stuffed in the pockets of his jeans, and I had my left hand clasped in my right, as if in silent prayer. (The truth is I was covering my diamond for fear that it would catch the late-afternoon light and shine in Michaelís eyes like a beacon of bad news.)

Iíd have done just about anything to avoid making that kid angry at me.

He finally pulled his hands out of his pockets to wave good-bye to his dad. Then Michael turned toward his future stepmother.

"Letís see it," he said, looking me in the eye for once.

I slowly unclasped my hands, holding out my left, as if for inspection. The single carat that had only hours earlier seemed subtly charming in its simplicity now looked showy and gaudy. Michael grasped my wrist with his left hand and began tugging at the ring with his right. Instinctively, I curled my finger.

"What are you doing?" I asked.

"Trying to pull it off," he responded, still tugging.

"And what would you do if you could?" I asked, momentarily grateful that Ed had bought a ring one size too small.

"Toss it down the disposal," he answered. Then he dropped my hand and without another word crossed over to the family room, where he plunked himself and his backpack down on the sofa in front of the Big Screen and reached for the remote. I started in on my speech about how I knew he already had a wonderful mother and how I didnít want to take her place, but I quit mid-sentence when he hit the volume button and Star Wars drowned me out.

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