Rayona gave me something to be, made me like other women with children. I was nobody’s regular daughter, nobody’s sister, usually nobody’s wife, but I was her mother full time.
Christine makes this statement in Chapter 13, and it demonstrates how the birth of Rayona marks the end of Christine’s search for her identity. Christine’s search has taken her through various stages and associations, but all of these have turned out to be unsatisfying, leaving too many questions unanswered. Before she says the words above, Christine lists all of her failed attempts to find herself by associating with others, attempts that we hear about as Christine tells her story. This passage emphasizes Rayona’s importance to Christine, something we often lose sight of in Christine’s dealings with her daughter. It demonstrates that Rayona is the central point of Christine’s existence and that Christine’s identity as a mother finally gives her a place to belong. Again, however, the quotation ends with Christine’s highly subjective claim that “I was her mother full time.” This description of their relationship is one that Rayona might dispute, especially in light of the fact that Christine leaves Rayona on her own when Rayona is just fifteen. For this reason, Christine’s assertion that she is Rayona’s “mother full time” is not enough to prevent conflict between the two. Before Rayona and Christine can be reconciled, it is necessary for Rayona to see herself as Christine’s daughter full time as well.