Originally published: July 10, 2006
Notes: There are a lot of Josh and Donna Kid fics out there, but I wanted to write something from a slightly different angle.
You always expected that you would someday be tucking in a small boy or girl with blond curls and dimples. A little combination of you and him. You expected to be pacing up and down the halls, humming and soothing, during endless nights. You expected to have some difficulty breast feeding. You expected the pain of childbirth to be extraordinary. You expected to have your back ache and your ankles swell. You expected to get pregnant. But you didn't.
It was just one of those things. Unexplained infertility. Nothing wrong with you. Nothing wrong with him. Except you were nearing your fortieth birthday and you both had high stress jobs. You were just beginning to mull over your options. You had spent hours talking to CJ about what you should do. Josh had a very frank conversation with Toby and came back looking slightly green. And then you had one of those mutual brainstorm, the kind that makes all college costs tax free. Josh was going over an immigration report when he stumbled across a statistic that struck him on a deeply personal level. You were talking to the First Lady about an obscure movie with Mia Farrow when you made the connection… which embarrassed you slightly until Josh reminded you how inspiring he found your parents' cats. And after talking to your mother-in-law, who had much to say about the lunacy of Florida's foster care system, neither one of you had any doubts or questions left. Your path was clear. Domestic. Toddler or even older. As soon as your time on at the White House was over.
You don't know why you are thinking about this now so many years after the fact. Except for the letter from your mother that you had read just before you tucked in your daughter. It was a rather friendly note. Except she talked about nothing but your brothers' kids and she didn't once ask about James and Mary. And she had included a newspaper clipping that could have ruined your entire evening, if not for your children.
Mary should have been asleep, but you could tell from the voices coming from her room that her brother had snuck in to talk to her. You stood outside her doorway and listened. Mary will start Kindergarten tomorrow and she is quite apprehensive. She has been to day care and Pre-K, but this is the first time she will be away from mommy and daddy all day, everyday. Unlike James, she has no memories from her eighteen months in foster care that come back to haunt her. For her, there was never a time that she wasn't your daughter. To leave you is something she is not sure she is ready for.
But James was speaking softly to her, reassuring her that she will like her new school and he will be there if she needs him. When he promised to hold her hand when they walk into the building together, you got all teary and had to cover you mouth to keep from making a sound. You slipped away before either one could discover you. James has grown so much since that day three years ago when he was brought to your home, bewildered and heartbroken from the months of foster homes he endured after his mother and Abuela had both been killed. He had looked so lost and scared and you wondered if he would ever truly recover. But Josh always seemed to know exactly what do and say… perhaps because he too was once a four-year-old boy who had lost his entire world to a fire… and James learned how to smile again.
Josh is reading to him now. When the final page has been turned and Max has returned to find his dinner still warm, he closes the book and leans over to kiss his son goodnight. Then it is your turn and James winds his arms around your neck to better kiss your cheek and tells you he loves you without a shred of embarrassment or fear. In that moment, you cannot imagine loving anyone more.
You shut off the lights and go downstairs and pick up your mother's letter where you had dropped it. You crumble the clipping from the Lifestyle section of your brother's local paper that featured mothers who suddenly found themselves pregnant after adopting a child. Then, after further consideration, your mother's letter follows the clipping into the trash. If Josh's mom, who has every reason to fear the extinction of her bloodline, can accept James and Mary with nothing but joy in her heart, why should you waste your time on a woman who thinks family only has to do with genetics? She'll never realize what she's missing.
Your daughter has thick, black hair that will never curl, but with a little patience it will consent to be braided. Your son doesn't have dimples, but his smile still melts your heart. You never walked up and down the halls with either one, but then you didn't have to wait two years to hear either say "I love you, Mommy!" They are yours as surely has if you had suffered through pregnancy and labor.
You had always expected to be a mother. And that is exactly what you are.