How Gracie Came To Be
"Daddy, tell the story about how I came to be," I demand as he tucks me in.
"Well, there was this stork…" he starts. I giggle.
"No, the fairy tale Daddy," I insist.
"I thought that was a fairy tale," he says pretending to look startled. I roll my eyes.
"You know Daddy, the story about you and Mommy, and love, and rules, and me."
He smiles, "So your mother and I were in love for a long time."
"Ever since she walked into the briefing room," I add.
He smiles, "Pretty much, Gracie girl, and by this point…"
"You'd already confessed your love with the threat of a fairy wand shoved into your forehead," I say.
"Fraya," he mutters bitterly.
I start talking quickly, I really don't want to hear one of Daddy's speeches about how much he hates fairies, not today "But even though you loved each other you couldn't be together, because you were her boss, and it was against the rules."
"Right, regulations," he says shutting his eyes, "I'm a maverick, but not that much of a maverick," Daddy says. "Four years those regulations kept us apart."
"Loving from afar," I say. I'm not perfectly sure what that means, but I heard it somewhere and it sounded so beautiful.
"Mmmm," Daddy mummers, "Actually that would have been easier. What we were doing was loving from close. We worked together every single day. Right next to one another, day in, and day out. In every corner of the…uh…earth. Doing all sorts of important things, and there were loving one another, for four long years. Truth be told, it could have went on like that, maybe forever. But this is the story of how you saved us, Gracie."
"I never saved you Daddy," I said laughing.
"Oh, yes you did, you saved us from ourselves," he says wrapping his arm around me.
"So, Daddy, Super Sammy noticed something wrong in another country," I prompt.
"Yeah, Super Sammy is pretty observant. She saw that they were holding people in slavery. The people didn't know they were slaves. Or rather….didn't know there was such a thing as not being a slave."
"Mommy tried to free them from injustice," I say.
He grins, "Super Sammy does things like that. But this time it gets us all kidnapped, and our memories erased. We didn't know who we were or that we were not from that country."
"But you did know you loved one another," I add.
"Yeah," he smiled, "Not even the loss of our memories could take that away."
"Love, so strong," I say.
"Right, so we remembered the love," he says.
"But not the rules," I said grinning.
"And for the first time in four long years we were together, we were free (though we were slaves), we were happy," he grins.
"But then you remembered," I said.
The smile disappeared from his face, "Yeah, we remembered, and there we stood, remembering all the rules. Remembering that what we had done, done for weeks, was wrong. Remembering that we couldn't be together. She says 'Colonel' and I say 'Major' and there we are. Back to where we were. We were soldiers, Gracie, good soldiers."
"But you wanted to be together."
"Oh yes, Lordy, Gracie, we wanted to be together. But there were things we wanted even more. Things that are always more important than the thing you want the most. Things like the whole world, like more than the whole world."
"You were soldiers," I repeated slowly, trying to understand everything that meant. I knew it was a big part of who my father was, who my mother was.
"We are soldiers Gracie, but we found something more important than saving the world."
"What is that?" I ask.
He hugs me close, "You Gracie, you. But we're getting ahead of ourselves. Back then we didn't know about you. So we snapped right back to 'Sir' and 'Carter' and told the slaves about freedom. We freed all those people who had had their memories stolen, their lives stolen."
"Pretty important stuff, Daddy."
"Yeah, Gracie, we do pretty important stuff," he says not looking at me for a second. Then he focuses on me, "But that didn't mean we shouldn't get to be happy too. Because of you, we get to save the world and be happy."
Then I ask the questions that I've wanted to ask for a long time, "You still saving the world Daddy?" I ask.
He meets my eyes, "What are you Gracie? Five going on fifty?"
"Daddy," I say, he's weaseled out of questions like this before. Not today.
"I'm not saving the world anymore. Too old for that. I'm bossing around those saving the world," he says.
"Mommy?" I ask.
He sighs, "Gracie…" he says. But I'm still looking at him. I need to know this answer, "Yeah Gracie, Super Sammy is still saving the world. But I'll make sure she says safe."
"Except, you can't really promise me that, Daddy," I say.
He shuts his eyes, "But Super Sammy has the strength of a thousand mortal men, and a team who would do anything for her. She'll be fine, Gracie, she'll be fine." He looks at my face, "I never should have started telling you these stories," he says.
"I'm glad you did Daddy. I want to know. I need to know," I said leaning in toward him.
"That's why I told you the stories Gracie," he says kissing my forehead, "Mommy will keep coming home." I nod my head.
"So then we get home, and we're planning on going back to living just like we were. Apart, but together. In love, but never speaking of it."
"But Mommy found out about me," I said with a grin.
"That she did Gracie girl, that she did. But she didn't tell me right away. She was going to keep saving the world with you inside of her."
"Mommy wanted me to have some adventures," I said with a grin. That was a new line I'd thought up since the last time Daddy told me the story. He tickled me, that mean the really like the comment.
"Yeah, Gracie, you had a few adventures before you were born," he laughed. "But Auntie Janet made sure Mommy didn't go on the magic carpet."
"She was protecting me," I said, trying to remember Auntie Janet. It was getting hard. I thought about how she had died. About how Grandpa Jacob had died. I thought about what Mommy did at work, and I tried not to worry.
"Yes, Auntie Janet got to protect you first, but she won't be the last," he says.
"So tell me about the adventures I had before I was born, Daddy." I said.
"Well one of them was when your Mommy and I freed all these people. You were inside of her then," he says with a smile.
"But what happened after Auntie Janet wouldn't let Mommy go with you on the magic carpet?"
"Mommy told us she was going to have a baby-you," he says smiling at me with that look he has when he's remembering when I was 'knee high to a grasshopper'. "She didn't think I would know you were mine. She wanted to pretend she was having some baby with some other guy. She was going to keep living like we weren't in love. But I know that you were mine. Oh, Gracie girl, as soon as I knew you existed I loved you." He pauses to give me a kiss on the forehead.
"Why didn't she want you to know I was your daughter?" I asked, following the script again.
"Could have got me in trouble. Janet protecting you. Mommy protecting me. I was her boss. Defiantly shouldn't have been having babies with her."
"But you didn't know you were her boss when it happened," I said.
"Nope, all the 'sir' and 'Carter's' were gone, and all that was left was the love," he says with a grin. "So, I go and tell your Mommy. I tell her that I know you're mine. That I wanted, that I needed, to be your Daddy not just your Father."
"That you loved me" I said.
He nods, and he adds, "and that I loved her. So I had to make sure your Mommy took care of herself, of you."
"'Cause you know that Super Sammy never sleeps," I say.
"Or eats," he adds.
"So you had Uncle Murray, Carter sit her," I said laughing at the mental image.
He smiles, "Yep, Gracie, had to make sure your Mommy took care of you. But then," and his face goes from joy to darkness in a second. This part of the story always has that effect. There is some truth behind it which effects my Mommy and my Daddy a lot more than just during the story. Mommy always been overprotective of me. I heard Daddy whisper to a friend once that it was because, "we almost lost her before she was born." So I don't actually know what was really wrong with me, but I know it scared them.
"Then we found out that you had a curse. A curse, you got from me," he looks away.
"Daddy, it wasn't your fault."
"Yes, it was Gracie, and I don't want your forgiveness until you are old enough to understand the whole story. To give or deny me forgiveness for real."
"How will I know I'm old enough to forgive you, Daddy," I ask leaning against him.
He says, "I'll let you know Gracie girl. But I have you a curse which made you get older a lot faster than you were supposed to. It was a curse that almost killed me once."
"But Super Sammy saved you," I say.
"Yes, she did save me. But the way she saved me wouldn't work to save you. Mommy had to figure out a different way to break the curse."
"But she's Super Sammy, you should have known she'd find a way."
"Yeah, she found a way, but Gracie, it was different, because, it was you. It was my kid." He's all worried.
"I'm fine now, Daddy." I assure him.
He holds me tight, "Yeah, you're fine. Uncle Danny came up with an idea to save you. That's how you got your middle name, baby girl. Then Uncle Danny and Mommy made the whole idea work out. They lifted the curse, and you started aging normally." He sighs, leaning back. This is where the story normally stops. But not today.
"Daddy, what was really wrong with me?"
"A curse that made you grow really fast, Gracie."
"No, Daddy, I mean I was sick as a baby. Don't I deserve to know what was wrong with me?"
He sits up and looks at me, "You do deserve to know Grace, but I can't tell you. I'm not allowed to tell you Grace, until you're eighteen then your medical records will be released to you. Until then, the stories are all I can give you."
And I know, it's more than Daddy is supposed to give me.
"Ok, Daddy, but you said I saved you and Mommy. But really I was a mistake, wasn't I?" I ask.
He holds my chin, "You are no mistake Gracie. You were not planned. But that doesn't make you a mistake. Do you know what your name means girl?"
I shook my head.
"Gift given undeserved," he says looking at me, "Do you understand me Gracie? You are a gift given undeserved."
"Undeserved?" I ask, unsure of the meaning of the word.
"It means you were way better than what we should have gotten. Not a mistake. A gift. A surprise."
Mommy enters the room, "You're setting a new record for slowest tuck in Jack," she says sitting down on the bed.
"Gracie wanted to hear stories about her as a baby," Daddy says.
"It's not a school night," Mommy says plopping down next to me, "Did I ever tell you about how your Dad designed a nursery for you? I never even thought about any of those things…"
"Because she as working on lifting the curse, on saving you, Gracie," Daddy breaks in.
"The point is Daddy painted your room, you remember your room before we repainted?" I nod, "Daddy did that, plus the ceiling," she says pointing up. When we redecorated we didn't touch the ceiling. It was beyond perfect.
"Exactly what the sky looked like the minute that Daddy found out I excited," I said grinning at him.
"Yes, Gracie, and the painting on the wall, and the clothes, and toys, and books, and diapers, everything. He was ready for you, I wasn't."
"Because you were saving her, Sammy," Daddy said.
"Because, I was a surprise, Mommy," I said.
Mommy looks at Daddy with daggers in her eyes. "Sammy, she was asking questions," Daddy says defending himself.
She shakes her head at him, "Gracie, what did Daddy tell you about you…and Daddy and me?"
"I'm the reason you are together," I say.
"God Jack!" she says glaring at him before, turning to focus on me.
"I'm a gift given undeserved," I say trying to dig Daddy out of trouble, "And if it weren't from me, you might have kept loving on and on without being together."
She glances at him, and then back at me. The anger is out of her eyes, "I suppose that is mostly true. But Gracie, you know I love your father." I nod. "And I love you." I nod. "And I'm glad you exist." I nod. "My life would be worse without you," I just look at her. "You make my life better Gracie, every day."
I don't know what to say, "Thanks Mommy," I say, and my voice sounds all strange.
"See, I fixed it Jack. Seriously you didn't know you weren't supposed to tell a little kid that she's the reason you got married?"
"Daddy fixed it before," I say and he grins at me, "And Daddy didn't have to tell me."
"You keep thinking other people can't do math Sammy, she's YOUR daughter, she can do math." I'm not really sure what math is involved.
"Alright, Night Gracie." Mommy says giving me a kiss.
"No, I want to hear stories about the adventures I had before I was born."
"Well, this one time I was floating out in space, and your Mommy was just about to have you," Mommy rolls her eyes kisses me, and smacks Daddy on the shoulder as she leaves the room.
"Mommy left earth with me inside of her?" I asked.
"Yeah, not her brightest move. But T and I, we needed saving. We were out in a magic carpet and our space suits were running out of air. We needed saving, and she is after all…"
"Super Sammy," I say with a grin.
"So Uncle Danny, and Grandpa Jacob, and Mommy pile on a magic carpet (Grandpa Jacob's magic carpet, which is way bigger than ours) with lots of extra oxygen and they went out a saved us. Brought us home."
"How long was this before I was born?" I asked.
"Actually you were born on the way back Gracie. Right on a magic carpet with your Uncle Danny playing doctor," he says. "Now Mommy is right, way past your bedtime girl," and he gives me a kiss on the forehead.
"Daddy," I ask, and he turns to look at me at the door.
"Are you and Mommy going to have more babies?"
He sighs, "Doesn't look like that's in the cards, Grace."
"Why not?" I ask.
"Sometimes," he closes his eyes, "Sometimes even when you really, really want something you don't get to have it. But we got you Gracie. Grace is enough."