A/N: I know its a day late, but I wanted to get INLYG out yesterday and I had a busy weekend full of Mother's Day stuff. I had to write a Mother's Day one short between Emma and Henry. It takes place in the same world as DAIC and INLYG where Emma kept Henry. You don't need to have read those two stories to read this. This is also in celebration of last night's episode and the season finale. The art project at the end is something I did with my own students for Mother's Day. They were super cute so I had to have Henry make one. As usual please and enjoy and let me know what you think!
It's a Sunday morning and I am sitting in a jail cell waiting. There issn't much to do in prison and I can't wait until I am out for good. At the same time I am terrified of what is to come, both when I leave and in the next few weeks. As if on cue I feel a hard kick to my stomach. I rub my stomach where I just felt the foot. I was in my last month of pregnancy and the doctors said that I could deliver at any moment. For the past nine months I couldn't wait until I got this baby out of me, but now that I was actually about the give birth I wasn't at all ready. I still wanted to get the baby out of me, I was sick of being pregnant, but I was not thrilled about actually having to give birth. The thought of all the pain I was about to go through made me shudder so I did my best to try and block it out.
The only thing scarier then actual labor was the decision I had to make. I had put it off as long as possible, pretty much the entire pregnancy, but I was running out of time. I wanted best for my child, I didn't want to find out the sex in case I grew too attached, but what was best I didn't know. I didn't know anything about babies let out how to be a mother, how could I possibly take care of a child? But at the same time what if the same thing happened to my baby that happened to me. I didn't want the kid to end up in the system and have to feel the pain and rejection that I did. Many sleepless nights were spent thinking about this dilemma and I was nowhere near closer to figuring out the answer then when I first peed on that stick. I was totally fine with not making a decision until I gave birth, but the doctors and social workers were saying different. They said if I wanted to give my child the best life I had to make a decision now to start all the proper paper work. What that paper work was I had no idea, nor did I care. Plus what if I changed my mind after I had the baby? I didn't want to have any regrets when it came to this baby, I already had too many to begin with. I could actually do something good with the decision I made, which was a refreshing change. On top of that it wasn't just my life I was playing with anymore. This decision was not something I was taking lightly, even if that was what all the so-called adults in my life thought. No matter what I chose my life would forever be changed, for better or worse I couldn't tell yet. The door to my cell opens and my mind can stop thinking about my dilemma for the moment.
The rest of my morning is uneventful. Not like anything exciting ever happens here, well except for the occasional fights, which I try my best to stay out of. I wanted to set a good example for my kid, plus my stomach was too big to actually fight anyone. I was sitting around in the common room lying on the couch; there really wasn't anything else I could do these days. As I looked around the room I noticed it was emptier then usual.
"Where is everyone?" I asked the girl next to me.
"With their mothers. I would think you of all people would know what day today is." She answered not looking at me.
I groaned as I pushed myself into a sitting position, "What is that supposed to mean?"
"It's Mother's Day."
"Why would I care about Mother's Day?" I actually hated Mother's Day. In elementary school they always made me make those stupid projects that I had no one to give it to. It was just another reminder that my mother had abandoned me.
"Cause you're ready to burst." She sounded surprised that I had not known the obvious answer to that question.
The truth was I hadn't realized it. I laid back down on the couch and laid my hands on top of my bulging stomach. It hadn't crossed my mind that I would actually have a reason to celebrate this holiday, well sort of celebrate it since the only one who could celebrate with me was still in my stomach. It was a strange feeling knowing that I could take part in a holiday I have always hated. I felt a nudge underneath my hand; the kid always seemed to know the exact moment and location of where to kick me. If it weren't so embarrassing I probably would have started to talk to my stomach. That was something I did when I was alone in my cell and no one could hear or judge me. The baby continued to move around in my stomach, though it wasn't uncomfortable as it had been lately. Maybe it was the kid's way of wishing me a happy Mother's Day. It was simple and kind of ridiculous since there was no way a baby could know the importance of today. But still the idea made everything seem a little bit brighter and gave me hope to know that I was going to make the right decision.
The sun shone through my blinds waking me up. I moaned and rolled over not ready to face the day just yet. Another thought came across my mind and I shot up in bed, Henry. He normally would have woken me up by now to be fed or just for the sake of being awake. We still had yet to master to whole sleeping through the night thing, but we were getting closer to it everyday. I jumped out of bed and ran straight to his crib to make sure that nothing was wrong. Henry was lying there wide-awake staring up at his mobile as if it were the most fascinating thing. When he saw me staring down a wide smile appeared on his face showing off his brand new teeth, something else that had been keeping us up at night. I picked Henry up, I couldn't resist not holding him anymore, and swung him up over my head causing him to burst out in laughter. I swung him down into my arms and cradled him close to my body kissing the top of his head.
"Morning kid." I said like I did every morning.
I had heard routine was important in a baby's life so I did my best to keep one. It was hard sometimes because my work schedule was never the same, but I did my best to keep the big things the same like morning and evening routines. I headed over to the changing table to get Henry out of his dirty diaper. I didn't bother putting him in new clothes once I got a clean diaper on; we were in no rush today since I didn't have work. Next I headed over to my bed for feeding. It didn't take long for Henry to latch on once I lowered my shirt, he must have been starving. I ran my fingers over his baby soft hair and watched as he sucked away. I knew these moments were coming to end and since I was going to have to start weaning him soon. I wasn't sure how I was going to feel about it once the day actually came when we stopped breast-feeding. Sure I would miss these special moments that I got to spend with my son, but I wouldn't miss the pain that I felt especially now that he had teeth. I also wasn't looking forward to the new costs that would come with feeding Henry. Breast milk was free the only extra charges were the pump and bottles, which were both a one time fee. But now I would have to start buying formula, and that was expensive. It was another cost that I would have to pay with my minimum wage job.
Things were pretty tight around here, but I made it work. I tried to take as many side jobs as I could that would allow me to bring Henry since I didn't want to have to pay for day care. My main job was as a bar tender and waitress. All the money I made went straight into paying my bills and taking care of my kid. It didn't leave a lot of money left over, but I didn't care. I never needed much anyone. As long as my kid was happy and healthy then I was happy. I glanced over at the calendar on the wall and made note of the date, Mother's Day. It had never crossed my mind that it was Mother's Day, I must not have been paying much attention to the stores around me. I actually had a reason to celebrate the holiday this year, I looked back down at the reason for this.
"You know a year ago at this time you were still in my stomach." I told Henry. He let go and let out a giggle as if he knew what I was talking about. I switched him over and he latched on again looking up at me. "I guess we should do something to celebrate huh?" I wasn't sure what we could really do since Henry couldn't do much. I would figure out something though, it was my first Mother's Day with someone to celebrate it with and I wanted to make it special.
When Henry finished eating and was cleaned I put him in the middle of my bed and started to get dressed. We had the whole day to spend together, and I was going to take advantage of that.
"Mama." My head whipped around at the sound.
"What did you say?" I asked walking closer to where Henry was sitting on the bed.
"Mama." He repeated again and I stood there in shock.
For a while now he had been babbling on in that baby talk not really saying any real words. But it seemed like today he decided to finally say his first real one. Once I got over the initial shock and threw Henry up in my arms. My baby had just spoken his first words. He must have known he had done something right because he kept saying it. It was the best Mother's Day present anyone could ask for. I kissed him on the cheek and set him back on the bed again. We really needed to celebrate today.
"Mama." He said again once.
"Hey mister, no trying to charm me out of getting dressed. We can't go anywhere until I do." I pretended to scold him, but it was hard to when I was so excited after all that had happened. Plus he had that big smile on his round baby face, and I could stay made at that face.
I could feel a small pair of eyes on me, and I didn't have to open mine to know who they belonged to. I was afraid to look at the clock to see what time it was, I knew it was way too early though. I tried my best to pretend that I was sleeping, but it was hard to do with the intense stare I was getting. It was moments like these that I missed having a crib that would keep the kid in until I was ready to wake up. It had been years since we had used one, mostly because Henry figured out how to climb out of it. I didn't like him doing that and no amount of warnings would get him to stay put. In the end I decided to get ride of the crib and just let him share the bed with me since he ended up with me anyway. Plus it was cheaper then buying him a new bed. Nothing had changed about our sleeping arrangements since then, except that Henry took up more of the bed now.
I guess I wasn't waking up fast enough for my son's taste because next thing I knew he was sitting on top of my stomach. I cracked my eyes open a little bit, which was enough for the kid because a smile lit up his face.
"Go back to sleep Henry." I moaned, but he only giggled.
"No Mommy you have to get up." He said and leaned forward to push open my eyelids.
I swatted his hand away and lightly scolded him saying, "It's too early to wake up Henry, let me sleep for a little bit longer."
I guess that did the trick because he slid off of my stomach and laid back down next to me. I rolled onto my side to get a peak at my son; a big frown was now on his face. I hated seeing him sad so I scooped him up in my arms and held him close.
"Why do you want me to get up so badly?" I asked
"Cause its Mother's Day." He answered proudly.
I looked down at him slightly surprised that he remembered the date. But when I thought for a moment it really wasn't a surprise at all. Henry was bright and observant and when he set his mind to something he could do it. Remembering the date of Mother's Day must have been one of those things. All week he had been giggling and hiding information from me. The kid was terrible had keeping secrets from me, so I was quickly able to figure out the reason for his change in behavior. I didn't say anything though; he looked so pleased with himself all week and happy. I'm not sure what made this Mother's Day more special then others. It must have had something to do with him being in kindergarten and truly understanding the holiday.
"Is it now?" I pretended to be surprised. Henry nodded his head vigorously. "And what would make this day so special?"
"Cause I get to show you how much I love you. That's what Ms. Johnson told us."
"Don't you do that every day?"
"Yes, but today is all about how good a mommy you are. I made you a card."
With that Henry jumped out of bed and ran to where his backpack was next to the front hall. He pulled out a bright piece of construction paper and a brown paper bag, that was the reason why he wouldn't let me go into his backpack Friday after school. He tried to hide both behind his back as he walked back over to the bed.
"Happy Mother's Day Mommy!" Henry shouted pulling the items out from behind his back and presenting them to me.
"Thank you kid." I took both into my hands and looked at the card first.
It was on red paper with a large oddly shaped heart that said Mommy in the middle. I opened the card up and read Happy Mother's Day Love Henry. I knew it must have taken him a long time to get his letters perfect.
"Open the bag next." Henry instructed bouncing up and down.
I smiled and followed his directions. Inside the bag was a bunch of paper tissue wrapped together with a pipe cleaner.
"They're flowers." Henry explained. "Ms. Lee helped us make them cause she said mom's should get flowers even if they aren't real."
"They are perfect kid." I smiled tears of happiness were in my eyes.
I had never thought that I was see the day where I actually liked Mother's Day. But Henry had changed that. He had changed a lot of things in my life actually, all for the better. There was never a doubt in my mind that I had made the right decision with keeping him.
"I'm glad you like them Mommy."
"I love them kid." I pulled him into a big hug, not caring that I was squishing him. I don't think he minded either, or at least he didn't complain. "What do you say I make us some pancakes for breakfast?"
"Of course we need to have a special Mother's Day breakfast."
"With hot chocolate and cinnamon?"
"What kind of question is that mister?" I started tickling his stomach as a punishment for asking such a silly question. I was reward with his squeals of laughter. "Go pull out the ingredients." I told him and lightly patted his back as he ran out of bed. "Only the ones you can reach" I reminded him, something I had forgotten to do once and we had learned the consequences the hard way.
"Yes Mommy!" he yelled back not bothering to look at me.
I swung my feet to the side of my bed and took my card and flowers. I placed both of them on the nightstand and took a moment to admire the hard work that Henry had completed. I pushed myself all the way out of bed and followed my kid into the kitchen to get our special breakfast ready.
Giggling, that was woke me up on this Sunday morning. I was hoping to sleep in late today since I didn't have to go to the station, but it didn't seem to be in the cards. I rolled over to find the other side of the bed empty. I have found one of the culprits of the giggling. The other one had to be Mary since no one else would be in the apartment at this hour with my son. I laid in bed listening to the sounds of their voices and laughter from downstairs. It was nice to hear Henry so happy with someone that wasn't myself. I had no idea what they were doing down there, but it sounded like they were having fun.
As much as I wanted the two to have alone time, I couldn't wait anymore to see what they were up to. I swung my legs off the side of the bed and creepy quietly to the staircase. I walked down a few stairs until I had a perfect view of all that was going on in the kitchen. Taking a seat I enjoyed the show. Mary and Henry were cooking something; I was too far away to tell. Henry was working on mixing in a big bowl, pieces of batter were flying onto the counter and him but he had a look of pure concentration on his face. Mary walked over to him and wiped off a piece of batter from his cheek, she pretended to give him a stern look but it ended up turning into another fit of laughter. I couldn't stop myself from laughing either the two were cute together. If I wanted to believe in Henry's stories it was a very grandmother/grandson moment. In that kitchen I could believe that Mary and him really were related. I quickly shook that thought from my head, I needed to stop turning to Henry's stories in moments like this I would drive myself crazy if I didn't.
"Morning Emma." Mary said waking me up from my thoughts, I guess I had been caught.
"Morning." I said to both of them and stood up. "What are you two making?" I asked walking to the bottom on the stairs.
"Pancakes and you aren't allowed to help." Henry answered sternly.
"What's the special occasion?"
"It's Mother's Day."
I looked to Mary for confirmation, and she nodded her head. The holiday had once again slipped my mind even though I had been celebrating it with Henry for the past 10 years, or 11 if you counted the year where he was still in my stomach.
"I guess it is, sorry I forgot." I apologized.
"You always forget." Henry sighed and rolled his eyes, he was used to this response from me.
"Lucky for me I have an amazing son who always remembers." I gave him an overly cheesy smile, which caused him to roll his eyes again. I had to bite my lip to stop from laughing at him.
"Can I get back to work please? I want to finish making you breakfast." Henry said getting impatient, but I couldn't let him off the hook that easily.
"You could finish or I could just eat off of you." I grabbed him into my arms before he had time to escape. I gave him a big kiss on the cheek right on top of a large clump of batter.
"Mom." Henry groaned and pushed his way out of my grasp.
The kid dramatically wiped where I had kissed him a scowl on his face. Not being able to hold it in any longer I burst out laughing, Mary joined in with me.
Once she caught her breath Mary said, "Go sit before you distract the mastermind behind all this. He has been planning all week."
"You have?" I looked at Henry, who nodded his head proudly.
"I finally had another adult to help me make breakfast so you wouldn't have to do it." He answered a big smile on his face.
"Thanks kid." I went to go hug him, but he quickly moved away probably afraid of a repeat of earlier.
Not wanting to get in the way of all my son had planned I sat down at the counter and watched as the two finished making breakfast. Luckily the hard part was done, all that was left was pouring the batter onto the skillet to cook. Mary did most of the work here, but she allowed Henry to do a few as well. She was so good with him and patient as he messed up a few of the pancakes. Once the pancakes were all cooked Mary and Henry put them on a plate and carried them over to the table. I followed them along and sat down in my usual seat.
"We made hot chocolate too." Henry told me and presented me with a mug.
"With cinnamon?" I asked half teasing him.
"Duh." He laughed as if it was the most ridiculous question, which it was or at least to the three of us.
"Can I give her my gifts now?" Henry asked looking at Mary.
"If you want to." She answered and he ran off to retrieve them.
Out of the corner of my eyes I watched Mary. Once again Henry's stories came to mind. If this woman was really my mother that means this holiday was about her as well. Which means I should have gotten her a gift as well, or at least a card. I really had to stop thinking like this it wasn't healthy. I decided to compromise with myself and make sure to thank her at the end of the day for everything she had done today and the past seven months.
"Close your eyes and hold out your hands." Henry yelled and I listened not wanting to spoil his fun or the surprise. I felt the familiar weight of construction paper enter my hands. "Okay now open."
I opened my eyes to see another hand made Mother's Day card. I had a collection of them now; I couldn't find it in myself to throw anything that Henry made for me away. The cards weren't any different from year to year, other then better pictures and handwriting, but I knew how much effort my son put into them for me. The least I could do was keep them.
"Thanks kid." I smiled at him.
"That's not all." He said and placed a potted flower on the table. "Ms. Blanchard had us paint the pots ourselves and they she glazed them. Then we got to pick out a flower we wanted to put in our pot."
"It's beautiful." I picked up the gift to better inspect Henry's handiwork. The bottom was painted red and the rim was blue. "Come here." I said and put the plant back down on the table.
"You aren't going to try and eat the batter off me again are you?" Henry asked nervously.
"No." I laughed.
Henry sighed in relief and fell into my arms. I pulled him in close, not caring about the batter on him. I don't know how I got so lucky to have such an amazing son; especially after all I had done when I was younger. It felt like another lifetime when I was pregnant with him and deliberating if I should keep him or give him up for adoption. Now that I had him I couldn't imagine what it would be like without him, not that I ever wanted to experience that.
I kissed the top of his head and whispered, "Thank you."
"You're welcome mom. I love you." He replied snuggling closer into me
"I love you too."
I snuck a glance at Mary who had a big smile on her face. I smiled back at her and mouthed thank you. She just nodded her head. That simple thank you wasn't enough to express how much gratitude I had for her and all that she had done for my son and I, but at least it was a start.