I submit this story with apologies to Vinsmouse - this sentence should warn you enough, and to May7fic, who would prefer stories that weren't set in the future, and especially all you fans of Daniel who would rather I write about him. I promise to write a tear-free story - as God as my wittness, but this one isn't it. I suppose this particular story is a little bit too shaded over with my actual life. I've always used writing as an escape during times of stress, and I suppose some of the plot here will explain why I've been so prolific. As for my real life, we've not reached the end described here, but like Guthrie sometimes hope is all you have, so I believe the same ending will be true for all of us. I hope you enjoy this short glimpse into an imperfect future for all those McFaddens.
I was cursing while I was trying to set up the crib for daughter's bedroom. It has fifty-seven steps to put it together. The directions are printed in Chinese, Spanish and what looks to be Finish, although I'm not sure. I told my wife that I could build one faster than put the danged thing together, but I'm not sure she really believes me. She's a city girl and never lived around folks who could make most things themselves. She says I have a strange approach to most things, and I guess she's right.
I was raised by my older brothers; six of them. My parents were killed in a car crash when I was two, and as terrible as it sounds, it didn't impact me nearly as much as it did them. I was a baby and don't remember them. I grew up loved and spoiled. But from time to time, the differences show. My wife, Jeanne laughs when she hears stories about my brothers and I riding our bikes around the front porch when it was raining, or building a wooden fort in the middle of the livingroom.
"My mother would never have let my brother do that." She told me.
"Really? It made sense to us. We couldn't ride out in the rain, so Adam let us ride on the porch, as long as we didn't ride up and down the stairs."
"Seriously, Guthrie, sometimes it is like you were raised by wolves." She teased.
We met in medical school. Jeanne's a pediatrician and two years older than me. She's already survived residency which is good because there's no way on earth we would've made it through with the two of us going through it at the same time. I'm almost finished now, and I hardly ever get to see her, which drives me nuts because I love being around her - which is kind of why I married her.
And now we are expecting our first child; a daughter. I don't know too much about girls; I had only one adopted sister, and much later one niece. Being a father to a girl makes me pretty nervous. I don't know too much about fathers either, since mine died before I could remember him, but Jeanne is quick to remind me that I had a father my whole life-long and pretty damn good one at that; even if he was just my older brother. I know she's right. You couldn't find a better father than Adam, even though he was not quite eighteen when he got the job of raising the six of us.
Still it makes me nervous to be a dad. I don't know what it was like to grow up in a house with a mom and dad. I didn't have a mom until I was twelve years old when my oldest brother finally married. I would have loved if she had been there when I was little, but she wasn't, so I don't know what it is like for a five year old to have a mom. I was raised by my brothers, or as Jeanne likes to point out, wolves.
"You had parents Guthrie. You still do." Jeanne always tell me when I start to panic about impending fatherhood. "You lived half your life with a mother, and you watched them raise your nephews and your niece. Stop panicking. You'll be a good father."
"I don't know." I tell her. "I'm not like Adam." I wish I was. My brother is the epitome of a strong man. He's been a rancher his whole life, although, a few years back my other brother Crane talked everyone into putting in vineyards. It was the wave of the future he told us, and he's usually right about these things, so we went along. Our grapes are pretty popular too. We've got two wineries who pay good money for them. So I guess you could say Adam's a vintner with some cows as a hobby now. He and my brother Crane still run our ranch; Circle Bar Seven. I miss it sometimes, but I do not getting up at five in the morning for chores before school. I miss those days though running wild and free through the countryside. I wish my daughter could have a life like that too.
"You pack your vitamins?" Jeanne asks me. She's a health nut and always making me take this or that. I was in a bad car accident just before I turned thirteen and have only one kidney, and no spleen. She's always paranoid about me and germs.
"Yes." I say patiently trying not to be distracted by how pretty Jeanne is; it's how she wins most arguments with me. She's gorgeous - long-legged, blonde with bright blue eyes. The first time I saw her I was sure she already had a boyfriend, and even if she didn't I figured I didn't stand a chance. She's right when she says I was raised by wolves. I'm a country boy, lost in the city. I wasn't much of a player. She says that is what she liked about me. Being as pretty as she is, men were always chasing her down, but I figured I didn't stand a chance so I didn't try. That's why she asked me out. I was stunned and almost didn't say yes out of fear, but I'm sure glad I did. Nothing makes me happier than Jeanne.
I'm headed home for a few days. Jeanne can't come because she's got a conference and she's pretty torn up about it.
"I wish. . ." She said watching me pack.
"I know, honey." I tell her. "Hannah does too. You can come next time. Besides, they'll all be here soon. Once this little one shows up." I reach out and rub her stomach and am reward with a swift kick from our daughter. I'm amazed every time. I pull Jeanne into my arms and kiss her. "You'll see, there'll be lots of visits in the future."
She nods her head, but wipes away tears. We both know that might not be true, but I say it anyway because sometimes hope is all you've got.