Many things can change your life. Being born, meeting the love of your life, going to college, getting married, getting your dream job and too many other things to count. Something simple can change your life too, such as words. Words like 'will you marry me?' or 'it's all up to you to change the world.' There have been many things that have changed my life, getting adopted, becoming a Kung Fu master, meeting, dating and getting married to my best friend/love my life and a whole lot more. But like I said before, simple things like words can change your life, and there was one word that changed my life. However, I think I should start with this morning.
It started like a regular day, the gong rang and my friends, my love and I greeted our master. He dismissed us to breakfast that Po cooked as always while he went out to meditate. While we waited for Po to finish, Monkey and Mantis were having a serious debate over who had better fighting moves.
"Oh please Mantis! I've master over one hundred moves!"
"I've mastered more than two hundred!"
"You don't even know the Inverted Horseshoe Kick!" (A.N. Got that move from an internet video.)
"Yeah I don't, because it's not real!"
Viper, Crane and I groaned. Suddenly, we noticed Po was laughing. "Why are you laughing?" I asked him.
"Monkey made that move up. He told me how to do it." Po choked in between laughs. We all looked at Monkey who had a smug grin on his face.
"How do you do it?" Mantis asked as Po was serving the hot bowls of noodles. Po suddenly stopped laughing. He had an uncertain look on his face, but he went up to Mantis and whispered something in his… I guess you could call it his ear.
"Oh, gross!" Mantis said and Monkey started to laugh. (A.N. The video didn't give away the whole move because a guy came in and interrupted the guys talking.)
"How… forget it. I don't want to know." said Crane. I rolled my eyes as Po sat in his usual chair next to mine and kissed my cheek. I smiled at him and I looked at the ring on my finger. It always brought a smile to my face.
The first thing I noticed that day was that I wasn't that hungry, which was unusual, because just the smell of Po's noodles always made my stomach growl. I felt strangely nauseous.
"Tigress, are you ok?" I heard Po ask. I looked at him and saw out of the corner of my eye that the others were looking at me too.
"I'm fine, why?" I asked, not wanting to worry him or the other four.
"You haven't touched your noodles."
"I'm just not very hungry." I knew then that I hadn't convinced Po because he can read me like a first grader's book. I ate a few quick bites and quickly got up. "I'll meet you guys in the training hall." I said and walked out of the kitchen leaving all of them uncertain.
I walked down the hall and into the training hall. I looked around wondering where I should start first, but before I could even take another step, my stomach started to hurt again, only this time, it was worse. I wanted to ignore it, but it was almost overpowering. I then instantly knew what was going to happen and ran to the bathroom. I stood over the trash can and waited. After a few dry heaves, the contents of my stomach were in the trash can.
After I finished, I stood in shock for a moment. Other than my stomach, I felt completely fine. I went to the sink and washed the horrid taste out of my mouth. As I was doing that, I began to worry. What was I supposed to tell Po and the others? Should I even tell them at all? Could I just act like nothing was wrong? I looked over my head to see the medicine cabinet. I decided to first figure out if I had a fever. I opened the medicine cabinet and I looked around through the bandages and creams, until I found the thermometer. I washed it off and stuck it under my tongue.
About three minutes later, I took it out of my mouth. I looked at it and frowned. 98.6 degrees. That couldn't have been right. I washed the thermometer off again and stuck it back in my mouth. After another three minutes, I took it out of my mouth to find the same results.
I tried two more times, but they all ended up the same way. If I didn't have a fever then what was wrong with me? I racked my brain for another answer, then recalled something that had happened not too long ago. I wasn't sure it was that, but it couldn't hurt to try. I dug around in the medicine cabinet some more until I found what I was looking for. I went over to one of the toilets.
When I was done, I looked at the item and my eyes grew wide. No… it can't be! I thought. I grabbed another one of the same item and tried again. Same results. I tried once more and got the same answer. While in shock, I put all three items in the sink. I stared at them for a long time. Could this really be happening?
Suddenly, I heard someone else walked in. "There you are!" said a voice I instantly recognized. "I've been looking all over for you!"
I looked at Po and he looked at me. "What's wrong?" he asked. He then walked over to me and I looked back at the sink. He looked in there too and his eyes grew as wide as mine.
By now, you're probably thinking, well Tigress, we understand how things are going, but what was the one word that changed your life? Well, some of you may have figured it out, but some of you may not have. In case your one of those people who haven't, I'll tell you. Po and I were looking at three of that same word.
"Does this mean…" Po said.
"I'm pregnant." I said.
There was dead silence for a moment. I could almost hear my heart beat. I slowly looked up at Po who, to my surprise was smiling. "We're going to be parents!" he said and immediately swooped me into a tight, yet careful (for obvious reasons) hug. That was about when he realized that my frown hadn't left my face. He let me go and frowned as well.
"What's wrong?" he asked. "Aren't you happy?"
"…I'm scared." I muttered towards my feet.
"Well… remember how I was when…" I swallowed hard since the thought of this memory was like a punch in the heart, "when you first came to the Jade Palace? Or how I lost my temper when you tried to come with us to beat Shen after I told you to stay put?"
"What if… I lose my temper with the child or I'm just not a good mother?" I asked once again towards my feet.
I felt Po put his hand on my shoulder. "I know a lot about you Tigress, and I know for a fact, you feel guilty about how you treated me in the beginning, not that I'm mad about it, because I'm not and I never was. Also, I know you were just trying to protect me from getting hurt or killed."
"But… I've never been that good with kids…"
"I don't want to offend you, but I know for a fact, that's a lie. I saw you at my dad's shop during the winter festival with that little baby pig. Unless she was a really good actress, which I highly doubt because she looked like she was three, she was having fun. I know because she was giggling."
"It's… it's not that." I said looking at Po. He now looked confused.
"Then what is it?"
I looked back at my feet. The memory I was thinking of haunted me. I didn't want Po to think badly of me because of something that. I tried to remain silent, but like I said, Po can read me like a first grader's book.
"Tigress, you know you can tell me anything." I heard him say.
I sighed and knew that I had to tell him. "When I was about nineteen… I had to help Master Shifu with the children's class in the winter…" I suddenly lost my words. My fists clenched and a single tear rolled down my cheek. The only time that had ever happened was when I had thought Po was dead and the five and I had been captured (A.N. Come on! It's obvious she was crying! Did you guys see the look on her face?)
I felt Po wipe it away. "I hate to ask, but what happened?" he asked, caressing my cheek. I always felt special when he did that, and he knew it. I felt a little better.
"One of the kids was being a brat. He kept making smart remarks and being rude to the other kids. Many of them came to me crying or upset. I helped them at first, but eventually, I got so frustrated… I brought the boy in front of everyone and… I said to the other kids… 'why are you so intimidated by him? Look at him… he doesn't have large muscles, he's not tall or anything intimidating at all! Why are so afraid of a little kid?' The boy… ran off crying… I didn't think much of it at first… I gave his parents a full report when they came to pick him up… I noticed they looked mad and he looked scared… I still didn't think anything of it until I was at the market that day… I was walking by an alley and I saw…" I paused to brace myself. "I saw the kid in the alley… he was sitting in the dark hugging his knees. I went up to him and asked him what was wrong… and then I noticed… he had a black eye, dried blood on his nose and a large scar on his right arm… I knew for a fact that he didn't have those in class… and it was winter and he didn't have a coat or even a scarf… He said… 'I know you hate me… everyone does… even my parents…' and that's when I realized my mistake… because he was already abused enough by his own family… I wanted to help him… but he must have read my mind… because he said… 'you've done enough… you don't need to help me out of guilt… just leave me alone.' I never saw him again… and I've never forgiven myself…"
I looked up at Po and he looked like his heart nearly stopped. "That's why I'm scared I'll do something bad or just not be a good mother… a monster like me doesn't deserve a precious gift of life… which is why I'm surprised I was lucky enough to be married to you. You deserve and could have found someone so much better."
That time I swear Po's heart DID stop.
I looked down again and Po took my hand. "Tigress, look at me." I heard him say. I slowly looked up.
"I could search the entire universe for a better girl, but I would always end up coming right back to you. You're the only girl I've ever loved and the only one I ever will love. Plus you didn't know what was truly happening with that kid. You were just trying to help the others. You need to let go of the past and keep moving forward. Since that was about eleven years ago, that's probably what that kid's doing right now. If I hadn't let go of my past, I wouldn't be the Dragon Warrior, I wouldn't be living in the Jade Palace, and I wouldn't be married to the most amazing girl in the universe. I know you'll be a wonderful mother. You're not a monster. Monsters don't help others. You're sweet, smart, strong, beautiful, and the only person I've ever seen who can do the things you can do. You're the only one for me. Anyone would be lucky to have you, which is why I'm the luckiest guy in the universe."
I couldn't believe my ears. I had always wanted to be loved, but, even from an amazing guy like Po, I would never have expected anyone to say those words to me. I smiled. "You really think that?"
"I know that." Po said and smiled. I then pulled him close and kissed him, which I felt him return. That's when I knew that things were going to be just fine.
8 ¾ months later-
Tigress and Po looked at the beautiful, sleeping baby girl in Tigress' arms. She had been born less than an hour ago and was a black and white tiger. They had named her Lin Lin. As Po stroked his new daughter's cheek and Tigress rocked her gently, she opened her jade green eyes for the first time. They were just like Po's.
"I guess I have to take back what I said about you being the only girl I'll ever love." Po said.
"I was just about to say the same thing." Tigress said.
Lin Lin smiled for the first time.