I could feel the sun tickling my face as it pulled me back to conciseness. My eyes fluttered open and I smiled when I saw Graced snuggled close to me. I didn’t move, not wanting to wake her. I just wanted to treasure this moment forever, watching her sleep peacefully next to me, her mother. I still couldn’t completely wrap my mind around the idea of Grace being my daughter. She was brave, and kind, and loving, and completely selfless. How could I ever live up to the expectations she had of me? I wasn’t perfect, far from it. Could she love me for me, even if I wasn’t exactly who she thought I was? I didn’t want to disappoint her, after everything she had been through to find me, to save me really, from a life of never knowing one very important person.
I laughed quietly to myself. I was being ridiculous. Of course Grace loved me for me. I thought back to when I walked into her room in the hospital and to the look of pure joy on her face. I thought about how I had run to her and wrapped her in my arms, my little girl. She had gone to the ends of the earth to bring back my memories and she had given up so much to do it. How could I doubt her love for me? It was selfish for me to think that she wouldn’t love me, after everything she had done proved time and time again that she did love me with all of her big, caring heart.
I looked at my daughter, watched her body move with the air that entered her lungs, and then left them again. I watched as she twitched a little in her sleep and smiled. I wonder what she was dreaming about. Perhaps I would ask her later, when she was awake, but for now I wanted to enjoy this precious moment.
That moment turned out to be more like an hour or longer considering I fell asleep watching my sweet girl. When I woke up again it was because I could feel Grace’s arm sliding across my stomach and wrapping around me. I opened my eyes and smiled at her. She gave me an apologetic look, but I shook my head.
“It’s okay sweetheart. I’m glad I woke up.” I smiled at her and watched as a small smile spread over her face. Her hand slipped under my back and she rested her head on my chest. I stoked her hair and closed my eyes, wishing that this moment could last forever. But of course it couldn’t. We were both just laying there when I sat up and jumped off the bed. I made a mad dash for the bathroom and the toilet, reaching it just in time. A moment later I felt Grace’s hand on my back as she rubbed my, now stiff and tense muscles. After a few minutes I straightened up and took a deep breath. Finally I placed my attention on Grace. Her big grey eyes were full of worry and tears spilled down her cheeks. I wrapped her in my arms and whispered to her “Its okay Grace. I’m okay beautiful. You don’t need to worry.” I rubbed her back as she sobbed into my shoulder. Her body was shaking in my arms, and I could tell I had really frightened her. I lead her back to the bed and coaxed her to sit with me.
“I guess, no I don’t guess, I know I need to tell you something.” I wasn’t ready to tell her. I was worried it might hurt her. I thought she would be happy, but I just wasn’t sure. Her worried eyes searched my face for answers. Before I could speak she grabbed my hand and wrote frantically.
“Mom please tell me you aren’t sick. I can’t loose you, not after only having you for one day. Please I can’t.” She sobbed hysterically into my shoulder and held onto me as if both of our lives depended on it. Again I rubbed her back and worked to calm her. When her tears slowed I looked at her and wiped the remaining drops from her cheeks.
“Darling I didn’t mean to scare you, and I am so sorry that I did. I have been worried about telling you something because I’m not sure how you are going to handle it. I don’t want to hurt you; I just want you to be happy.”
“I can’t be happy if I’m worried I might loose you. I just found you, I’m not ready to let go of you mom.” It was an honest answer.
“Honey I’m just afraid that this might hurt you, not physically but emotionally.” I wasn’t sure why I believed that, but I couldn’t shake the thought that when I told her what I was keeping secret, I would loose her. I didn’t want to loose her either.
“Mom the truth can’t hurt me. But this secret is. Please just tell me.” I nodded. I had to tell her. I couldn’t hurt my baby girl.
“Grace, sweetie,” I paused and took a deep breath, “I’m pregnant.” The moment the words left my lips tears filled my eyes and I fell back on the bed. Sobs raged through my body. For a long time I wasn’t aware of anything other than my tears. Fear swelled in my heart, convincing me that I would loose Grace because of this. I was so caught up in my fearful thoughts that I almost missed the kiss that Grace placed on my cheek. I opened my eyes and forced myself to look at my daughter. I expected the worse, and was completely surprised to find a smiling, and teary eyed Grace laying next to me on the bed. She stroked my cheek gently with her hand. Then she took my hand and talked to me, no convinced me I was wrong.
“Mom why were you so worried about telling me you are having a baby? I think that is wonderful news. How could this hurt me? I don’t understand.” She looked at me intently, searching my face for the answers to her questions. I squeezed her hand and attempted to give her what she was seeking.
“I-I don’t know darling. Maybe I was just caught off guard because this wasn’t how I was going to tell you, because I was forced into telling you, before I was ready.” She nodded.
“I guess I didn’t want you to feel…” What didn’t I want her to feel? Like I was replacing her? I wasn’t doing that. I was simply adding one to the family.
“Mom the only thing I feel right now is complete joy for you and Robin. You should be happy too, not worried about me.” She watched me carefully, as if she were reading me like a book. Had she learned to read my feelings already? Apparently the Evil Queen needed to work an rebuilding her emotional armor. But then I shook my head. I didn’t need to do that. I liked being open with the people I cared about. I didn’t have to hide how I felt and that was so freeing.
“Mom I love you, nothing could ever stop me from loving you. You are so kind and gentle. I love the way you wrap me in your arms and hold me tight, like a silent promise to never loose me again. I love the way you smile at me with pride in your eyes. You listen to everything I say, take in every word as if it’s as precious as gold. You aren’t perfect and I don’t expect you to be. I love you just the way you are. You’re my mom and I am your daughter, and just that one thought makes me the happiest person in the world.” I watched her intently as she said this, watched to see if she was speaking the truth. She lifted my chin with her hand and smiled at me before she wrapped me in her arms. After a while she pulled back and looked at me, scanning my face with care.
“Are you okay mom? No more worries?” I smiled.
“No more worries sweet girl.” I looked at the clock and laughed.
“Do you want something to eat? It’s already ten thirty.” She nodded eagerly as we both stood. Before we left the room Grace stopped and placed her hand on my stomach. Both of us smiled.
With our unoccupied hands Grace wrote “I love you mom, with all my heart.” And I loved her too with all of mine. I leaned down and kissed her head.
“Let’s go eat kiddo.” Smiling we left the room hand in hand, mother and daughter, forever.