In January, Alex is standing outside Jamie’s elementary school.
She was off today, and Maggie was caught up in a case and wasn’t going to make it on time. Sometimes James steps in, but he was in the middle of a meeting at CatCo.
They’d been dating for a month, and Alex has been here with Maggie a handful of times before, so it’s not unusual—she’s just never been here by herself.
She’s waiting for the final bell to ring, when a woman comes up beside her, “You’re Jamie’s mom, right?”
Her eyes go wide, “Oh! Um…no. No.”
The woman frowns slightly, “Oh. Forgive me, I’ve seen you around before. I thought you and Maggie were…together…” the last word trails off, like she’s embarrassed.
Alex tilts her chin, “We are.”
The woman looks more confused, “Oh…”
The bell rings, and they’re both momentarily distracted, searching through the waves of kids. No one’s ever outright called her Jamie’s mom before, and that threw her.
“Maggie is my girlfriend, and Jamie is her daughter.”
She can see the woman process the information, and she smiles kindly, “Got it. Sorry. I hope I didn’t offend you.”
“Oh, no. You’re fine.”
She extends her hand, and Alex shakes it, “I’m Caleb’s mom—Laura.”
“Alex. Nice to meet you.”
That tiny voice never fails to warm her heart. She turns around and Jamie is running at her at full speed. She’s not sure if she’ll ever be greeted any other way—and she’s not sure she wants to be.
She picks her up and slings her on her hip, “Where’s my mama?”
“Busy at work,” Jamie frowns and she feels the nerves start to spread in her chest, “It’s just me. Is…is that ok?”
The grin she gets in response dissolves all her worries, “Yes!”
Alex puts her back on the ground, takes her hand, and they start walking home. Even though it’s only been a month, she has a key to Maggie’s place, and vis versa.
They were still figuring things out, but a month back together with Maggie was not like a month of dating someone new. In a lot of ways, their relationship moved faster, but in some ways—like with Jamie—it moved slowly.
“Can we get ice cream?”
Alex laughs, “Would your mama let you get ice cream before dinner?”
Jamie considers the question, “No…” she admits.
“Then I think you found your answer.”
“But you’re more fun!”
She has to try not to laugh. She bites down on her lip, trying to think of an answer that won’t throw Maggie under the bus, and won’t make Jamie think she’s a pushover.
She kneels down to her level, “Well, I like having fun with you, but…even when we have fun, we have to respect your mama’s rules.”
Jamie stares for a second, then shrugs, “I guess so.”
“Ok.” She stands back up and they keep walking.
Not ten feet later, Jamie stops, “So what if we get ice cream but don’t eat it until after dinner?”
She looks down, and Jamie’s got a big grin on her face. Alex really is a bit of a pushover—even when she knows she’s conning her way into ice cream, “You think that’s a good compromise?”
“What’s a compromise?”
“Um…it’s like when two people have a problem, and you try to come up with an answer that helps them both.”
She furrows her brow, and it’s adorable. Then she jumps, “Then yes!”
Alex can’t really argue. It’s actually a good compromise, “Alright we can do that. But you can only have it after dinner—and only if your mama says it’s okay. Deal?”
Jamie hugs her tight around her waist, “Deal!”
A week or so after Valentine’s Day, Alex and Maggie are making dinner with the TV on in the background, and Jamie is coloring on the floor in Alex’s living room.
The news is on, and a story starts about Supergirl—so Alex is tuned in, even though she can’t see it.
“This is boring, I’m gonna change it,” Jamie chirps.
Alex doesn’t even think, she automatically says, “No, you’re not.”
But as soon as the sentence is out of her mouth, she gets nervous. She peers over her shoulder at Maggie, but she’s not looking.
Jamie last about five more seconds, “The news is so booooring. I wanna change it.”
Alex feels Maggie’s hand on her back before she hears, “Alex already told you no.”
“Fine,” she huffs.
Alex steels herself to look at her girlfriend, “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have—”
But the look she’s getting is only kind, “It’s your house, Alex.”
She swallows hard and goes back to making dinner, but she can’t stop thinking about it.
Alex reminds herself the rest of the night—and most of that week—to try and leave the parenting to Maggie.
In April, they’re getting ready to go to the zoo. It’s Sunday, and they promised Jamie they would go, but it’s rainy and cold—and she will still not let them out of it.
Maggie’s getting dressed, and Alex is putting her shoes on in the kitchen when Jamie appears in shorts, a t-shirt, and flip-flops.
She grins, “Um…I think you might need to change.”
Jamie looks herself up and down and crosses her arms, “No.”
Perfect. It’s going to be cold and miserable, and Jamie is also going to be miserable.
Alex tries to coax her into a better mood, “I know it looks like a swimming pool out there, but I think you need some pants, and rain boots, and probably a jacket.”
“You’re not my mama!”
It feels like a slap across the face.
Alex opens her mouth, but she can’t get words out, and she feels like she’s going to cry. She doesn’t really know what to say anyway. She nods a little and walks into the bedroom, sitting on the edge of the bed, and remembering how to breathe.
Maggie comes in, throwing her hair in a ponytail, “Sorry! I’m hurrying. I promise. Is Jamie dressed?”
She swallows down the tears and hopes her voice comes out normal, “She is…but you might need to approve the outfit.”
Maggie raises an eyebrow, “Everything ok?”
She backs out of the room slowly, “Alright…I’ll go check on the little monster.”
Alex is quiet the whole way to the zoo. Her brain is in overdrive. When those words came out of Jamie’s mouth, it hurt instantly. That had to mean something, right? She wasn’t really trying to be her mom then. It was just…she was fairly certain Maggie wouldn’t let her out of the house like that, and she was trying to help out.
She loves Maggie. And she loves Jamie. She’s been so unbelievably happy these last few months. But there’s a big difference between exchanging keys and picking Jamie up from school and sleeping over a few nights a week…and mama.
She’s not sure she’s ready.
Mama is permanent. And yes, there were moments where she thinks about the future, and imagines them forever—but they’re not there yet. They really haven’t even talked about it.
Every few minutes, she can feel Maggie watching her closely, but she can’t bring herself to say anything. Not yet—and definitely not with Jamie around.
By the time they’re at the zoo, Jamie is back to her giggly, silly self. She’s pretending to be an elephant, and waddling like a penguin, and begging to feed the giraffes.
It stops raining after lunch, and Jamie is jumping from puddle to puddle on the way to the rainforest building, with Alex and Maggie strolling a little ways behind her.
“Are you going to tell me what happened this morning?”
She shrugs, “It was nothing.”
Maggie stops and takes her hand, so she stops too. She looks up at her with a frown, “Alex, something happened—”
She opens her mouth to protest, but Maggie keeps going.
“You don’t have to tell me if you don’t want to, or…at all, I guess…but please don’t tell me it was nothing when it wasn’t.”
For the second time that day, Alex wants to cry, “Can we talk about it later?”
Maggie takes her hand and laces her fingers through her own, “Of course.”
The rest of the day is fun, and Alex’s mood has improved. Except for the one moment this morning, Jamie was just like she always is. She asked Alex to hold her up to see the baby otters, and made her watch while she tried to balance and walk along the curb, she held her hand, and hugged her tight, and sweet talked Alex into buying her a stuffed tree frog—that one actually didn’t take much convincing.
After they get home, and Jamie is asleep, she’s thinking the whole thing over.
Alex is laying in bed, and Maggie crawls in and curls up against her side. She runs her hands through Maggie’s hair absentmindedly, until she finds the words she wants to say.
“So this morning…” she feels Maggie tense a little, but she keeps going, “This morning…well, you saw Jamie’s outfit…”
Maggie laughs a little, “Goofball. I don’t know what she was thinking…”
She laughs a little too, “No idea. So I was putting on my shoes and she said she was ready to go—obviously she was not.”
“She was not,” Maggie agrees.
“So I told her as much. I didn’t yell at her or anything, I just said she needed pants and boots and a jacket.”
“Right…” the next part is harder to say, “but she was a little grumpy, and she just crossed her arms and looked up at me and said…‘You’re not my mama.’”
Maggie sits up quickly and looks at her, “Oh, Alex—”
But it’s her turn to cut her off, she shakes her head, “It’s ok.” Maggie’s eyes look sad, and Alex pats the bed next to her, “It’s ok, I promise. Lay back down.”
Maggie does reluctantly, and Alex relaxes at the warmth at her side. She starts combing her hands back through Maggie’s hair until she feels her relax too. It’s easier to say the hard stuff without Maggie’s big brown eyes boring straight into her soul.
“I was hurt, at first. You saw that this morning, and I should’ve told you. I’m sorry.” She takes a deep breath, “I wasn’t trying to be…you, I just…I saw she was inappropriately dressed, and tried to help out. But I’m not her mom, and I overstepped.”
She pauses, “I didn’t?”
Maggie sits up slower this time, and kisses her softly, “Sorry, Al—I can’t do this laying down. I need to look at you…”
She puts her hand on Alex’s cheek, and she’s looking at her so softly, so kindly—and that look alone melts even her deepest fears.
“You didn’t overstep. She loves you Alex, and I know how much you love her. You were doing what you thought was right, and it was exactly what I would’ve done.”
“Really. And yes, you’re…not her mom…” she winces slightly, “And I don’t know if you even want to be—we haven’t really had that conversation,” she adds quickly. “But you’re a big part of our life, and that means something. You’re important.”
Alex nods a little, mulling over some of those words, “Could we?”
“Could we what?”
“Could we…um…maybe, if—if you want…” she’s usually so much better at this, but it makes her incredibly nervous, “Could we maybe have that conversation…one day?”
The grin on Maggie’s face makes her heart soar, “Yeah. I think I’d really like that.”
On Mother’s Day they wake up in Portland, one of their few stops on the drive back from the trip to Seattle.
Alex and Jamie sneak out early to find a local bakery with vegan cinnamon rolls, and surprise Maggie with breakfast in bed.
Last week, Alex had found time to ask Jamie all of the things she normally does on Mother’s Day with Maggie. Jamie said breakfast in bed, and that she has to make Maggie a card, and then later they get dressed up go out to dinner.
Alex makes sure they have time in their day to do every single one of those things.
After breakfast, Maggie wants to go to one of the nearby national parks, so they spend all day hiking through the woods, and kayaking, and outside with each other and no distractions. It might actually be Alex’s favorite day of their whole trip.
Back at the hotel, Jamie’s taking a bath before they get dressed up for dinner, and Alex was reading a book in bed—but right now she’s mesmerized by the woman she loves pace around the room in a bra and jeans while she sets up what she needs to iron her shirt.
Maggie sees her staring and grins. But when she crawls up next to her in bed, she looks…disappointed, “You should come with us.”
Alex kisses her, but shakes her head, “It’s your day, babe.”
“Well, if it’s really my day, then I declare that you come to dinner with us.”
“You declare?” she laughs, “How very regal of you.”
But Maggie’s voice is serious now, “Please, Alex?”
She hesitates. She wants to, and she doesn’t want to. It’s a weird dance they’ve been doing for months, trying to find where Alex fits in this already-existing family dynamic. With just Maggie, she has no hesitations. She knows her role there. Even when it’s just her and Jamie, it’s pretty easy.
Around both of them, though…she still struggled.
She let Maggie take the lead, but she also didn’t want to just do nothing. It’s been working so far, but they talked about it a lot. It was probably the thing they talked about most in their relationship. But Alex was still new at it, and she took it seriously, and she wanted so desperately to get it right.
She kisses her again, “It’s Mother’s Day, Mags. I’m not her mother. This is for you two to share.”
“I feel like I’m leaving you out,” she frowns.
“You’re not. I promise. There is nothing about celebrating you today that makes me feel left out.”
About an hour after they leave for dinner, Alex’s phone rings. She answers and it’s deafening, “ALEXXXX!!”
A huge grin is instantly plastered on her face in the empty hotel room. She really hopes they’re in the car, and not both yelling her name somewhere in public, “Wow. Hi.”
“Alex, we miss you!” Jamie yells.
“We do. We miss you, babe.”
Her heart could explode, “I miss you too. Both of you.”
“We finished dinner and we’re going to get tiramisu because the restaurant didn’t have any and it’s Mama’s favorite and you have to come with us!” Jamie somehow manages that all in one breath without stopping, and Alex laughs.
“You heard it, Al. It has been declared.”
She rolls her eyes a little, still grinning, “Has it now?”
“It has. I’m texting you an address. Meet us as soon as you can.”
“I’m not even dressed!”
“Well, put some pants on woman!”
She can hear Jamie giggling, “Alex isn’t wearing pants!”
“I’m wearing pants!” she defends loudly, and for no real reason, “Alright…” she laughs, “I’ll see you soon.”
“I love you, Al.”
“Love you Alex!”
“I love you too.”
The cab drops her off, and if she didn’t see Maggie and Jamie leaning against the car, she would’ve though she was in the wrong place.
She walks up to them curiously, and Maggie kisses her, “Hey.”
Jamie takes her hand, and Maggie takes the other, squeezing it slightly and answering the question Alex hadn’t even asked yet, “Quick pit stop before dessert,” she whispers.
Together, the three of them walk up the stairs to the little church and go inside.
Alex hasn’t been in a lot of Catholic churches, so she follows Maggie’s lead—and maybe Jamie hasn’t been in a lot of them either, because she seems to be a little lost too.
They don’t walk up the main aisle like she expected. Instead, Maggie looks around a little, then turns to her left, where dozens of candles are lined up in neat rows—some of them lit, some of them not.
Jamie now seems to know what to do.
Alex watches her pick up a candle, while Maggie strikes a match and lights it. When Jamie puts it down, both of them kneel in front of the alter. With the smallest nod from Maggie, Alex follows suit.
They don’t say anything, but Alex watches both of them close their eyes, and Jamie’s lips moving silently in what she assumes is some kind of prayer.
Then they stand, and she follows Maggie up the aisle, into a row toward the back—but Jamie doesn’t sit next to them. Whatever is happening is clearly something they’ve done before, and also something Alex has never witnessed.
“Did you bring it?” Jamie asks.
Her voice echoes through the empty church, but Maggie doesn’t seem to mind. She kisses Jamie’s cheek and hands her a folded photo from her pocket, “Here you go, peanut.”
The five-year-old takes it carefully, and marches up the the very front of the church to sit down by herself. Alex can hear her talking, but it’s quiet enough that she can’t make out anything she’s saying.
Maggie takes her hand and drops her voice so it’s as quiet as she can make it, “We used to go to the cemetery, but since we moved…we’re still trying to figure it out. She seems to like this for now. Maybe not the exact intention of the votive candles, but…” she shrugs, “I think it’s kind of nice. And hopefully He won’t mind.”
It takes a few seconds for her to put that into context, and when it hits her, Alex wants to cry—but she realizes now that Maggie already is, so she doesn’t. She squeezes her hand instead, hoping that’s enough for now, “I didn’t even think about it.”
Maggie half-grins, “It’s ok. Sometimes she forgets too, but I’m trying hard not to let her.”
“You’re amazing,” Alex whispers—and it’s true, but it doesn’t feel like enough.
“Nah,” she shakes her head, “I’m not her only mom, and I want her to remember that. Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, their birthdays, we used to visit them…and now, we come here—well…just church,” she grins, “not Portland.”
Alex remembers them going to church on Christmas too, and she wonders if she’s been missing a big piece of the new Maggie for five months, “Do you go often?”
She laughs softly, and wipes the tears from her cheeks, “No no—I’m definitely an infrequent visitor. It just…it was the only thing I could think of.”
The confusion must be evident on her face, because Maggie continues.
“The first Mother’s Day that I had Jamie, I didn’t even know it was Mother’s Day. I was only reminded when James and Olivia called me. And I was so in love with her then—still am, by the way—” and Alex grins, “and so proud to be her mom, but there was a part of me that felt like I was taking something from her birth parents. They were taken from her too soon, and so unfairly—and they loved her, Alex. They loved her so much. I never want her to think anything different.”
As sweet as this moment is, Alex’s heart hurts. She’s reminded of Kara, in a lot of ways: how much she lost, how much she was loved—how it was easy to forgot her little sister had a home, and parents, and a whole planet before her.
Even all these years later, sometimes she forgets her sister is an alien at all—she’s just Kara.
“I never knew when the right time was to bring it up to a three-year-old. I didn’t want to scare her and didn’t know what she would understand anyway…but that day, I took her to the cemetery. I took her there and showed her some pictures of her parents, and it started to be normal. She knows her Mommy and Daddy are in heaven, and I want her to know they loved her as much as I do.”
Alex wonders now how much of this her mom felt and struggled with. She makes a mental note to ask her when they stop in Midvale on last bit of their road trip. Maybe it’s something Maggie and Eliza can talk about together.
They stay at the church until Jamie says she’s ready to go. She hands Maggie back the photo, and Alex watches her tuck it safely in the inside pocket of her jacket.
The three of them find a place to get tiramisu, and bring it back to the hotel to eat in their pajamas while watching whatever new Disney movie Jamie picked out to watch.
She catches Maggie staring at her somewhere in the middle of it, “What?”
“I’m glad you came with us today,” she whispers.
It looks like Maggie wants to say something else, but she kisses her softly instead, “I love you, Alex.”
In June, Maggie, Alex, Kara, Lena, James and Jamie go to the beach.
Maggie and James head off to grab some snacks from a nearby stand, so Alex stays with Jamie, who’s building an enormous sand castle with Kara and Lena a few feet ahead of her.
She’s a few chapters away from finishing up her book, and when she finally closes the back cover, she looks down at her watch and realizes she was reading a lot longer than she thought.
She looks up and Alex waves her over. She runs straight at her and climbs up on her lap, covering her with sand, “You need some more sunscreen, little one.”
Jamie scrambles away quickly, “Not in my eyes!”
“I’m not gonna put it in your eyes, I promise.” It happened one time, but she never lets Alex forget it.
A couple minutes later, she’s got her hands covered in sunscreen, trying to rub it into Jamie’s skin while she’s wiggling around in front of her, refusing to stand still, and someone taps her on the shoulder.
She looks up to see some guy she doesn’t know, with a chubby infant in his arm, holding a red plastic shovel.
“Hi?” She’s confused.
Jamie takes advantage of her confusion and runs away before she can stop her.
“Sorry. I think my son stole this from your daughter over there.”
She takes the shovel, “Oh, thank you.” She thinks about correcting “your daughter,” but it seems like too much of an explanation for a guy who she’ll never see again.
Then he sits down next to her.
She raises an eyebrow.
“Sorry, I don’t—um—I don’t want to bother you. I’m just…I’m here…alone. My wife’s out-of-town for work, and for some reason I thought this would be a good idea, but now…uh…well, you’re the only mom I see nearby, and I…” he sighs, “I need help.”
She feels a little bad for him. He’s clearly flustered. She smiles, “How can I help you?”
He holds up the infant and she smiles at him too, but she still has no idea what this guy wants.
Then he reaches in his pocket and pulls out an adorably small rash guard and looks up at her desperately, “How—for the love of God—do you put this tiny thing on a baby this large?”
She can’t help it, she laughs. Thankfully, the guy does too.
“I’ve been trying for like ten minutes, but then he was screaming. And I was gonna just leave it off of him, but my wife will kill me, and it really does seem like a thing he should be wearing, but his head is so big, and this is…just…not big enough.”
“Let’s see what you’ve got.” She takes the shirt from his hands and holds it up. It seems like the right size for the baby, but the hole for his head looks like it’s going to cause some problems. She turns the shirt around, and she notices the little snaps on the back.
“Well…the good news is I think you’re going to be ok.”
He frowns, “What’s the bad news?”
She bites back a grin, “The bad news is you’re probably going to feel a little ridiculous…”
She unsnaps the back of the shirt, and the guy turns a few shades of red, but laughs, “I think you’re correct on both counts.”
She easily slips the shirt on over the baby, and gently tucks his arms into the sleeves. He doesn’t seem bothered. She reaches behind his back and snaps the shirt back up.
The guy turns him around and gently tosses the baby above his head so he giggles. It’s pretty cute.
“Well, buddy, I think we’re good to go!” He stands up and looks down at Alex, “Thank you so much. You saved the day.”
She smiles, “Happy to help.”
Jamie runs up a second later, “I can’t find my shovel. Have you seen it?”
The guy looks embarrassed, but Alex hands it over easily, “This little guy over here borrowed it for a second, but he brought it right back.”
She takes the shovel and looks between the guy and the little baby, and grins, “That’s ok! He can help if he wants. We’re building a super ginormous sand castle.”
“Super ginormous?! Wow. That’s impressive.” He smiles, “Thanks for inviting us! Maybe in a little bit, if that’s ok? Your mommy just helped me put Jake’s bathing suit on, so I think we’re gonna go swimming first.”
Alex’s heart skips a little when he calls her “mommy,” but she’s used to doing this by now, “Oh. Not her mommy—but happy to help nonetheless.”
Jamie frowns a little and the guy blinks, “Oh. Uh…sorry about that…”
She waves him off, “It’s alright.”
“Well, maybe we’ll help you with that castle in a little bit. And I’m sorry about the shovel thief,” he gives Jamie a wink and heads back to his place in the sand.
Jamie tries to run back to Kara, but Alex is quicker, “No way, miss. Get over here. You didn’t let me finish your sunscreen.”
She rolls her eyes, but does as she’s told. She sits down on Alex’s lap, facing her, while Alex rubs lotion on her face and arms.
“Why aren’t you my mommy?”
She stops. Jamie’s never asked her that before. She occasionally gets mistaken for her mom, and in passing, she lets it go. But if the situation calls for it, she corrects people. Jamie’s never called her anything except “Alex,” and she never expected her to.
She looks around in hopes that Maggie is nearby, but she’s not. She sees Kara and Lena sitting near the sand castle, and her sister is suddenly staring intensely at the sand, so she knows she has an audience.
“Well…you already have a mommy.”
Jamie shrugs, “Yeah. But she’s in heaven. That’s so far away.”
“It is…” She’s been around long enough that she knows most of how Maggie’s explained Jamie’s adoption and her birth parents, but she still feels out of her element here.
“Caleb H. in my class has two mommies. Can’t I have two mommies?”
Alex doesn’t know what to say. She puts some more sunscreen on her hands and rubs it on Jamie’s shoulders, “Sure…you can.”
She gulps. So many questions, and every answer makes everything worse. She doesn’t know how to get out of it. She answers carefully, “If your mama gets married, I imagine… Close your eyes.”
She does, “Why don’t you marry her?”
Her hands are on Jamie’s cheeks, and her stomach drops, “Um…well…that’s a pretty big decision. We have to talk about it for a long time.”
Jamie opens her eyes suddenly, and Alex almost puts sunscreen in them again. She stops just in time, “But you love her.”
She grins, “I do. Very much.”
“And you love me?”
“I love you so much!”
Jamie squints, “If you love each other, shouldn’t you get married?”
“Who’s getting married?”
“No one,” she says too quickly. She looks up and Maggie has an eyebrow raised up at her, but she’s grinning.
She holds up the snacks and Jamie hops off Alex’s lap and snatches them from Maggie’s hand, running off toward Kara and Lena, “I’m eating in the sand castle!”
Maggie laughs, “Whatever, kid. Knock your socks off.”
“I’m not wearing socks!” she yells back.
Maggie rolls her eyes, but Alex laughs harder.
She sits next to Alex, and hands her some fries, “What were you guys talking about?”
Alex blushes, “Depends on how long you were standing there…”
Maggie kisses her cheek, “Not long.”
On the 3rd of July, they’re in Midvale for the holiday weekend.
Eliza and Maggie are making pies, and Alex pops into the kitchen, “I’ve got to run to the store before everyone else gets here. Jamie’s gonna come with me.”
Maggie barely looks up, “Alright.”
Alex pauses in the doorway, “I love you, Mags.”
She looks up and smiles at her, “I love you too.”
Once they’re in the car, she heads away from town and up into the mountains. Jamie looks around, “I thought we were going to the store?”
“Changed my mind. I thought it we could go for a hike. I wanna show you someplace special. Is that ok?”
She grins, “Perfect.”
They pull over at the trailhead and follow it for a little while. It’s a walk Alex knows well. She’s been doing it as long as she can remember. The trail winds up a ways, and then stops at an overlook that juts out over the ocean. It’s one of her favorite places.
Jamie talks nonstop, chases chipmunks, and looks for snakes. When they get to the top, Alex sits down on the grass and looks out into the ocean, and Jamie sits down on her lap.
They sit that way for a while, staring into the ocean, while Alex attempts to answer the endless questions of a five-year-old.
She looks at her upside-down, “Yeah?”
Alex smiles and shifts her a little so they can face each other, “Do you remember the day we all went to the beach and you built the ginormous sandcastle with Kara?”
She looks like she’s thinking pretty hard, “Is that the day you tried to teach Mama how to surf, but she kept falling down?”
Alex laughs, “Yeah, that’s the one.”
Jamie giggles, “She’s not very good at surfing.”
“No she’s not.”
“I wish I could surf.”
“I can teach you.”
She shakes her head quickly, “No way. It’s too scary!”
Alex laughs, “Maybe when you’re not so scared then.”
Jamie nods and leans into Alex’s chest. Her heart melts, even as her hands shake, “Do you remember what else you and I talked about that day?”
She shakes her head, “No.”
“Do you remember asking if you could have two mommies?”
Jamie grins, “Yes!”
Alex has been practicing this in her head for weeks, but she’s never been so scared in her entire life, “How would you feel if I…if I wanted to marry your mama?”
She jumps up and puts both hands on Alex’s shoulders, shaking her with all her little might, “You can be my two mommy!” she yells.
Alex laughs and waits for her to calm down, “Well…only if you want me to be—and only if your mama says yes! You can still call me Alex though.”
She looks confused, “Do I have to?”
“No, you don’t have to.”
“Can I call you Mommy?”
Her stomach twists at the question, but necessarily in a bad way.
She and Maggie had talked about marriage and their future and Jamie a lot recently—especially since Mother’s Day—but Alex also knows that title is already taken. She always thought Jamie would keep calling her Alex, like Kara still called her mom Eliza, “Maybe? We’ll have to talk to your mama about it.”
“But more importantly, it means I’m gonna be around, like…forever. We’ll all live together, all the time. And it won’t just be you and your mama anymore. Would that be ok?”
“Yes!” but then her brow furrows, “But…can she still tuck me in at night? Because she’s better at it.”
A very important question, “Sounds good to me.”
Jamie nods a little, then tilts her chin in a way she must’ve gotten from Maggie, “Alex?”
She looks at her long and hard, then crosses her arms, “I love you.”
It’s very definitive. She’s said to Alex before, but this one feels different. She hugs her tight and kisses her cheek, “I love you too, Jamie.”
She wanted to propose on the 4th of July and she had the whole thing planned out—she just didn’t anticipate how hard it would be for the five-year-old to keep her mouth shut for 24 hours.
Thankfully everyone was in on it—except Maggie, of course. She debated for weeks on proposing to Maggie first or talking to Jamie first, and in the end she decided she wanted the little girl in her corner before she popped the question.
With Eliza, Kara, J’onn, M’gann, James, Winn, and Lena also around the house, they all take turns distracting either Jamie or Maggie, and trying to keep the little girl from remembering that she held a really big secret.
It was going surprisingly well.
They made it through the rest of the day just fine, and it even seemed like Jamie forgot about their conversation from earlier.
After J’onn and M’gann go back to their hotel, the others are all getting ready for bed—Winn and James on the living room couches, Lena and Kara in their old bedroom, and Alex and Maggie were in the guest room, with Jamie on her own mattress at their feet.
Maggie’s in the shower, and Alex has Jamie next to her on the big bed, reading her a story. When the gets to the end of the book, she kisses her forehead, “Alright, sweet girl. To your own bed. I’ll tuck you in.”
It’s a statement she’s made a hundred times before, but she forgot about her promise from earlier.
Jamie did not.
She jumps up in the middle of the bed, “No, you promised! You said you would get married, but my mama would still tuck me in!”
The door closes and Maggie’s voice is so quiet, Alex barely hears her, “You…you said…what?”
Alex is frozen. Jamie puts her hand over her mouth quickly, and she looks scared. She runs onto Alex’s lap with tears in her eyes, “I didn’t mean to! I’m sorry, Alex. I didn’t mean to say it,” she sobs.
She holds her face in her hands and looks her in the eye, “Hey. Breathe, sweetie.” Jamie does, but there are still tears in her eyes. She wipes them away for her gently, then Alex smiles and kisses her forehead, “It’s ok. It was an accident. It happens.”
Her tiny voice is a mumbled whisper, “Did I ruin everything?”
She immediately hugs her tight, “No! Never. Not even a little bit.”
Maggie’s still standing across the room, next to the door, not moving.
Alex whispers to Jamie, and the little girl’s eyes go wide. She nods, “Go ahead. She’ll show you.”
Jamie climbs down and runs out the door, and Alex looks at Maggie—in her pajama pants and Alex’s old Midvale sweatshirt—and grins, “Come here, babe.”
She walks over slowly, hesitantly, and sits cross-legged in front of Alex on the bed. God, she just wants to kiss her—but she waits.
Maggie still looks stunned, “So…what—what you said…”
She can’t keep the grin off her face, but she shakes her head, “Not yet. We have to wait for Jamie.”
It’s less than a minute before Jamie comes back, but Alex fills every second studying Maggie. Her messy ponytail, her eyes, her lips…those dimples. She memorized her a long time ago, but she never gets tired of it.
Jamie runs in, slams the door, and hops onto the bed—handing Alex two little blue boxes.
Then she surprises her by kissing her on the cheek, “Oh. Thank you!”
She tickles her chin, “Go sit by your mama, ok?”
Jamie sits on Maggie’s lap, and her arms go around her automatically. They’re both looking at her with matching grins, and it’s so familiar, “It’s perfect,” she whispers to herself.
Maggie narrows her eyes a little, “What is?”
“You,” she breathes. This morning her hands were shaking, but right now she’s steady, “Both of you, like that. It’s…perfect.”
There’s a question on Maggie’s face, and Alex addresses it, “Remember when we went ice skating last year?”
She looks at Jamie now, “And someone begged to go see Santa afterwards?”
“I did!” she giggles.
“You did. And your mama put whipped cream on my face—”
Jamie laughs, but Maggie scoffs, “Um, excuse me! You put cheesecake on my face first!”
It’s Alex’s turn to laugh, “I did.” She tightens her grip around the two boxes in her hand, “But you had Jamie on your lap, just like this, grinning just like this…and that was it. That was the moment I knew that you were all I wanted. Forever.”
Maggie gasps, and Alex tries not to cry.
“All the way back then?”
She nods, “And I had this whole thing planned for tomorrow. There was a picnic and there was going to be fireworks and everything, but,” she laughs, “Maggie, nothing in our relationship ever goes according to plan, so this is perfect.”
Maggie laughs, “It really never does…”
Alex carefully spins the smaller of the two boxes so it’s facing her, “Jamie and I talked a little earlier today, and she seems to be on board—but only if you say yes…”
She opens the box, and Jamie whispers, “Mama, it’s so pretty…”
Maggie is crying, and Alex hopes that means yes, but she hasn’t said anything yet. She’s looking up at Alex, grinning, her eyes so full of love, and shakes her head a little, “Al—I can’t—”
Her stomach drops, and there’s a loud thud in the hallway that she ignores, but Maggie is still grinning with both dimples, “I can’t give you an answer, because you…you haven’t asked me anything yet…”
She swallows hard. Right. She wipes the tears that are streaming down her cheeks, “God…I forgot that part, didn’t I?”
Jamie is nodding furiously, and Alex takes the little ring out of the box, “Maggie Sawyer…will you marry me?”
She barely finishes the sentence before Maggie answers, “Yes. A thousand times, yes.”
Now Alex’s hands are shaking, but she puts the ring on Maggie’s finger, and leans over to kiss her. She hears a lot of noise on the other side of the door, and she can feel Jamie’s arms wrapped around her middle.
She pulls back laughing, “Hey Jamie, was anyone else in the hallway before you closed the door?”
She shrugs, “Everyone.”
Alex sighs, and Maggie laughs through her tears. She picks up the other little box, “Well, before we let them in, I have something for you too.”
She sits up excitedly, “Really?”
“Really.” She opens the other box, and it’s also a ring. But because she wanted it to fit Jamie forever, it’s too big for her now, “It’s probably not going to fit you for a while, so you’ll have to wear it on a necklace until your a little older.”
She can feel Maggie’s eyes on her, and when she looks up, she’s still crying. Alex wants to hold her and kiss all those tears away—even though she knows they’re happy tears.
Right now she focuses on Jamie. She takes the necklace out and clips it around her neck, and Jamie holds the simple silver ring up, “Wow…”
She spins it a little in her hands, “Can you read the inside? It’s pretty small.”
Jamie squints and Maggie does too, but Jamie reads it aloud, “You are…so…loved.”
She looks at Maggie and shrugs a little, “It’s a little corny, but I think it works.”
“It’s perfect,” she whispers.
“I love it!” Jamie jumps up and hugs Alex tight, and she feels like her heart is going to explode.
“I love you, little one.”
“I love you, too.”
This was nothing like she had planned—except for the final outcome—but it was better than anything she could’ve imagined.
There’s suddenly a lot of shuffling and noise from the hallway, and she pulls Jamie back with a laugh, “Do you think we should let them in?”
Maggie takes her newly-jeweled hand and laces her fingers through Alex’s, “I’m surprised your sister hasn’t broken down the door yet…”
Jamie goes to the door, and Alex takes advantage of the moment, “Well, I’m sure it’s only because she can see through it already…”
Maggie laughs, but Alex drowns it in a kiss, and the soft moan that escapes from Maggie’s lips sets her whole body on fire. She hears the door open, but she doesn’t care about anything except the love of her life in her arms and under her hands.
Then a dozen other arms are around them and pulling them in different directions, and suddenly there’s a giant pile of people on the bed, all squealing, and yelling, and jostling for space, and sitting on top of one another.
She catches Maggie’s gaze through the crowd of tears and hugs and grins, “You sure you want all this?”
She grins back through her own group hug, “All in, Danvers.”
On the 4th of July, Alex and Maggie are inside gathering blankets while everyone else is out in the yard, waiting for fireworks to start. Maggie suddenly takes Alex’s hand in her own, “Hey, Alex? I have something for you.”
Alex looks up excitedly, “Oh yeah?”
She’s still giddy over everything that happened last night. Her whole body feels like it’s buzzing.
“Mmhmm…” she hums. Maggie opens her other hand and there’s a beautiful diamond ring in it.
She cries instantly, “Maggie…”
Alex looks up at the biggest grin and both of Maggie’s dimples showing, “I didn’t want to steal your moment last night—but Alex, I’ve had this for months, and I have been dying to give it to you. So…can I?”
She nods and when Maggie slips the ring on her finger, Alex kisses her soundly.
When they finally catch their breath, she looks at her fiancée, “How long have you had this?”
“Uh,” she blushes a little, “Well…it took a while for us to find time to really talk about it all, but…April, maybe?”
She just blinks a few times, “April?”
“I think? I told Olivia when we were in Seattle. And then Mother’s Day…Alex, there was no turning back after that. We’ve hit some bumps along the way—for both of us, I think—but you never gave up on us. On me and you, or on me and Jamie. You never tried to pull away. On Christmas Eve, you said you were all in. As much as I wanted for that to be true then, it took me a while to realize you meant it.”
“I did,” she whispers.
“I know,” Maggie grins. “So on our way home from Seattle, when we stopped here, I gave the ring to Eliza for safe keeping—after I asked her permission, of course.”
Alex smirks, “Of course. Because I’m sure my mom had a lot of objections.”
Maggie wraps her arms around her tightly and kisses her again, “You know? It turns out, she did not.”
In August, they’re at the park when Jamie runs toward her and Maggie, yelling, “Mommy! Can we get ice cream pleeeeeease?”
Alex automatically turns to Maggie—but Maggie’s eyes are wide.
“Hey…” she’s instantly concerned. She puts a hand on her back, “Everything ok?”
She nods a little as Jamie runs up closer, “Mommy, can we?”
Alex is looking at Maggie, but she swallows hard, “Al—she’s not asking me…”
She furrows her brow, then follows Maggie’s gaze to see Jamie standing right at her feet, looking up at her, “Mommy? Mommy can we get ice cream?”
The realization hits her and her jaw drops, “Oh. Me? Um…yeah. Sure…we can…ice cream… Yeah.”
Jamie runs around them yelling about ice cream, but Alex is glued to the spot.
They talked about it before she proposed, but it never came up again. Jamie kept calling her “Alex” and Alex never cared. They never corrected her, they never called Alex “Mommy” and hoped Jamie would follow suit, they just…let it play out however it was or wasn’t going to happen.
It feels different than she thought it would. She’d loved Jamie like a daughter a long time ago, but it still feels…strange. Exciting. Odd. It was hard to explain.
Maggie nudges her arm and she looks over, “Ok there, Mommy?” she asks pointedly.
Alex laughs in disbelief, “Honestly? I’m not sure.”
She takes her hand, and kisses it, “Yeah…it takes some getting used to.”
In late September, it’s Open House at Jamie’s school.
Maggie and Alex are strolling through the halls, and Jamie is talking a mile a minute about every single thing they pass. They mingle with a few other parents, and are looking at all the projects up on the wall when Jamie calls them from the other side of the room.
“Over here! Over here!”
Alex laughs, “I think she’s over there.”
They weave through other families and come to a stop in front of a row of hand-drawn family portraits. Alex skims the others, little clusters of stick figures with labels and arrows pointing to everyone.
Jamie points to hers, “This one’s mine!”
Alex notices immediately there’s about four times as many people on it.
The stick figure of herself is right in the middle, and then it has Alex and Maggie on one side—labelled “Mommy” and “Mama,” and Alex’s heart melts. James is on the other side where it says “Uncle Jimmy.”
But there’s a lot more people too— Eliza, Aunt Kara, Aunt Lena, Uncle Winn, J’onn and M’gann. The whole Ryan family is also there and labeled. Then there are two people standing in the top corner of the page on a cloud, and it says “Mommy and Daddy.”
Alex takes Maggie’s hand and squeezes it.
They don’t hear the teacher come up behind them until she speaks, “She skipped recess, because it was important that everyone be in the family photo,” she says kindly, “Isn’t that right, Jamie?”
Maggie bends down and hugs her tight, “I love you so much, peanut.”
“I love you too, Mama,” she mumbles into her neck.
Jamie’s teacher turns to Alex, “Your daughter is a lovely student. She’s kind to everyone, and always willing to help out, and she’s very smart—even if she sometimes gets distracted during science lessons.”
She didn’t hear anything after “your daughter.” No one’s ever called her that before and it be accurate. She almost corrected her, and then realized she didn’t have to anymore.
Maggie puts a hand on her back, “We’re working on the science, aren’t we Miss Jamie?”
She rolls her eyes a little, “Yes…”
Alex tries not to cry in the middle of the first grade classroom, “Uh, yeah. I’m—I’m a scientist, actually. So I’m pulling out all the stops to see if I can get her interested.”
“I only like biology. That’s the one with the animals, right Mommy?”
She nods, “Yeah. Yeah that’s the one with the animals.”
The teacher smiles and puts a hand on Jamie’s shoulder, “Well, we have some animal stuff coming up in the spring. Hopefully you can make it through the astronomy lessons this fall.”
“Astronomy is borrrrring…” Jamie whines.
Maggie tilts her head slightly, “You know, I bet your Aunt Kara can teach you a few things about the stars that you’ll find very interesting…”
Almost a full year later, right before Halloween, Alex and Maggie walk into their apartment that suddenly looks impossibly small and cramped.
Alex puts the carseat on the table, and Maggie drops the flowers, balloons and gift bags right next to it, then wraps her arms around her wife, “Is it weird that I just want to stare at him?”
She shakes her head and smiles, “I was kinda thinking the same thing.”
She watches as their newborn son stretches his arms out and then curls back into a ball—and it takes her breath away. It must have a similar effect on Maggie, because she reaches up to wipe a tear off her cheek.
Alex rests her head on her shoulder, still not taking her eyes off of the baby, “Hey, Mags?”
“Can I ask you something?”
Alex looks up and bites her lip, “Um…does—does it feel…different? Now. With him.”
She tilts her head, “Than it does with Jamie?”
“Yeah—does that make me a terrible person?” she winces.
“No, it does not,” Maggie kisses her chastely, “And…no. It doesn’t.”
“I don’t think so either. I was worried that it might.”
Alex watches her blush slightly, and now she’s more curious, because Maggie seems embarrassed by whatever popped into her head.
“Don’t laugh at me?”
She wouldn’t, “I promise.”
Maggie looks down at their baby boy and back at Alex, shaking her head slightly, “Al—he’s so tiny. Like so ridiculously tiny, I’m afraid I’m going to break him all the time.”
Alex breathes a sigh of relief and drops her head onto Maggie’s shoulder again, “Oh my god, me too!”
Now Maggie laughs, “I was really hoping you’d take him out of the seat so I wouldn’t have to.”
She smacks her arm, “Thanks a lot!”
He fusses a little and they instantly get silent.
They watch him carefully, hoping he won’t cry, but it only lasts about ten seconds and then he’s wailing. Maggie fumbles with the carseat straps and as soon as she gets it undone, Alex picks him up gently.
As she’s rocking him back and forth in the kitchen, she sees Maggie grinning at her, and she raises an eyebrow, “What’s so funny?”
She shakes her head, “Not funny. Just…incredible.”
Alex tilts her head, “What’s incredible?”
“You.” Alex feels the heat rise in her cheeks, but she keeps going, “Him. Us. Alex, five seconds ago we were talking about how we were scared, but as soon as he cried…we fixed it together.”
She’s gonna cry now, “Stop it, Maggie…” she warns, but with no authority behind it.
Maggie wraps her arms around her tight again, the little bundle tucked between them both. She kisses the top of his head, and then Alex, “We can do this.”
At 2:45, the door to the apartment swings open and they hear her before they see her, “MOM!”
From their places on the couch, both Alex and Maggie look over—since Jamie has taken to using “Mom” to mean both of them, or whoever’s closest. She runs over with her backpack still on her shoulders and gives Alex a hug, then Maggie.
Kara closes the door and Alex looks at her watch, then back up at her sister with a deadly glare, “Kara. Danvers.”
Her eyes get wide, “It was her idea! She made me!”
Maggie lets go of Jamie and looks between both Danvers sisters, confused, “She made you…?”
“I didn’t make you! Auntie Kara said it would be faster and both of us wanted to get home super super fast!”
She doesn’t even let Maggie finish, “Kara!”
The crying from the other room cuts through, and Jamie jumps in the air, “My moose!”
“Oh, look at that!” Kara smirks, “My nephew is calling me. I really should take this…”
She slips down the hallway before Alex or Maggie can stop her, with Jamie is right at her heels.
Alex looks at Maggie, “I swear, Mags, I’m gonna—” but the threat dies in her throat.
Because Kara’s already walking slowly toward the living room, with their son in one arm and Jamie in the other. Alex tears up at the sight of them—and so does Maggie.
She drops Jamie in Alex’s lap and uses both hands to carefully hand the baby to Maggie, leaving a kiss on each of her sister’s heads, “Safe and sound. See?”
Alex rolls her eyes a little, but she’s already forgiven her—plus she knows there’s no way she’d ever do anything to put Jamie in danger.
Kara smirks, “Alright, I have to check-in at the DEO, but I’ll be back with dinner. What do you guys want?”
“Taco Tuesday!” Jamie yells.
Maggie laughs and shakes her head, “Full circle…”
Alex kisses her cheek, “It’s kind of perfect though, isn’t it?”
“Taco Tuesday it is,” Kara grins, “I’ll be back…in the normal amount of time that it takes for a human to get tacos…”
She backs out of the door, and Jamie looks up at Maggie, “Mama?”
“Can I hold my moose?”
Alex and Maggie laugh, “You know that’s not his name, right?”
“I know,” she chirps, “but you call me ‘peanut’ and that’s not my name. He needed a second name too!”
Alex stands so her daughter can sit on the edge of the couch, and props a pillow under her arm so it’s easy for her to hold her brother, “And you think moose is the best?”
She looks at her like she’s crazy, “Yes.” She starts pointing around the room as she names them, “Mama, and Mommy, and Peanut, and Moose,” she says confidently.
Maggie puts the baby down on Jamie’s lap, and kisses each of her kids, “Sorry, moose. You’re probably gonna be stuck with that name for a while.”
Alex takes her wife in her arms and holds her close, watching Jamie stare at her new little brother, and trace her fingers gently over his little nose and his ears and his hands and his belly.
“He’ll get used to it,” she grins, “The rest of us did.”