I hadn’t always been eager for the arrival of my son, to be honest. We’d had a tumultuous relationship for many years.
Nobody could argue I hadn’t handled things well after his birth as the Kelvin died and my son’s father right along with it. Not even me.
I was long haunted by the final sound of his voice just before it winked out forever.
At first I had drowned my sorrows in a lot of drink, something I came to realize Jim did as well. It was tough for me to raise two boys on my own, one who would never know his father, and the other one full of a burning, bitter resentment at not only the loss of the father he barely knew, but at being left behind while his father and I were on the Kelvin. Left with grandparents that had long forgotten what it was like to deal with a young curious boy.
I suspected that leaving George Samuel with George’s parents had been wise as I wasn’t sure if he’d had survived the Kelvin. Many of our friends had not. While it was true George’s actions had saved some eight hundred lives, he couldn’t save all of them, no one could. The Kelvin’s captain had been among the casualties.
And it was the tormented grief of a widow left behind with those boys that caused me to drink and make the terrible choice of Frank.
Frank who’d driven George Samuel away for good, as neither myself nor Jim ever found out what happened to him once he hitchhiked out of Riverside one particularly difficult day.
Both of us tried, sometimes together, sometimes apart, to learn my older son’s fate, but never with success. That grief stays with me always. And my own inadequacy.
I know there are those who judge me lacking as a mother, but certainly never as much as I judge myself.
Frank who’d sent my youngest son away to a colony called Tarsus IV that nearly destroyed him and likely changed him forever.
And it was those actions that finally opened my eyes to how awful Frank truly was.
When Frank left, or I made him leave, I got my son back. Damaged yes. And a stranger. We were both strangers to each other.
I had quit Starfleet at last, lucky with the drinking, I suppose, that they hadn’t dishonorably discharged me, and taken on the task of raising my son, as I certainly always should have done.
But it wasn’t at easy between us at first. When he was just a teenager I had to bail him out of jail for a horrific fight he’d gotten into. He would never tell me exactly what started it, but there were others that told me things were said about him and his family, things he had been unable to tolerate.
He was eighteen before I stopped the drinking. He’d had to clean me up after one particular nasty binge, and the next morning he had looked at me with blue eyes so like my own, and they were hard like ice.
“I won’t ever do that again.”
He meant it.
And I decided right then, I would never give him a reason he’d have to.
We became close then, I told him about his dad, and we bonded in a way we hadn’t before.
We became estranged again when he came home one night, bruised and battered, after getting in a fight with some Starfleet thugs in a downtown bar.
After I was done fussing over him and his injuries, declaring angrily I intended to contact those in charge to file charges, Jim told me he was enlisting the next morning at Christopher Pike’s urging.
We spent the better part of the night arguing about this decision. I’d been filled with a dread I could not shake that he would end up just like George. And maybe George Samuel. And Jim was all I had.
But Jim was the most stubborn of all of them combined and in the morning he had kissed my forehead, told me he loved me, and left anyway.
There were those who thought I should express pride in Jim’s decision. They simply did not understand what it was like to lose everyone you ever loved.
We didn’t speak for a while. Me because the second most stubborn person I knew after Jim was me. And Jim because he decided it was better not to worry me.
When he died after Khan, and yes I learned about it, and I visited him in a San Francisco Starfleet hospital, I think my point had been paid. I never expected him to be revived, but I had expected him to die.
But this time, I didn’t let go of him. I’d learned some lessons myself and become less stubborn. And though I still didn’t get to see him nearly enough, and he still didn’t tell me how many times he almost died, we kept in touch, and I loved him.
I’d been absolutely thrilled when he notified he was getting very rare shore leave on Earth and pretty much giddy when he revealed he intended to spend those days with me in Riverside at a farmhouse that was suffocatingly lonely most of the time.
He further thrilled me by notifying he was bringing with him, his new significant other, his first officer, Commander Spock. He had written me about the change in their relationship, but I had never met the Vulcan.
And they were coming in November, and it made me decide I had to have a feast. Not at all for a prodigal son, but for being thankful. Thankful for my beautiful, heroic, and alive son, who seemed to suddenly happy to be with Spock. And thankful for that Vulcan, who at last chose my son over everyone else.
Yes. I was eager.
So eager that I awaited their arrival at the shuttle bay, not waiting for them to come to the farmhouse.
Jim did not appear to be at all surprised when he saw me waiting. He nudged the tall, dark haired man with him.
“Told you,” he said with a grin.
And as they approached, I immediately approved of and liked Spock just by the indulgent affection he had in those dark eyes of his for my Jim. He won me over instantly.
Jim and I embraced for a very long time. It had been years since I got to hold my son, and I had missed him painfully. His hold of me was tight and comforting. I didn’t want to let go of him and I was frankly of the opinion I wouldn’t want him to leave to return to his beloved Enterprise either.
But finally, Jim pulled back, gentle and sweet, as he touched my cheek and smiled at me. He turned to Spock.
“Spock, Mom. Mom, Spock.” He laughed. “Obviously.”
“It is very much a pleasure,” Spock greeted me.
“Oh, it’s all mine, believe me. I can’t wait for us to all go back to the farmhouse.”
Jim gave me a smile. “Us too. But…oh wait. There’s one thing.”
I looked a question at him. “What?”
“Well.” He exchanged a look over my head with Spock. “A surprise.”
“A surprise? Oh, Jimmy, you know I don’t like surprises.”
He laughed. “You’ll like this one.”
And then suddenly as if appearing by thin air, a very tall, sandy haired man with familiar blue eyes appeared next to Jim and Spock.
My heart stopped, then quickened to a rapid pounding, my lungs seizing, as I knew him instantly, though I had not seen him since he was a boy.
My eyes filled with tears as he came toward me, arms outstretched. I flung myself at my older son, who squeezed me tight.
I looked over at Jim with blurry vision and mouthed “How?”
He shrugged. “Surprise.”
And I burst into tears completely lost for the day.
But it was okay. Amazing even.