Glee Angst Meme Prompt:
Finn and Rachel's daughter or son draws a family picture for daycare. It has him/her, Daddy, Uncle Kurt, Uncle Blaine outside their house and Mommy on a stage by herself.
"Is this one new?" Rachel asks with a smile, indicating a crayon drawing on the freezer door that doesn't look particularly familiar as she grabs the milk from the fridge.
"Huh?" Finn looks up from the newspaper to see what she's talking about. "Oh, that. No, Joanie drew that a few weeks ago."
"Oh." Well, Rachel had a pretty busy month what with the show debuting and everything. She can't be expected to notice every small change in the house. Grabbing a box of cereal from the cupboard, she brings that and the milk over to the table, filling the bowl in front of Finn, then another one for herself. A quick glance at the clock on the microwave tells her it's past time for their daughter to be out of bed. "Did you wake her up yet? She needs to be ready for daycare."
Her husband gives her an odd look as he pours milk over his cereal. "She's with Kurt and Blaine. They wanted to take her and Lizzie to the zoo today, so she just spent the night at their house. I'm pretty sure I told you that yesterday morning."
"Oh." Well yesterday morning was pretty hectic. Between that, and the busy day she had during rehearsal, and the fact that she didn't get home until past midnight, it was no wonder that it slipped her mind. "Well she'll be home tonight, right? I feel like I haven't seen her all week."
"You have a busy schedule," Finn says, after he swallows a spoonful. It's true, but why does it feel like he's making excuses for her?
"Right." The rest of the meal is spent in relative silence, the only sounds heard are the soft rustling of Finn's newspaper, the crunch of their breakfast, and the clink of their spoons on the bowls. When they are both done, Rachel grabs the bowls and brings them to the sink to rinse them out before putting them in the dishwasher, and Finn stands up, folding up the newspaper and tucking it under his arm.
"I need to go into work for a few hours this morning, but we can do the grocery shopping when I get back."
"Yeah, have a good day." Rachel kisses her husband on the cheek, and five minutes later he's out the door and she's all alone.
The milk catches her eye, still sitting on the kitchen table, and she picks it up to put it away. As she closes the fridge door, the picture on the freezer catches her eye again, and she moves aside the gold star magnet. Taking the picture, Rachel sits down at the table to look at it more closely. It's one of those typical family pictures that kids draw in daycare, but the more Rachel looks at it, she realizes this picture isn't exactly typical. Instead of Finn, herself and her daughter, the picture shows a different family, a family of five. At first Rachel wonders why her daughter drew someone else's family, but then she notices that the picture is labelled. daddy, me, lizy, unkle kurt, unkle blane. Off in one corner of the page is another figure, by itself surrounded by a square, and that one is labelled mommy.
Rachel stares at it in confusion for a few moments. What does that mean? Her daughter drew a picture of their family, and Kurt and Blaine have a more prominent position in her family than her own mother. Her mother is quarantined off to the side, as if she isn't even part of the family. Then she studies it more thoroughly, and sees the tiny microphone drawn into her hand, sees the yellow streaks of spotlight and stars surrounding her. She's on a stage.
A slight smile crosses Rachel's lips at the thought. Joanie didn't cut Rachel out, she drew her on stage, the place mommy loves most. Then the implications of that finally hit her. Even in her daughter's five year old eyes, Rachel spends too much time on the stage. With a faltering sigh, Rachel turns the drawing over—it kind of hurts to look at it—and notices writing on the back. Not childish crayon writing, but an adult wrote something in pen. She immediately recognizes Kurt's flowing script. Joan Lynn Hummel - age 5. So Kurt has seen this. Probably Blaine too. Both of them have seen this, probably fawned over it, told Joanie what a great artist she was. Both of them would have noticed her placement. Both of them would have understood the implications.
A flash of anger goes through her. It's like they are stealing her daughter away from her. It's her only day off this week, and they've gone and taken Joanie to the zoo, without even considering if her own mother would have wanted to spend time with her.
Then she remembers her comment about daycare this morning. She wasn't going to spend the day with her daughter anyways.
When did Rachel become the parent who doesn't even notice her child is growing away from her? Joanie is only five years old, and she sees her uncles more as parent figures than her mother. She thinks that mommy's career is her highest priority. The worst part is she might be right. Not on purpose—Rachel would never neglect her daughter—but it seemed as though Kurt and Blaine did pay more attention to Joanie than she did.
As if her thoughts had summoned them, Rachel hears her front door open, and Blaine is talking. "I can't believe the zoo was closed."
"Honey, quit pouting, you're taking it worse than the children."
"But Papa, I wanna see the monkeys," Lizzie whines.
"Sweetheart, your Daddy is a monkey. Go jump on him."
Rachel hears a little squeal, followed by a grunt from Blaine.
"Uncle Kurt, can I jump on Uncle Blaine too please?" Joanie asks, with utmost politeness.
"Absolutely darling." Another squeal is followed by another grunt, and a moment later the four of them walked through the archway into the kitchen. Kurt is leading the way, and Blaine has a little girl on each hip.
"Hi Auntie Rachel!"
"Hey Rachel, Finn still around?" Kurt asks, opening the fridge to help himself to a glass of cranberry juice.
"No, you just missed him. He had to go into work for a bit." Rachel tries to keep the gloom out of her voice, but her brother-in-law knows her too well.
"Babe, why don't you take the girls upstairs and see if you can find Joanie's bathing suit," Kurt says casually, and Blaine immediately gets the hint that they need some lady chat time. He gives his husband a quick peck on the lips before hauling both giggling girls upstairs.
When they are alone, Kurt doesn't speak right away. Within a couple minutes he heats up two mugs of milk, sets one in front of Rachel, and takes a seat beside her. "Marital troubles?"
Rachel sighs, and traces a finger along the edge of the drawing, still face down under her hands. "No."
After a moment of silence, Kurt places a soothing hand between her shoulder blades. "What is it then? I know work is going great, you never let me forget that."
"Why'd you do it?" the diva asks suddenly.
"Why did I do what?"
"Why did you give up on your dreams?" She turns to face him, her dark eyes serious, trying to decipher Kurt's brain.
Kurt is a little bit surprised, he wasn't really expecting this, but a small smile crawls across his face. "I didn't give up on my dreams, Rachel."
"Yes you did," she insists. "Your dream was to make it big on Broadway, just like me. You just… you just, gave up on it. Had your family. Settled."
His smile is sad now, and Rachel thinks she might have hit a nerve, but she can apologize later, because she needs to know why.
"You're right. In high school that was my dream. Broadway was the one thing that kept me going through those first three years of hell." Kurt got that faraway look in his eyes as he reminisced about the past. "Then something funny happened. I met Blaine. Suddenly, performing wasn't the only thing I had to live for. I had performing and Blaine. And eventually—so slowly that I didn't even realize it at first—Blaine completely took over." He sighed, absently twisting the wedding ring on his finger. "Blaine became the only thing that mattered, and when Blaine said he wanted to start a family, I didn't even hesitate to agree." Rachel cringed slightly as she recalled her own debate, the fights with Finn, the constant worrying about her career, everything they went through before they brought Joanie into the world. "You see, I didn't give up on my dreams, Rachel. My dreams changed. And I can assure you that right now, I am living my dream."
By the end of Kurt's speech, Rachel has a couple tears silently tracking down her face, especially when she realizes that Kurt's sad smile was sad for her, not himself. "Rachel, what's wrong?" He asks, eyes full of concern. "Did something happen at work?"
That's when Rachel recognizes it's not just her daughter who thinks her career comes first. Everyone thinks that acting comes before everything else. "I… I love my family," she says softly, brushing away the tears.
"Of course you do honey, nobody thinks otherwise." Kurt rubs his hand up and down Rachel's arm. "You're a great wife and a great mother."
Silently shaking her head, tears still falling softly, Rachel flips over the drawing and slides it across the table towards Kurt. For a moment he doesn't say anything, simply looks at the picture, takes his time formulating a response. Then a finger pulls gently on her chin, forcing her to meet his eyes. "You know Joanie loves you."
Rachel takes a stuttering breath, reaches for a napkin to blow her nose. "I kn-know. But—"
"No buts. She loves you more than anything. She wants to be just like mommy when she grows up. She knows how happy being on stage makes you, and she just wants her mommy to be happy."
"But I'm not there for her like I should be. You saw her first steps." Kurt and Blaine had been babysitting Joanie at the time. They were sitting on the couch watching the two cousins playing on the floor. Lizzie was a few months older than Joanie and was already walking quite well, and that seemed to inspire Joanie to take her first couple steps. "You took her to her first day of playschool." They all agreed to send the girls to the same playschool, and Finn and Rachel both had to be at work early that day, so Kurt took them in. "I just… She thinks that I put my career before her." Rachel jabs at the drawing as proof. "I want what you have with Blaine and Lizzie."
Kurt sighs, because he knows this is going to be the hard part. The part where he tells her she can't, not exactly, and hopes she sees why it's okay. "Do you remember Nationals in New York? In our junior year."
"Remember how we broke into the theatre, and sang on a real Broadway stage for the first time. Do you remember what you said to me after?"
Rachel sniffles, blows her nose again, and looks down at the table. "The stage, Broadway, New York. That's my true love," she quotes softly, recalling that pivotal moment in her life. "But I love my family," she repeats with conviction, daring Kurt to argue with her.
"I know you do, but the stage is your true love. Without the stage, you wouldn't be happy." Rachel wants to argue the fact, but she knows it's true. "If I had to drop everything right now, move back to Ohio, and only wear sweatpants and t-shirts for the rest of my life, I would still be happy as long as I had Blaine and Lizzie."
"What's wrong with me? Finn and Joanie should be enough for me."
"There's nothing wrong with you," Kurt assures her. "You're a career woman at heart. But you're still a great mother, and that's all that really matters."
At that moment, Blaine's head pokes into the doorway. "You guys need more time?"
"No, we're good," Rachel replies, wiping the tears from her face as she puts on a smile. "Thanks Kurt."
"Come here." Kurt wraps his arms around her, and Blaine comes in behind to complete the circle. Before long, Joanie and Lizzie scamper into the room and wrap their arms around Rachel's and Kurt's legs, and everyone is giggling and smiling.
Blaine pulls away from the group hug first, pressing a kiss to Rachel's forehead. "We were going to take the girls to the waterpark. Would you like to join us?"
"Waterpark! Waterpark!" Lizzie cries.
"Please, mommy, please come!" Joanie begs, her big brown eyes pleading.
Rachel almost says no, she has a lot to do today, and she was planning on going in to the theatre for a little bit, but a glance at the picture, still sitting on the kitchen table, changes her mind. "Yeah, I'll come. Maybe daddy will meet us there." Cheers ring through the kitchen, and Rachel receives a beaming smile from Kurt and Blaine.
"Perfect, grab your suit and we'll head out," Blaine says as he wraps his arm around Kurt's waist.
As she climbs the stairs, Rachel's smile fades as Kurt's words ring back at her. Without the stage, you wouldn't be happy. Maybe it's selfish, but it's true.
She just hopes she can make it all work.
So, there's my first attempt at writing Rachel's POV… I don't think I nailed it, but I don't think I did too bad either. Thoughts? Also, I really had no idea how to end this, so my apologies that it seems rushed.