AN: Some editing done, to put in italics and such ... hopefully they'll show soon :)
November 25, 1971
On a quiet morning, a gangly Gil Grissom strolled along a street lined with family homes. A backpack filled with beach stones, shells and driftwood proclaimed his successful pre-dawn trip to the beach. The fact that in years prior the pack would most likely have contained some dead creature he'd found washed up along the shore just made him smile, his blue eyes sparkling with the memories of many a necropsy over the past six years and what his 'hobby' had led him to. His favorite uncle, Herb, should be arriving soon, and asking about the boy's unofficial job at the morgue, though Gil knew they'd have to keep their talk away from his mother's eyesight – she would not think their topic of conversation appropriate for Thanksgiving Day.
Turning into the driveway of his home, the sun-bleached blond continued around to the back door with his prizes, glancing inside to see if his mother was around. Not seeing her, he headed into the backyard and carefully added his haul to the garden surrounding an old greenhouse. With a nod as he placed the last stone, he stepped back to judge the overall effect. He startled as he bumped into someone behind him, whirling about to see his mother grinning at him. His hands flew rapidly. /God, Mom! Don't sneak up on me like that!/
/Don't swear,/ Betty Grissom responded with a small frown before giving her son a hug. /Thank you for this, Gilbert. Your father would be so proud of you, for continuing this tradition, for going to his alma mater next year, for so many reasons./ A wistful smile curled her lips as she looked up at her tall boy. /You look so much like him, but I know you won't be studying plants as he did,/ she teased, coaxing a lopsided smirk from Gil.
/Well, I'll be studying some plants, Mom, since many insects do eat them,/ the young man teased back right before folding his mother into a hug. While he knew UCLA wasn't that far away, he still worried about leaving his widowed mother all on her own. /Come on, we have some cooking to do before Uncle Herb and the rest get here,/ he said after releasing her from his embrace.
One eyebrow quirked upward as Betty eyed her son with a knowing look. /Stop worrying, I'll be fine, you know,/ she admonished, her smile turning triumphant as she guessed what was, again, on her boy's mind.
Blushing, Gil washed his hands and started peeling the potatoes before he paused to answer. /I can't help it. You worry about me, I worry about you, it just is what it is, Mom./ He watched his mother move about the kitchen as she checked on the turkey, before beginning to set up the relish trays. /Mom? Did you ever, you know, think about . . ./ His flying hands stuttered to a stop as he pondered how to ask his question.
Brown eyes widened as she watched his face redden once again. She smiled gently and patted his cheek. /No, your father was my one and only, Gilbert. Anyone else would be a second best for me. Some people find many people to love, others, like your father and me, find only the perfect one./
Leaning against the counter, Gil asked thoughtfully, /How do you know, Mom? How do you know when you've found the one? You've said that you knew right away, but Dad – he told me once that he . . . wasn't as sure as you, at first,/ he finished lamely; the long ago conversation about girls and love was something he hadn't really understood when they'd had it, and time was softening the edges of the memory.
With a soft, knowing smile, she signed back gently, /When she steals your breath, makes your tongue tie in knots, and invades your dreams, you'll know. And when you find her, she'll be the one that is holding your heart. It just took your father a little time to see beyond his flowers to see me waiting for him./ Nodding her head decisively, Betty returned to her preparations, knowing her son would tuck her words away, until the day he was ready to understand them.
Gil found his mother sitting in the backyard, watching the light fade from the sky. He perched on the arm of the wooden lawnchair, and holding their final Thanksgiving tradition in his hand. Every year they saved the wishbone and set it to dry, using it the following holiday after the last of their guests had left.
With a warm smile, she wrapped her fingers about one half of the brittle bone, holding her other hand up to do the countdown once they both signaled that they had their wishes in mind. After seeing his nod, she signed, /Three . . . Two . . . One . . . Go!/ and tugged against his pull, laughing when the bone snapped, leaving her son with the larger half. /Going to tell me what you wished for?/ she teased.
A sheepish smile curled his lips, making him look much younger than his fifteen years, and his blue eyes sparkled in the dim light. /Something a little different this year,/ Gil answered, giving his mother a one-armed hug as he thought about his rather fanciful wish . . . Please let me find her, someday.
A curly haired, brown-eyed baby girl gazed up at the fluttering wings that rested on the edge of her crib, fascinated by the varied colors before her eyes. Rich brown, brilliant blue, creamy yellow and ashy black flicked back and forth in the last light of the setting sun, a soothing pattern that matched the ebb and flow of the surf sounding outside. Silence reigned in the house outside of the nursery, a peace that little Sara Sidle would come to learn was hard-won and fleeting. But tonight a butterfly danced on her bed's railing, a promise to a wish made several hundred miles away.