“Mommy, can we do nail polish?” Ellie asks, sweet as ever, as she approaches the chair in which Lena is currently rocking the newest addition to their family. Her blonde curls have fallen out of the braid Kara did this morning before kindergarten and she has what Lena can only assume is strawberry jelly smeared on her cheek from the sandwiches in her lunch box.
Ellie glances down at baby Ava for a few seconds, happy to see her long-awaited little sister sleeping soundly in her mom’s arms, almost exactly how she left her this morning—although both Kara and Lena will tell you the journey from then until this moment has not been peaceful.
Lena reaches a hand out when her eldest daughter gets close enough, her little fingers immediately landing on top of her palm. Her hands are warm, and truthfully a little sticky—no doubt also from the strawberry jelly.
“Of course we can,” Lena promises with a smile. “I want you to tell me all about your day first, though. Where’s Mama?”
“We went to the grocery store after kindergarten,” Ellie reminds Lena. Her post-birth brain has been unable to store any information unrelated to the baby recently—when she last ate, how many ounces, which boob she used— resulting in her being significantly more forgetful than normal.
“Oh, of course,” Lena remembers, already feeling a little guilty for forgetting. “Why don’t you go help her put some of the groceries away and I’ll be right behind you.”
“Okay mommy.” Ellie smiles excitedly and says, “I’ll go pick out some nail polish too!”
After her daughter rushes out of the room, all messy curls and mismatched socks, Lena shuffles to the end of the rocking chair in the nursery before gathering the strength to stand with Ava in her arms. She manages, although it’s a lot harder than usual given that her body is still recovering from birthing Kara Beefcake Danvers’ nine pound, eight ounce chunk of a newborn baby.
She sets Ava down as gently as she can, praying that her youngest daughter will sleep for long enough that she’ll have enough time to paint Ellie’s nails. They were discharged from the hospital three days ago, and Lena has truthfully been struggling with her emotions ever since.
She’s so happy, happier than she ever thought possible, but she wasn’t anticipating the guilt that came along with her happiness. Adjusting to life as a parent of two little ones has been the greatest, most difficult experience of her life, and there are times when she is so consumed by the reality of that statement she feels physically sick with herself - the moments when she finally sinks into the acceptance that life isn’t always sunshine and rainbows with two young children. The weight of responsibility that comes along with parenting can be equally as crushing as it is freeing - the constant mix of pride and terror, the love and the frustration. It’s breaking her heart that she can’t drop everything and do whichever activity Ellie wants to do, just like they used to. Things are different now, and her daughter is the best, most patient big sister either one of them could have hoped for, but Lena still feels bad every time she has to prioritize the baby.
Ensuring Ava is settled and sound asleep, Lena grabs the baby monitor and makes her way downstairs—another task that takes her a little longer these days. Ellie is in the corner of the kitchen eating a bag of chips that Lena suspects has been stolen from the snack cupboard while Kara puts away the shopping.
“Hey babe, is she asleep?” her wife asks as Lena rounds the counter and allows herself to be pulled in for a hug.
“Mhm.” She nods, enjoying the way Kara’s hands immediately move to rub up and down Lena’s back. The gentle, soothing motion is almost enough to lull her to sleep right there on her feet. She’s completely exhausted, already desperate to go to bed later tonight and it’s barely mid afternoon.
Almost as though she’s reading her mind, Kara asks, “why don’t you go take a nap while she sleeps? I’ll make you something to eat and wake you up when it’s ready.”
“I’m okay.” Lena stifles a yawn. “I promised I’d paint Ellie’s nails. I won’t say no to some food though.” She smiles as Kara presses a kiss to the top of her head.
“Love you,” Kara says, giving her wife an extra little squeeze before Lena pulls back.
“Love you, too.”
Lena falls asleep before Kara has the chance to bring her bowl of freshly made pasta through to the living room, but Ellie is overjoyed with her new purple nails so she considers the day a success.
“Mommy, watch me!” Ellie calls out while Lena is wrestling a chunky, six month old Ava into a pre-warmed bath towel as she wails in protest.
Lena glances up, sees Ellie twirling around in the bathtub with a pile of bubbles on her head.
“That’s awesome baby, but please sit on your butt. You know the rules,” Lena yells over the crying.
She makes sure her oldest daughter is seated before turning her attention back to Ava, pulling the hood of the towel over her damp curls before wrapping the rest of it around her. She calms almost immediately, allowing Lena to stand and pick her up.
“You don’t like the cold, huh munchkin? Me either.”
“Mommy, can you get my towel please?” Ellie asks as she scoops up another pile of bubbles and blows them down into the water.
“Of course baby, just give me a second.”
Balancing the baby on her hip, Lena leans down to grab Ellie’s towel with her free hand. She turns her back for a few seconds, just long enough to pick up the hooded Little Mermaid towel that her daughter loves, and completely misses her standing back up in the tub.
Lena hears the squeak of her foot slipping and her body reacts before her brain catches up, whirling around just in time to watch her daughter’s head bump off the bath faucet on her way down.
“Oh shit,” she gasps, dropping the towel and rushing over to where Ellie is laying, eyes wide, in the tub. When Ellie’s brain catches up with the shock, she inhales a deep breath before starting to cry. The noise startles Ava, who also begins to wail once again.
“Oh my baby, come here,” Lena does her very best to scoop Ellie out of the tub with the arm that isn’t supporting Ava, feeling entirely overwhelmed as deposits them both on her lap on the bathroom floor.
She holds Ellie close, rocking back and forth as she gently shushes her. She settles after a few moments, hiccuping as she tries to get her breathing back under control. Ava is still fussing, but Lena is more concerned about the spot of blood staining the back of Ellie’s damp hair.
She brushes her curls out of the way as gently as she can with her fingertips, careful not to hurt her, so that she can get a clearer view of the damage.
“Hey sweetheart, can you look at Mommy for a second?” she asks, waiting until Ellie turns around before speaking again. “I think we might have to go to the emergency room, okay? I’m going to call Mama at work and let her know what has happened.”
They get home from the hospital in the early hours of the morning, endlessly thankful to Sam and Alex for offering to take Ava for the night so that both Kara and Lena could be with Ellie. The doctor assured them that she is going to make a full recovery, and the staple they put in her head will be removed in a few weeks. Ellie thinks it’s the coolest thing ever, making sure to tell everyone she knows all about it.
Kara and Lena share a quiet laugh once they’re both back in bed that night, feeling a little embarrassed that Ellie yelled out the word ‘shit’ when the nurse was inspecting her head. Lena takes full responsibility for the outburst, but Kara admits she may also have heard it from her on more than a few occasions.
Kara glances around at the current state of their living room, knowing the rest of the house isn’t faring much better. With two kids under the age of five, life was bound to get chaotic, but even as she takes in the mess—toys littered all over the floor, a sippy cup tipped over on the rug, the dirty laundry she knows is piled high in the other room—she’s never felt so content.
It’s in moments like these, the rare pockets of time where she has a second to breathe and take everything in, that she still can’t believe this life is her own. How on earth did she get so lucky?
She looks over at Ellie, smiling at her eldest daughter as she sleeps soundly on the couch. God, Kara can’t believe how big she’s getting. It seems like only yesterday she and Lena were on that very couch, exhausted out of their minds and unable to take their eyes off their beautiful newborn daughter. She remembers holding onto her tiny, chubby hands as she took her first steps, letting go of Kara’s arms and falling into the safety of Lena’s at the other side. Her first smile, her first word, her first few years of life.
She tears her eyes away and allows them to linger on Ava, who is currently drooling all over her wife’s shoulder. Ava, who is already walking and talking despite it feeling like she was born simply a few weeks ago. The days are incredibly long sometimes, but the weeks and months are flying in so much faster than Kara could have imagined. She missed Ava’s first steps— the unfortunate reality of having to leave her girls in order to go to work—but Lena managed to film the whole thing, camera propped up on the coffee table as she encouraged their beautiful baby girl to toddle towards her. There was a lot of footage beforehand, the video running for almost thirty minutes before Ava finally managed to make her way over to Lena, but Kara adored watching every last second of her wife and daughter.
Her wife. Her incredible, strong, beautiful wife. Kara sits down on the couch beside her, guiding Lena’s head to rest on her shoulder to prevent it getting stiff while she naps.
She takes in the softness of her face, admires the wrinkles that have appeared throughout their years together. Kara resists the urge to reach out and caress the slope of her jaw, not wanting to risk waking her after a long day of chasing after the girls while trying to get her own work done. Truthfully, she doesn’t know how Lena does it sometimes. She remembers a good few years back, when they were only just discussing the possibility of having children, when Lena admitted to her that she was terrified of being a bad mother, of bringing a soul into this world and not being enough for them.
Kara knew, even then, that it was simply not possible for Lena Luthor to ever be less than enough. Her wife is strength personified, the most selfless person she has ever known, and Kara makes sure to tell her that every single day, never wants her to doubt just how incredible she is as both a wife and a parent to their girls.
Becoming a mother is everything Kara could’ve ever hoped for, and a lot of things she wasn’t expecting. She adores watching her girls grow up, but truthfully she hadn’t considered how much more she could love her wife until the day Ellie was born.
In moments like these, when she sees how safe Ava is curled up on Lena’s chest, she feels as though she could burst from the love she feels in her heart. She allows her hand to slip down, taking extra care not to disturb either one of them, and gently caresses the barely-there swell of Lena’s stomach.
Kara isn’t sure how they’re going to adjust as a family of five, but she doesn’t have a single doubt in her mind that their new baby boy will be loved just as much as his big sisters.