NOTES: New series. See Part One.
DISCLAIMER: I do not own the West Wing or any of its related
characters. Don't sue.
SUMMARY: Different people of the West Wing reflect on their lives so
Every morning he has a chance to, my husband sits in bed and he
thinks. I don't know what he's thinking, but there are moments when
he chuckles and moments when he cries. I worry about him sometimes;
but I think that it's good for him to have that reflection time. I
don't think he knows that I know he does it. I know he doesn't know
that I do it too.
There are so many decisions that I have made in my life,
countless decisions and I often wonder how things would be different,
how I would be different, had I made different ones. I think that I
would have been a lot worse off. I'm not saying that because Jed is
President. I'm saying that because Jed is my husband. I don't need a
holiday to be thankful for that. Despite his occasional immaturity
and raging hormones, he's the sweetest man that I have ever known.
Also the most relentless.
He practically beat up Ron Erlich just to get me to go on one
date with him. I told him `one date' and soon, Ron was gone. History.
Now, more than thirty years later, my husband gently kisses my
forehead and quietly climbs out of bed. He gets dressed, unaware that
I'm watching him. He's a good man. I don't suppose anyone in this
world who knows him or loves him more than I do.
Looking back on my life so far, I think that it was to lead
up to this moment. This moment where I can rest in this warm bed in
the early morning and think about this life that I have here on this
planet. I have a job I enjoy, where I can make some sort of
difference, a family I love and cherish more than anything...
A very nice house.
A very nice, very *big* house.
I suppose I should get up and eat breakfast, go to work,
things like that. I'm quite happy here though, snuggling into the
warm spot my husband's body heat left behind. The world is always
changing, but this room, this spot, this moment can't change. When I
stand up and start my day, everything is going to speed up and I'll
get lost in the world. I don't like getting lost in the world.
I should get up though. I should get up and help my husband
save the world. You know, I worry a lot. I worry that Leo is going to
call and tell me that my husband has collapsed again and that things
are much worse this time. Or Ron Butterfield is going to be on the
other line saying that there's been another shooting and my daughter
is in hysterics because her boyfriend is dead. I worry that this job
is going to be the death of my husband, or the death of me, or my
family. Hell, a few months ago it almost was.
The world changes with each word my husband or I say. What a
daunting responsibility that is. I feel like I have to watch and plan
every step I take. People telling me what to do doesn't help in the
least. The strange thing is that when Leo came to our house and
suggested that Jed run, I began to think about what it would be like
to be the First Lady. I think I was ready to be the First Lady before
Jed was ready to be President. When we were working on the campaign
trail, I remember being able to speak with authority when Jed threw a
nervous fit, yelling at the people trying to help him.
He still gets nervous. Sometimes I see it. He pauses or he
bows his head before going through a door. He wants to do well; he
wants to make this world a better place. I believe in him and I know
that he believes in me. I get nervous too, but it's different. I
worry about saying the wrong thing or pushing something or someone
too far. I know I'm pushy; I know people think that I'm pushy.
Hell, I'm proud of it.
Still, I suppose I could be gentler about it. I get upset
when people handle me. Being a politician's wife, and I suppose I
myself am a politician now, I need to get used to it. But I really
don't want to.
I like who I am.
Jed's long gone now. I guess I have to get up and ready; the
day starts, whether I want it to or not. I wonder if anyone wakes up
in the morning and looks forward to the day? I'm sure there has to be
someone out there who wakes up and just can't wait to get to
Probably not, huh?
How much shall I accomplish today? Shall I tackle child
labor? World hunger? Epidemic diseases? I'm a doctor; I can do that.
Today's probably reserved for `Save The Spotted Owl Society' or
something like that though. I wouldn't be surprised. Somewhere in
between being a doctor and the First Lady, I also became the Spotted
I want to have lunch with my daughter today. Maybe Charlie
can be there. I miss talking to those two. Jed probably needs Charlie
though. Charlie's a good kid. I can't help but be proud of him. I
just wish I could get to know him better, learn more about him. He
is, after all, the man my youngest daughter loves; the man she would
The man my husband would die for.
What a thought to live with and endure. My husband would give up
his life for Charlie, Zoey, Leo... me. He'd give up his own life
for me. His love is of that kind.
I can't seem to stop thinking about my husband. I love him so
much that way. I feel like a high school student all over again.
Not an entirely pleasant thought.
One of these days, I'm going to Camp David or back to New
Hampshire, just for a little while. I know that vacations are rare,
but I need one. For God's sake, I need one. Jed needs one too, but I
doubt I could ever convince him to do it... not without promising
a special garment, anyway. If I did that, he'd be calling for the
national guard to get us there, wherever, as soon as humanly
possible... or inhumanly possible, because getting there as soon
as *humanly* possible is far too slow for his tastes.
God, I love that man.
If I were asked to describe my life, I would probably say "talk
to Lily." I feel so overwhelmed sometimes. I was born, raised,
educated, married and then planted into this reality of monumental
I love every minute of it.
How did I get to necking with Ron Erlich under a tree on the
Notre Dame campus to being Mrs. Josiah Bartlet, mother of three,
resident of the ever-so Presidential White House? So many things
change in what seems to be so little time. Almost makes me feel old.
There are moments in this job that fill me with joy, and moments
that fill me with sorrow. I see kids in starvation and then I see
well-fed kids laughing in play. How can the world be so drastically
different all over? I read somewhere about a theory that there was no
such thing as equilibrium and therefore no such thing as Utopia, no
such thing as paradise. Even if it kills me, I'm going to spend my
time in this White House, and perhaps the rest of my life, trying to
prove that such a notion is wrong.
I know it's a cliché but I'm going to say it anyway: For the
sake of the children.
I'm on my way now, moving slowly into the outside world that so
much loves to close in on me from time to time. When it does, I'll
search for an escape, and I'm willing to bet that I'll find it at the
end of the day when I walk back into the residence. My husband will
be there or Zoey or a phone with which I can call either of them or
Liz or anyone.
I love my life. I love my job and my family. I'm proud of my
family, and I'm proud of the things that my husband and I accomplish,
with the major support and assistance of our staffs, mind you. We
both have such wonderful staffs.
I still wonder how things would be different if different
decisions had been made so long ago. What if I hadn't married Jed?
What if Leo had never gotten the help he needed six years ago? What
if Jed hadn't won the election and become President? What if Charlie
and Zoey had never gotten together?
You know what? No more what ifs.