Keep with me forward

Spring 4006
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Edward Cousland is 66, Ada Cousland is 37, Kirsten Cousland is 3, Evelyn Cousland is 11 months

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They say all good things must come to an end.

They say a lot of things, of course. They. People in general. Not that Ada has ever cared much about these unknown people but she keeps hearing these doomed words in her head every time she allows herself to dwell on her life these days.

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It’s like she’s too happy and too much happiness will come back to bite you when you least expect it.

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It had been a good choice to start a family with Ed – the best choice of her life, no doubt about it. She loves him in a way she didn’t think it was possible to love another person and he’s a wonderful father to their girls. But the fact remains that he’s approaching 70 and no matter how absurd that feels – he’s youthful and healthy, full of vibrant life – it’s no less true.

When she tells him she would very much like another child because she’s always imagined herself with three, has found it to be a good number that sits right in her body somehow, like it’s a knowledge in her bones that she is meant to be a mother of three, he tells her he doesn’t feel good about yet another child he might leave behind too early. And it’s an argument she can’t win against because he’s right. He won’t met Kirsten and Evelyn’s children, if they ever have any. He won’t be around to see them turn 40. On the other hand she might not be, either. You never know these things, of course, but there’s chance and there’s statistics and there’s being blind to reality. They’re both clever people, they know these things.

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And despite all this, despite reason and common sense, she hopes. Every month she hopes that her pills have failed and that she will have to take a pregnancy test. It’s not that likely that she’ll end up pregnant with protection – she, too, gets older and the clock is ticking more loudly now. Maybe that’s why it’s on her mind, that possible third child. Because she’s running out of time

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They have a good life together, all four of them. There’s no real reason for this longing. But it’s there all the same.

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Ada works full time now since Ed is at home with the kids. He’s doing some minor consulting jobs from time to time, adding some extra cash to their funds, but to all extents and purposes she’s the one who supports the family. It works well for them, this arrangement. She knows Ed feels like he’s got another chance at being a parent, this time around and he’s extremely dedicated to the girls.

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Ada loves coming home in the afternoons to be greeted by Kirsten who’s always running, everywhere, all the time and gives the biggest, sloppiest kisses in the world when she snuggles up to her mom.

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She loves their everyday routines where every day is pretty similar to the day before and the day before that. It’s not boring to her, it’s calming. When she was single her days looked pretty much the same too, except people don’t talk about that because everyone is busy pretending to lead wildly creative and unique lives rather than admit that they’re mostly working, making dinner and watching telly. Now she has children and a husband to share the days with and to her, this makes it all new and exciting.

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When the girls sleep and Ed goes out for his evening walk, she catches up on work, trying to keep up with the latest research and news. It’s never been terribly important to her to have a successful career but she wants to do a good job and she wants to provide for her children. That last part – being able to provide for her children – is something her husband mourns, she knows. Josephine is on her own now and while she claims it’s what she wants, Ada reckons Ed would give anything to be able to put a sum of money on her bank account to make her life easier.

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Things are okay with Josephine. Not great, but not horrible either. They will most likely never end up best friends, but they’ve found a way to interact and even have a good time together with the kids and Ada knows Ed is very grateful that they’re both trying.

And she knows Josephine is grateful that Ada is around to stop her dad from meddling in her life. At least these days it seems she’s slowly crawling back up on her feet again after a period of dating idiots like Helmer and bouncing back and forth between two other hopeless lovers. It’s not obvious to everyone, but you deserve to be treated better than that. If Ada could make Josephine understand one thing, it would be that.

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They try to meet up as often as possible and Ada has to admit that she admires Josephine’s independence and determination to make a good life for herself and her daughter, regardless of what people say. And they talk a lot, the way people do.

It’s inspiring, to see someone who doesn’t give a damn.

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She tells Ed about it and he looks at her with that quiet little smile he has sometimes when he wants to say something ridiculously sweet and loving. And this time he tells her that he’s been re-thinking the whole “stop at two children” thing since it means so much to her to try for another baby.

“It will all work out for the best,” he says. “One way or another.”

And there and then, as they stand outside in the warm spring evening while the kids sleep – soundly, judging by the noise from the baby monitor – and look at each other, it really does seem that way. Come what may, Ada thinks and steps into Ed’s embrace.

All good things must come to an end and one day, some day, it will. But until then it won’t. Those are the days that count.

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4 thoughts on “Keep with me forward

  1. i thought Ed was going to die at the end. hopefully he has got a few years left in him. This made feel sad for Ada too.

  2. Heh, like Peachy, I thought Ed was going to die too but I thought it was going to come at the beginning! I’m glad it didn’t and that we have at least one more round with Ed.

    I’m happy that he agreed to a third child. Even though it’s not unlikely that Ada will be left to care for three young children (or maybe teenagers) on her own one day, it sounds like she knows that. So hopefully, she can prepare for the possibility as best she can and minimise the difficulty.

  3. Kristen is so adorable! (I miss toddlers in my S4 game!)

    This was so poignant, the juxtaposition of a family starting out and a life in its final chapters, all at the same time. It sounds like Ada is just grateful to have a family, even at this cost of knowing she’ll soon lose Edward. I am also very happy Josephine and Ada have each other now, and Ada has such a respect for Josephine’s strength.

    I love your observation about single life, how often we try to imagine it to be glamorous, but with married life we really take joy in domesticity.

  4. Kirsten is such a doll, love that she got her Mama’s nose, it’s a great nose. Like the others, I was quite worried about Ed. I think having two is a good number, especially since Ed can’t necessarily leave behind a fortune to help out with their needs and education. Sad to see him age though, and know what the future holds. Sad for Ada, and the girls too. It’s nice that Josephine got to have her father for all these years, and for him to be active in Imogen’s life too.

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