One of the reasons Ada misses the baby bubble is because it made her worry less about other things. It’s the beauty of it, the whole intensity of caring for small children that makes you somewhat oblivious to the world outside. It’s a simple kind of joy inside the bubble too: as long as everyone is fed, has slept and seems reasonably content you feel like a winner. Real life is much harsher.
Now that the girls are in school and Christopher talks like he’s never not been able to, she finds that with all the extra time on her hands she begins to worry about things beyond diapers and proper baby food.
She has always known she will be alone when the kids are older but this year, as Ed turns 70, the fact seems to burn itself into her bones. He’s seventy years old. Her dad was 68 when he died of a heart attack, her mum 73 when she succumbed to cancer.
Thankfully Ed is healthy and strong, at least now. Even so it’s a low-key worry in her chest to think about life ten years from now, or twenty when she’s almost definitely alone. He talks about it, too, wants her to start over with someone when he dies. It sounds simple enough when he says it but Ada has never been one to fall in love with people, has almost never felt emotions strong enough to merit a relationship.
And she’s fairly certain she won’t ever find a match that feels as good as this one, that she can’t possibly meet another man who suits her the way Ed does.
But it’s not just Ed she worries about, right now it’s mostly their financial situation that keeps her up at night. They’re not starving but Ada is the only one with an income and it’s definitely not ideal to support a family with three children plus the loan they had to take for their house. It’s going to be okay, but she would really like some wider margins.
She knows the same goes for Josephine and Timothy. They’ve bought a lovely home near the water and Ada suspects Josephine had been relieved to get out of the low-income neighbourhood once and for all. It’s not something she says, but Ada can’t imagine someone of her background being content there in the long run.
Ed is very happy she’s settled down and keeps asking when they will give Imogen a little brother or sister.
“Stop pestering them, honey,” Ada cuts in, every time. She still recalls her own parents and their hopes for grandchildren, how much of a failure it had made her seem.
But Josephine is more forthcoming than Ada ever was and tells them simply that they need to wait for a bit since they want to save some money and allow Josephine to get more settled in her career first. She’s just out of chef school with a little bit of luck and a great deal of effort and Ada can really understand wanting to look for something better than the fast food industry before expanding the family. They’ll have time for both.
There’s no denying that life is simpler now when they have older kids. A few years ago every day required constant meddling and participation in the girls’ activites but now they can play together, alone. Sure, sometimes they end of in a pile on the floor, biting each other, but mostly they can actually play.
Evelyn is definitely a wilder sort than Kirsten, that much has been clear since Evelyn started to crawl and became a tiny little danger to every plant, vase and chair in the house. Now at five she’s a peculiar combination of being fairly serious-minded – she can sit for hours with her own little games, drawing and making large models – and full of pranks.
School goes well for them both, at least and they have made some friends. Mostly Kirsten, of course, who’s been in school longer.
And like all younger siblings, Evelyn is extremely fascinated with her sister’s friends and wants to be around them all the time. Ed and Ada tries to interfere and let Kirsten have her own friends to herself, but it’s hard to avoid when they all have after-school snacks together.
Speaking of friendships, Ada has managed to stay really close friends with Clara Hiller whom she met when they both had newborns and spent time down at the family centre. Clara’s twins are five now, too, and she seems much happier as a mother of slightly older kids.
They’re different that way – Ada can still dream about warm, chubby babies to hold in her arms whereas Clara often talks about how extremely glad she is that she will never again have a baby in her house.
It’s great to hang out with the entire family so the kids can play together, but to be honest, Ada almost prefers to have Clara to herself. She has precious few female friends and treasures every moment.
Ed has always said he doesn’t want to do anything for his birthday this year. It’s nothing to celebrate, I’m just getting officially old. But Ada hasn’t been able to let the idea of at least having a date night together go, so she plans one for him and hopes for the best.
“We can pretend it’s not your birthday at all,” she tells him at the restaurant. “Maybe we’re celebrating us.”
Ed grins. “I can do that.”
“Then cheers for us.”
It turns into a really perfect evening, just like she had hoped when she planned it.
No kids, just the two of them enjoying themselves and doing silly things like roller skating in the chilly spring night that gets sprinkled by a light snowfall.
And Ada decides that she will postpone her worrying for a while yet, a couple of years or so. They’re doing fine.
* So, plenty of updates from me over the past few weeks. Don’t worry, I won’t keep up. 🙂 Soon Fallout will arrive and the SWTOR expansion and I will be lost in those, most likely. But I enjoy the massive playing sessions for now, it’s been months since I last played.