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I’ve never made so many cakes in one week before. Jackson, Gemma and I celebrated our birthdays within days of each other. Jackson’s birthday was first and he grew up to look so much like Felix it was like they were twins. The only thing he inherited from his mother was her complexion and hopefully that would be the only thing he inherited from her. That deadbeat plum-head named Louise never even stopped by once to see her son after she moved out. She talked to him over the phone a few times and he chatted with her online once but that was the extent of it. It’s one thing to bail on my brother, but it’s another thing to bail on my nephew. He is such a good kid any mother would want him for a son.

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He and Leni became best friends and they both hung out in the same clique at their high school. Jackson became quite popular amongst the student body due to his interest in sports and fitness and he makes good grades. He’s also popular with the girls, but he’s not a player either. Felix should be proud of himself for raising Jackson on his own. Sure, Clay and I helped out wherever we could, but Felix was the one who dedicated much of his time to Jackson’s upbringing and it certainly paid off.

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Gemma’s birthday was up next but unlike Jackson, she wanted a huge blowout bash. I took the day off just to prepare for the party that evening. I had to call the caterers, mix the punch, bake the cake and redecorate the party room to her taste. Green was my favourite colour, not hers as she explicitly said to me when she asked to redecorate the room. I didn’t have a problem with it as you only have one young adult birthday to celebrate. I couldn’t believe how fast the time flew. It seemed like just the other day she was a baby.

“I know what you’re thinking.” Clay said as he entered the kitchen while I was baking her strawberry cake. “You’re must be thinking just yesterday she was a baby and today she’s gonna become a woman.”

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I laughed in response because he was right. Clay could always read my mind. “I feel so old all of a sudden. Just now it’ll be Leni’s turn and then both of them will get married and have families of their own. I feel happy and proud but a little sad at the same time. They’re not my babies anymore, Clay.”

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“They’ll always be your babies, hon. No matter how old they get. I know you’re still gonna mother them whenever you feel is necessary.”

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He was right. No matter how old they got they were still my babies and that would never change but at the same time I knew I would have to take a step back so they could spread their wings. As much as it would kill me to not know every single detail of their lives, I knew the best thing a parent can do for their children is to allow them to embrace their independence and make mistakes so they can learn from them just as I had to learn from mine.

The party was just about to begin and I had successfully put everything together according to Gemma’s wishes. I didn’t think I’d pull it off and I was so relieved when I did.

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Gemma had shown major improvement in her behaviour and had become so mature now that I felt like she deserved all the fuss that came with this party.

“So what’s the verdict Gem? Do you like it?”

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“Are you kidding Mum?! I love everything! It’s just the way I imagined it would be. Thanks a lot, you’re the best!”

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“Seriously? This is what you wanted? No criticism at all?”

“Wellll…there’s always room for improvement. Like I wouldn’t have chosen these indigo chaises because they don’t go with the rest of the décor and I would’ve preferred sparkling apple juice instead of fruit punch because it’s classier, but overall it’s not bad Mum. You did a good job.”

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I knew there was a catch! But at least she was nice in her critique which is refreshing. Long ago, she would’ve moaned and complained about how it was all ruined because of these few details that weren’t up to her standards. I’m so happy that she’s no longer like that.

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My daughter is all grown up now and ready to take on the legacy and I’m so proud of the woman she has become. I used to worry about Gemma and the wicked, cold behaviour she exhibited as a child. Now I see it was just a phase. Gemma was just going through a lot because of Stephan and because I tried to protect her so much that she misunderstood so many things and lashed out at the rest of the family and me. Now with all the misunderstandings cleared, I can see that she is just a sensitive, although tough as nails, kind of person. I have full faith in her and I know she will accomplish so much in life.

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The day after her birthday she started a job at a software engineering company as a programmer, a code monkey to be exact. She works a lot from her bedroom when she returns home from work so I hardly get to spend time with her except for on the weekends. She’s always so busy, but Gemma has always been very focused on achieving her goals which I think is a good thing. I just hope she leaves some free time for a personal life. After all, she is the heiress so she has to give me grandbabies someday.

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I’m happy she found a career where she can put some of those skills she learned as a teenager to good use. Gemma could mod games and write scripts that would put my brother Ethan to shame.

The next birthday to celebrate was mine. I was a little nervous about this birthday because I knew it would be my last. Instead of the fanfare, I wanted a quiet celebration. Just some cake with family and friends seemed like the best thing for me.

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Before I blew out the candles on my cake there was a knock at the door. It was Phoebe! I was so surprised to see her since she told me she had to work.

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“What are you doing here?”

“I just came to wish you a happy birthday but I can’t stay long. I have to get back to the lab before they realise I’m MIA.”

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“You came all the way here just to tell me happy birthday?”

“Of course, you’re my best friend. Duh!”

I felt relieved knowing she still thought of me as her best friend. So much time had passed since the last time we saw each other. I haven’t even met her son Jakob yet and he’s almost a teenager. As you get older you realise the things you take for granted, one of those things is family. I’ve hardly spent any time with my cousins and even less time with Ethan since he moved out. That’s one of the things I have to rectify now that my days are numbered.

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After Phoebe left I went back to the kitchen and blew out the candles on my cake.

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Old age wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. Sure, my back and joints ached a little and I’d have to get used to the grey hair and wrinkles on my face but other than that I felt just the same.

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Another thing that came with old age, my promotion to Chief of Police! I was so proud of myself for reaching the top of my career. I wished I had earned it sooner, but everything comes in its own time I guess. Now that I’m older, I’d need to take it easy and this is the type of job where I can do just that. I wouldn’t have to be out on the field chasing down perps or performing interrogations unless I wanted to. I also had a lot of vacation time piled up that I needed to use before I retire – if I decide to retire. I love my job so much that I don’t think I’d want to stay home baking cookies and watching TV. I’ve grown so accustomed to being a part of the action that I don’t think I could stay away for too long.

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I can always take some time off when I want to focus on writing books or spend quality time with my husband. Clay still can’t keep his hands off of me, just as I can’t keep my hands off of him. There’s nothing better than being with your true love. That’s what Clay is for me.

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I think we were always meant for each other. A part of me wished we both realised it sooner, but then there would be no Gemma and Leni and I cannot imagine my life without those two either. I never used to believe in things like destiny but over time my viewpoint has changed. Everything that happened in my life happened for a reason. It happened because it was supposed to. Do I have regrets? Not at all. You have to take the good with the bad. All I want is for my children to have more happy days than bad days but no one can predict what their future has in store for them. I’ll just have to trust that I’ve done a good job at preparing them for those dark days and I know they’ll always be there for each other. The Sloanes have always been a close-knit family, so I’m certain it’ll always remain that way.

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This is the final chapter for Generation 3. The next chapter would be the start of Generation 4 with the story being told from Gemma’s perspective. Danielle is an amazing Sim and I’m going to miss telling the story from her POV but I’m really excited to begin Gemma’s story because she’s quite different from her predecessors so it’ll be an interesting journey.

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