Generation Finale: A role model

Screenshot-991The kids had been asking a lot of questions about both their mother and my mother. I suspect the lack of an actual mother in their lives was what caused the series of questions I found myself answering.

It was hard because of two reasons: 1) I wanted them to have a mother in their life. 2) I missed both the mothers in question like crazy.

I couldn’t tell them no even though my own heart ached of loss for the two women and even though it hurt to let the answers force me to re-live some of the most precious memories I had of them both I did my best to verbally paint a describing image of them. But how do you create a person through simple words, how would it ever be possible to share with my kids just how perfect those two women were?

Surprisingly, it seemed that the curiosity over who their grandmother, my mother, had been was bigger than the curiosity over their own mother. Perhaps it was because they had accepted the fact that their own mother had left them to provide us safety and that they didn’t need to know much more than that, perhaps it was something completely different. Whatever reason, er were now on our way for an excursion to the cemetery, simply to visit my parents.

Screenshot-993I myself had never considered the graveyard or the graves as holders of answers and stories, but after a field trip to the mausoleum with school, Soda Pop had pretty much demanded for me to take them there, because “The tales the dead holds are far superior and more exciting than anything we will ever read in a book”. I don’t know, in my opinion books could be quite suspenseful, while old rocks with engravings mostly told stories about people who have lived and died. Nothing in between.

“Marshmallow Puff Twist” Loquat read out loud and traced his finger among the engravings on the grave stone. The simple sound of my mother’s name made my throat dry, I missed her so much. “A hero and a mother” Loquat finished and looked back at me. I nodded, letting him know that it was the right grave, that we had found my mother.

Soda Pop and Blizzard had both picked wild flowers on the way here and now kneeled down to place one vase on my mother’s grave and one on my father’s, which were located right next to mom’s. I was grateful to see that they realized this wasn’t a place for fun and games and that they respected my own struggles by joining me in a moment of silence.

Screenshot-995Loquat was the first to break it, “Was she a hero, dad?”

Screenshot-996“The best hero” I said and nodded. “She was a firefighter, just like her father had been many years ago. No one knows how many fires she put out while she was working, but it was many. And she saved lives, too. She saved your grandfather’s life, actually. When the other firemen thought it was already too late she went in to the flaming house just to find him and she managed to get him out. She did this at the risk of her own life. Fires are dangerous things, and inhaling too much smoke can easily kill you. But it didn’t kill her, she just ended up unconscious for a couple of weeks. When she woke up your grandfather was by her side, thankful for what she had risked for him. They fell in love and for many years they lived happily in our house. During this time the hate for colorless berries shot through the roof and while your grandmother worked along with Flax to change things, they were eventually forced to move in to a ghetto. I lived most of my life there. But your grandmother never stopped fighting. More and more berries joined the cause and after many years Sweet Corn, Quince, Mithos and Cinnamon managed to tear the walls down. But, all this wouldn’t have been possible unless your grandmother had started those fights many years ago. In a way, she saved lives both as a firefighter and as a protester.”

Screenshot-994“And mommy saved our lives by leaving us, right?” Blizzard asked and when I nodded in response he started jumping up and down, clapping his hands in excitement. “So she was a hero too! Both mommy and grandma are heroes!”

Screenshot-999Later that day, when we were back home, Soda Pop sat down next to me in the sofa with a big sigh. It was obvious that something was bothering her. “What’s the matter sweetie?” I asked and ruffled her fringe.

“Love, there’s no such thing, right?”

“What?” Out of all questions and out of all days to ask such a thing, she chose this very day? Hadn’t we spent the day talking about how much I loved those two women?

“I don’t mean like you love me or Blizzard or Loquat. I mean love like in the fairy tales.”

“Yes it does. Your mother and I loved each other. Your grandparents loved each other.”

Screenshot-1000“But the prince never leaves the princess in the tales. They live happily ever after. But there’s no such thing. Happily ever after.” It wasn’t a question anymore, it was a statement. A summary of what she had learned in her years on earth. Happily ever after was a myth only present in fairy tales.

In my case, it was true. But there were exceptions to her theory. “Mithos and Cherry are happily in love and so is Quince and Bluebell” I said to prove her wrong. She couldn’t stop believing in love already. It was too early. She should be dreaming of prince charming, unicorns and bubbles. She was still young!

She mumbled something inaudible in response and left me sitting alone brooding in the sofa. Out of the grownups in the kids’ lives, the majority served as examples of broken love. Sweets was incapable of finding anyone, Oceana had left me, Cinnamon was pregnant but there was no boyfriend in her life. And as far as they knew, dad had always lived without mom and I wasn’t sure if stories could explain how true their love had really been. Maybe love was such a thing you could only believe if you’ve experienced it yourself?

Screenshot-997Cinnamon called a late evening a couple of weeks later, letting me know she was panicking because it was time. At first I didn’t know what she expected me to do, but in the end she managed to actually say it and I was over at her place as fast as I could. Since the father of her child weren’t exactly a part of her life, she needed me to bring her to the hospital. As the true friend I am, I obeyed.

Screenshot-998She said she wanted me to come with her in to laboring as well, but I couldn’t do that. I had barely been around when my own babies were born and I didn’t feel like seeing my friend in such a private and exposed situation. I remained in the visitor’s area instead, waiting for the good news to reach my ears. It took a couple of hours and I had fallen asleep when a  nurse woke me up by shaking me gently. Cinnamon had given birth to a daughter.

Screenshot-1022She named her Jaffa Dolphin.

Screenshot-1006Quince and Bluebell welcomed their baby girl, Butterfly Bush, to the world at around the same time as Jaffa Dolphin was born. It was a bit unfair that they would have kids the same age, whereas mine were somewhere in the middle of everything. Just a tiny bit, though, as I was quite happy to be through the toddler years by now.

It was certainly enough to ride the waves of my friends newlyborns and there wasn’t the slightest part of me who wished for more kids of my own. Well, I already had more than my friends anyway. But it’s true, babies smell adorable and they make cute little gurgling noises and sometimes you imagine yourself taking a small sample of them because you’re so certain it would taste sweet and delicious. Butterfly Bush was no exception.

Babies, babies, babies. They were everywhere. Mithos and Cherry awaited a new one and Quince got Bluebell knocked up almost immediately after Butterfly’s appearance. They were like rabbits, my friends.

Screenshot-1010While in my life, the chanting went more like: Teenagers, teenagers, teenagers. The triplets elementary school years felt like they passed before they were even here and I was as unprepared for this birthday as I had been to their last. Luckily, that didn’t stop them from aging up beautifully. I found myself looking forward to their real lives to begin. To follow them on their respective journeys, experience their friendships, their first loves and their graduation.

Looking at them now, I realized I had been a decent father after all. I had managed, despite the lack of mother by my side. We had survived.

Screenshot-1008Soda Pop had stuck to the idea that such a thing as true love didn’t exist. That, however, didn’t mean that she didn’t search for it. Oh berry, she did! She was constantly on that computer, busy chatting away with different boys. I was a bit worried, those guys could be anyone. They could be dangerous. But as long as she followed the time limits and promised to never meet them in real life, I let her be at it. After all, it seemed to provide her joy, and I desperately wanted my kids to be happy.

Screenshot-1007Blizzard was also stuck in a thought that had first come to his mind at a young age. Even though he never knew his grandma in person, he knew that she was remembered a hero. A firefighter hero. And he was desperately working towards following her path. At one point, he had even lectured me for not going that path career-wise, as it according to him, where in our blood. Both my mother and her father had been firefighters and therefore it was a shame that neither me or my siblings has chosen that path. Blizzard was sure he would correct that mistake.

Screenshot-1009And last there was Loquat. He looked like me, and he seemed to take after me social-wise too. When his brother and sister hung out with friends he locked himself in Soda’s bedroom and practiced on his Domino skills. He was as obsessed! And impossible to beat, may I add.

They were all beautiful and perfect, and I certainly looked forward to following their paths in life. Wherever it would take them.

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