Dear Diary, you began a long time ago with my grandmother, then you were passed on to my father, and finally, continued by me. We’ve had quite a strange journey, haven’t we?
As I stood next to Matthieu in the garden, I gazed over our children who were weeding and watering. All of them were now young adults except Susan who claimed she couldn’t wait to be old enough to take the entrance exam at Longview University. Although she didn’t know what she wanted to focus her studies on, that particular school was the best of the best.
But Susan wasn’t the only one with plans. I’ll get to specifics on that later because, at that particular moment, I was feeling a mixture of nostalgia, sadness, and excitement. Nostalgia because my children were grown, sadness because I knew they were all making plans in order to lead their own lives and excitement for all of the above. I’d spent my adulthood with Matthieu, filling this house with children because I’d known only too well what it was like to grow up alone.
When I finally had a sister, I took her for granted and didn’t appreciate it. But you already know that story.
I must have sighed rather loudly since Matthieu, who didn’t pause from what he was doing, said, “Cheer up, honey.”
“I’m not sad,” I insisted, then added, “Only a little.”
Putting down his watering can, he turned toward me, taking my hands and looking into my eyes expectantly.
After a few moments, I sighed again. “At least four of the children are going to leave Winchester, I’m sure of it.”
Knowing better than to meddle with my mother’s instincts, he smiled slightly. “We knew this day was going to come. I know that doesn’t make it any easier, but we’ve been preparing mentally for this for a long time.”
“You’re right.” I tried to smile back at him but I’m sure my attempt was pretty lame in appearance. “I’m excited for them, I really am.”
Squeezing my fingers lightly with his, it felt good to have his rough hands caressing mine. His simple touch reminded me that I had a partner who would never leave me and the callouses hinted to his strength and love he had for me and our family.
“You’ve been a little mopey since you decided it was time to pass on your family journal.”
It was true. Once the twins had their eighteenth birthdays, I realized all at once how much time had really gone by since I began writing the events that outlined my life. It was time to pick an heir, which I had done.
I had chosen one of the girls to carry on our family tradition. I was sure any of them could have done it, but one girl, in particular, I felt, might need the daily reminder that her family was not too far away.
Satisfied that the decision I’d made was a good one, and happy in the knowledge that my children would make their own ways in the world, I presented Matt with a genuine smile.
“That’s more like it,” he said, pulling me into his arms.
As soon as his fingers touched my hair, I knew I would be rewarded with a kiss that only he could provide.
Later that day, we took the ferry to the mainland to get professional photos of our family. It seemed like the right thing to do since the Larochette family might not all be in one place for much longer.
The kids were thrilled that they were allowed to wear whatever they wished and the photos turned out really well. I will cherish them always and remember the fun times we had together.
By the time we got home, I was exhausted. When Marty didn’t show up for dinner, I went looking for her. After searching everywhere, I saw that a lantern was lit in the barn loft. I didn’t much relish the idea of mounting the ladder to get up there, but I was too curious to turn away.
“Oh, momma! You scared me!”
“Good heavens! What are you wearing?”
Grinning from ear to ear, she said, “One of grandpa’s old concert t-shirts! Isn’t it great? I love their music so much!”
Suppressing a groan, I said, “Where did you ever get it?”
“I found it in one of the dresser drawers in Monte Vista!”
“Well, it looks more like a napkin than a shirt.”
“It’s perfectly acceptable where I’m going,” she laughed.
“You act as if you can’t wait to leave,” I said, although I was smiling softly. Her enthusiasm was contagious.
“I’ll miss all of you, don’t worry.”
“I’m not. By the way, what are you doing up here? I came looking for you because you’re not usually one to skip dinner.”
“I was trying to find that old trunk. I thought I could use it to get there. I mean, there’s so much to bring!”
“Ah, well, Carrie already laid claim to that old thing, I’m afraid.”
“It figures. I can’t wait until I don’t have to share anything with anyone.” She said this, however, her eyes told a different story. All at once, she seemed perplexed.
“Marty, I thought you were excited. You’ve been talking about this for such a long time. What’s the matter? We can find something else to pack your things in. We got to Monte Vista just fine, didn’t we?”
“Oh, momma, it’s not that.”
“Then what is it?”
“I want to go places and do well. And I want you and daddy to be proud of me.”
My heart began pounding faster as it became all too real that my oldest daughter was leaving very soon. Pushing my emotions back as well as I could, I smiled tenderly at her, gently saying, “No matter what you do in life or where you go, you will always have a home here with parents and brothers and sisters that love you dearly.”
“I have such big dreams! Is it normal to feel so excited yet so apprehensive that you wanna throw up?”
As she spoke, her beautiful eyes lit up and her cheeks flushed prettily. I could see the innocent yearning in those eyes and I wanted to tell her she couldn’t go, that she had to stay on the farm where it was safe.
But she could never be happy doing that, and I knew it.
She would go on her adventures and she wouldn’t be as homesick as she imagined, I was quite certain of that. This child of mine would have such a breath taking life that it could only mean this life here would be far from her mind. She needed something from here that would remind her of her family and where she came from.
And that is why I chose her to be the heir and journal keeper.
Here are the specifics on the kids I was mentioning earlier:
Charles has his eye on a nice young lady named Zoé. They’ve known each other their entire lives, of course, but he hasn’t acted on anything yet. Whenever I try to encourage him to speak to her or make a move, Matthieu reminds me he has plenty of time.
Charles has decided to stay on the island and work our farm with his father. When Matt is ready to retire, Charles will take over.
Laurent is also staying on the island. He’s been working with Alice, who now runs her own little clinic which is centrally located in Winchester. Laurent has taken a room near the clinic and hopes to take over for Alice when she retires.
Elisabeth wants to go with her grandparents to China. They still travel quite a bit and have asked her to come along on this adventure. Lissie is beside herself with excitement and can’t wait to go. Afterwards, she would like to come back to Winchester. We’ll see if that changes, though, once she’s been in the world a bit longer.
It will be her first time away from Carrie.
Speaking of Caroline, she is on her way back to Monte Vista and my worst fear is that she will fall right into the arms of Luca Rossi. They’ve been separated by quite a bit of time, so who knows if he even still lives there?
All I can hope is that she has a better idea now about what a good relationship looks like.
Our youngest, Susan, is still a teen and I’ll keep her as long as I can. Did I just write that? Dear me.
She wants to go to Longview University but she doesn’t know exactly what she would like to study. She loves history and is very good at every subject she tackles. This girl could do anything and I think she has the motivation to do just that!
And what is our heir going to do? Well, that’s a surprise. I’ve promised her I won’t write it down just yet because she wants to put her plans as her first diary entry.
All I can say is, it will be quite a ride!
That night, as the sun went down, I sat on the bench by the pond and gazed at our house. From the open windows, I could hear the chatter of my family as they went about their routines.
Laughter, intermixed with shouting and guffaws put the biggest smile on my face. In a way, I was saying goodnight to you, Diary, but also to these sounds that would fade once the children went their own ways.
The smoke from the chimney stood out against the swirls of pink and orange in the sky. The voices inside, all unique in their own ways, were a music to my ear that I would always hear in my mind when looking at this place I loved.
Author’s Note: I’d like to say special thanks to Bee for so graciously making the family pose set for their portrait! It turned out beautifully, and I’m just so happy with it! Thank you, Bee! You can check out and download her poses here: Poses by Bee.
Another person I would like to thank is Em from The Book of Karri for making the beautiful “Accidental Therapy” shirts! I’m so geeked to have them in my game! Thank you, Em! (You can download yours by following the link on Em’s site here! She also wrote a very lovely review of Noble Doubt.)
And, to you, dear friends, I would like to say a huge thank you for taking this ride through Generation 3! I know the beginning was rough because Blue was less than likable, but I appreciate so much that you continued to read. ❤ You all are the best!
Also, thank you for voting! Here is how it stood:
Marty – 78
Lissie – 38
Carrie – 25
Susan – 63
Because so many really liked Susan, too, expect to see her in Generation 4 as well!
Generation 4 will begin on September 23rd because I need a week off in order to set up the new save and get things in order for Marty’s adventures!
Thank you again for your support and encouragement,