Everyday was a bright and glorious morning.
The power of emotion could act upon one’s body as a vengeful enemy or a trusted ally. In all that had occurred, it was a lesson that had smacked against my forehead in an effort to show me the underlying truth. For I had no real comprehension the weight of distress I had been carrying on my shoulders and in my heart, till the knowledge of those results had set me free. I woke to the sunshine each and every morning and once the fog of sleep cleared my mind, the memory would slowly creep in providing me with great satisfaction. I couldn’t help but smile, lift my face to the sky and give thanks where thanks was due.
Infinite possibilities danced with hope inside my head, flirting with dreams while making plans. Sounds crazy right? Well it made sense to me when I thought it up. So just roll with it. All it really meant was I am closer to having the life I wanted than a week ago, and I had complete faith that every day I would edge my chances closer and closer to my end goal.
Now, that doesn’t mean things were smooth and easy between the two of us, or the three of us as a family. We had some definite different ideas about the way things needed to work. The first was when I heard Sun respond to Jade’s cries by yelling “Mama Sun is coming.” I stopped dead in my tracks and turned to Sun, who was warming up a bottle for Jade.
“Mama Sun? Since when are you her mother?”
“I don’t know Jin. Maybe since the day she was BORN?!”
“Jade had a mother,” I replied, then winced as Jade’s cries escalated.
Sun gave me a look of exasperation then ran up the stairs, eventually bringing Jade down on her hip. She placed Jade in front of the toy box, then turned to me.
“I don’t want to fight Jin. I had a mother too you know. Her name was Sun and my adopted family never took that away from me. But they were my mothers’, just as my mother would have been to me, had she not died. To me they were Mama Margot, Mama Manon and my mother was Sun. It worked for me and I’m not changing how I do it with Jade now.”
I thought about it for a minute. It really did sound reasonable to me so I said “Okay. Just as long as we always tell her about her real mother.”
Without looking away from me, Sun said “Jade, where is mommy?” Jade stopped what she was doing, pointed to a picture on the shelf replying “Mommy.” Sun smiled at me, clearly saying “so there” with her eyes and the expression on her face. I conceded, with a mental count of “Point to Sun”, for winning this round.
Together we fell into a routine, splitting the duties without even having a conversation. Sun took care of Jade, the cooking, canning and general duties around the house. However, Jade really did take up most of her time, as Sun felt it was important to start her education early.
With all my handiness experience, I took care of all the fixing, some cleaning, issues around the island and helped out with Jade and Sophie. The latter caused us quite a few disagreements. I don’t know what had happened to change Sophie’s behaviour. Whether it was the transition, or the conditions she had been living under. I did not want to think it corresponded with my leaving her for so long. But she was definitely more naughty than she had been before, especially in the destruction department.
When she started acting up, both Sun and I would respond, however Sun always wanted to take a more relaxed approach, where as I wanted to re-train Sophie to be the dog she once was.
Sophie was my dog, regardless of the fact I left for so long.
I disciplined her as she always had been and soon things began to get a bit better, although I still kept a close eye on her. Point to me, for winning this round
She was easily redirected to toys outside on the beach, whenever I thought she was about to do some destruction and watching her with them, you would never know she had transitioned to an elder dog. But most of the time I found her chasing her tail, which was something I hadn’t seen her do since she was a puppy. It was incredibly funny to watch with her diminished flexibility!
So on one of those beautiful mornings, I walked out of the barn house to do my least favourite thing…..get the mail and pay bills. I was standing there looking around the island, when I realized the windmill was now on a slight tilt. As I inspected the base, it became very clear the unit was beginning to sink on the one corner. I was already very disappointed in the completed work of the windmill company, so I called in another company to repair the base.
“Do you get snow here,” he had asked. “Do the temps drop down below zero?”
I said yes on both accounts and he began to give me his opinion on how wrong the construction had been. No news to me of course, cause my mill was SINKING! They shored it up with a concrete base and retaining wall system that went down eight feet into the ground. However, THEN, I was advised my home was not safe either. It has been constructed too close to the edge. Had the sides begun to erode away at all? Well yes they had some. And so, I paid through the nose for a concrete retaining wall to support the side of the island as well.
BUT, before that began Sun and I had a discussion about the garden house still being too small for all the plants we needed. Which meant construction of the garden house happened before the retaining wall. Needless to say, it had been a very expensive month.
We did however gain a very big surprise. During construction of the retaining wall, the workers discovered the barn had a basement level! I had no idea my father had even done that before I joined him in the construction so many years ago. All it needed was a way to get into it, which the constructionworkers did, by adding an exterior staircase. When I was finally able to get down there, my eyes filled with tears, for my father had saved all my favourite things storing them on shelves for me. I was so touched when I first saw that and it helped to lessen my anger towards my father, just a little.
(note to reader-I forgot there was a basement under the barn! I built this so long ago, but I did discover it during construction on the retaining wall.)
Sun was incredibly excited when I took her down to show her.
“There it is!” she exclaimed. “I looked, but couldn’t understand what your parents had done with the wine maker we gave them from France. You know what this means?” I shook my head at her. “I can start making my wine! We still have all those seeds we brought back right?”
She didn’t stop to see my answer and I was glad because my heart had just dropped into stomach. I hadn’t planned on ever telling Sun about my little issues with juice. I had done well since my last binge, but I had been busy too and surrounded by children. They alone were a good deterrent. I wasn’t thrilled about having juice on the island, at all. I did help her though, plant a whole section of grapes in the garden house watching her excitement grow with each seed we planted.
Summer was coming to an end and Sun was busily canning all the fruit and veggies she could. She had tried a new recipe with this last batch and she couldn’t wait to try it.
I was busy fixing broken appliances and plumbing which I was not impressed about, considering it was all NEW! Sheesh.
Sophie had been a big help in telling me when things were not right.
Sun and I had gotten a bit closer in the bedroom. She was still insistent on keeping things “suitable” for our situation, but at least I had breached the invisible line down the middle of the bed. I was at the cuddling stage and some kissing, so you can see why I was a bit confused a few days later when she began to throw up.
Then I began to worry and think back to my mother. Had the same mystery illness my mother suffered with, now claimed Sun as well. She ate very little for two days and the illness finally left her. She had no idea what had brought it on and neither did I. Until a day later, when I also began to throw up.
I was sick for two days and while I laid in bed, I traced back the days before I became sick; all the things I had done and all the things I had eaten. Jade and I pretty well ate all the same things and I couldn’t think of anything I had done around the island that could have made me sick. But I had to, in hopes of preventing Jade from befalling the same illness. On the third day, I woke feeling much better and laid in bed trying to determine what I would like to try eating for breakfast and then it hit me. The one thing I had eaten, but forgot about.
The morning I had gotten sick, I ate a piece of homemade bread with the last batch of Sun’s jam, but when I asked Sun about it, she said she hadn’t eaten any of the jam. Which left the bread. We threw out the rest of the loaf and I checked the baking oven. Sure enough, it wasn’t heating to temp, so in the end we figured we had a good case of food poisoning between the two of us. Sun used this experience as just one more scenario as to why it was too dangerous to bring another child onto the island. I groaned because I knew I would be back to the invisible divider line down the middle of the bed. Nothing like being booted back to the beginning to start a challenge all over again……..
Autumn rolled in and all the trees turned to red, orange and gold, dropping their leaves slowing to the ground.
The temperatures remained warm, but we knew it was only a matter of time before the rains began. We tried to spend as much time outside as we could.
One morning we discovered an unexpected visitor, proudly perched in such a way that Sun screamed when she walked into the kitchen.
The ghost of Aria was the last thing I wanted to see and she was just as miserable dead as she was alive, which was evident by her glowing red aura. She began to make Sophie’s life just miserable, taking over her dog bed and forcing Sophie to sleep in shifts anywhere she could find a spot. I was not happy and Sun was completely freaked out, afraid for Jade as she had heard what cats could do to small children. So we never left Jade alone, which worked well anyway because Sun pointed out that we possibly had a serious problem with Jade. She was way too attached to her doll Wiggles, choosing to play with him instead of anything else.
Sun tried introducing her to sand:
On the flip side, Jade could be very forceful when she did want to play on her own.
One quiet evening the sky was eerily still and the waves lapping at the edges of the island had even slowed to a silent movement. We knew then we had run out of time. Winter would soon be upon us and we scrambled the next few days to harvest all the produce from the garden house as well as buckle down for the coming snow.
“Are you sure Jin? Because I never want to go through what I went through last winter. Promise me we will be warm!”
“Sun, I don’t know what else I can do. I’ve checked all the windows for leaks, given the fireplace a once over. You’ve taken care of the food storage and this year there is indoor plumbing. Thanks to your great sewing skills, Jade has plenty of warm clothing. I don’t see what else we should be doing.”
“We will be okay……