The Love-More Campaign

When faced with the pain of losing someone we love, we have two obvious choices: stop loving so much in the hopes that we won’t feel this pain ever again–or love more.

I choose the latter.

What’s pain? It’s only pain if I resist it. If I feel it–the tightness around my heart’s mind, that fierce need to squint, the sore throat where sobs are swallowed–then these sensations relax and release what is stuck in those spots to move through and out of me.

I can find so many tips online for playing a successful legacy, and most provide strategies for earning points.

My tip is this: Love more.

The legacy player will need to say good-bye to so many Sims throughout the challenge–and for those of us who love our Sims, that is the challenge.

Love more: so that the love for the founder flows into your love for the spare. Keep loving: so that when your heart breaks, love softens the resistance. The heart beats again. The tears clear from the eyes, and one sees this: The beautiful face of the next Sim claiming your heart.


At Cradle Rock, we’re starting our Love More Campaign with a wedding. Let’s hope it doesn’t end in a funeral!

Madrona took a vacation day from work. Poplar took a vacation day from school. Everybody had breakfast, and then, we celebrated all day long.


“That’s right. I won’t be in to the office today. My big sister is getting married.”

Linda felt joyful to see Aspen–gloomy Aspen–so unendingly happy.


“Your dad would be so proud of you!”

Madrona, in her simple plum dress, looked stunning. She’s the one woman in this family who really understands fashion.


“I’ve been studying ‘What Color is Your Wardrobe.'”

Poplar, like most Bough women, is a what-not, as in “What Not to Wear,” but she wears it so well, she sets trends.


“What do you mean? I understand fashion, too!”

Aspen–to bring me joy, I’m sure of it–chose her animal-hat everyday outfit for her wedding day. Thank you, Aspen! And Niko, doing his best James Bond imitation, wore a tux.


“You really outdid yourself with the penguin suit, Niko!”

“Mom, what advice would you give a couple of newlyweds?” Aspen asked.

“Don’t be afraid of barnyard noises!” Cupcake answered.


“TMI, Mom!”

On your wedding day, you get free passes for flirting. Flirt with your bride! No one will feel awkward!


“I’ve got the bunny slippers! You wear your chicken hat, and we won’t have any trouble making animal noises!”

The wiener head boys came, of course. It’s tough to be a man with the childish trait when dollhouse-smashing Poplar is around.

Wiener Head

“It’s just that it’s so… symbolic!”

We decided to get the ceremony over early–so there’d be all day to celebrate afterward. Aspen said she wanted to feel the morning sun on her as she stood under the arch.

Niko and Aspen

The warmth of her big penguin feels pretty nice, too.

All day, Aspen kept checking in with me to make sure I was doing ok. She’s like that–thinking about others, even me on this side of the screen, even on this day when she’s the one who has the rights to the center of attention.


“You doing ok, Cath?”

I was doing fine. All the guests came to watch the ceremony, and I was remembering all the birthday parties we’ve had with this same crew of friends, cousins, and neighbors. I’ve watched them all grow up.


Uh-oh. Lamont, Mailman No. 1, isn’t looking too happy there.

Lamont came. He looked a little tense, sad, and thoughtful. He kept flashing thought bubbles of baby bassinets while he scowled.


“I just want to be part of this family. I don’t care that Aspen chose him. I just want to be the next one standing up there.”

Willow seemed to read his thoughts.


Madrona was thinking, “Don’t tell me he’s standing behind me and glaring?”

Tyson, aka Blue Skullhead, looked dashing, in a Remington Steele kind of way. I can really see him and Poplar together, setting the world on fire as they jet-set around with the rich and famous.


“The eldest must always marry first. That clears the way for the next in line!”

Linda was really upset about the broken stereo. We forgot to fix it because we also had to fix the gaming rig, the kitchen stereo, two showers, the stove, and the fridge. Brought back memories of Cedar and Timothy’s wedding when Bob Pancake catered and broke everything he touched.


“Why did EVERYTHING have to break this morning? This place is a dump, and I don’t have time for this! I’m the mother of the bride!”

The entire ceremony took way too long for Poplar. She got a text notifying her of an upgrade to one of her games and made plans then and there to spend the celebration on the gaming rig.


“OMG! Battlefield is releasing a new edition!”

Niko opted for humorous vows: “What did the penguin say when he married the chicken? Cluck once for yes, twice for no.”

I got a little nervous when Aspen became Very Playful. We almost lost Acacia in that same courtyard during a birthday party when playfulness turned to hysteria.


“I can’t believe he just said that. Is he too perfect, or what? Can I keep him?”

But she held it together. Of course she did! She’s Aspen!


“Wear my ring.”

The confetti really expressed everything I was feeling right then–what a perfect celebration! What an amazing thing! It’s all happened so fast, and it’s all happened so well.


Cluck once!

Lamont had managed to grab a drink during the ceremony, and that put him in a much better mood. I think he winked at me.


“You really know how to throw a party, fleshy.”

“I’m glad you came,” Madrona said to him. “You see we do more than just play chess around here.”


I wonder if plum is his favorite color.


“You have matching hands.”


“You feel warm.”

I realized then that I may have completely misread Madrona yesterday. She’s not like me and Aspen–she doesn’t light up from within when she’s in love. She melts. Her face softens. This is what she looks like when she’s feeling it. She’s not bored–she’s sultry.


“I’m really glad you came.”

And while Madrona and Lamont spread a little more pink, Aspen checked in on me yet again.


“We did it, Cath! We got married! And Willow’s still here! You doing ok?”

Guests, family, friends, everyone congratulated Aspen.


“Next time, it might be you and your mailman under that arch, Sis.”

Cousin Kortney flirted with one of the wiener heads. It surprised both of them, but I’m not sure he realizes how lucky he is. Kortney contains a lifetime of awesomeness!


You don’t know how lucky you are, kid.

The celebration lasted all day, and there was plenty of time for everyone to do what they loved. Niko got to play with My Pretty Pony.


“Help! Don’t eat me! I’m the Pretty Pony!”

They shared the slice of cake. Right before I snapped this picture, Niko pulled out the noise maker and spun it around! This guy is really stealing my heart with his silly ways!


Aspen set down the plate so My Pretty Pony could enjoy a taste, and she and Niko enjoyed the magical invisible cake slice, like all couples do these days.

Poplar and Poppy, the two family meanies, bonded over their shared love of crushing dollhouses.


They’re puzzling over the quickest way to bring down the house–kick it or claw it?

Niko, relishing his role as groom, made sure that all the guests, even those on the rooftop, enjoyed themselves.

On the Rooftop

Niko just looks so great in a tux!

Lamont and Madrona shared a few serious conversations at their own corner of the table.


“It is part of the circle of life–marrying is. It’s moving from youth into adulthood, taking on a new family role, one that’s actually pretty sexy.”

Even at sunset, Aspen’s smile was fresh.


“I’ve really gotta pee, and this is the happiest I’ve ever been.”

The caterer and mixologist were amazing. The caterer served this fancy lobster dish I’d never even heard of before, and everybody loved it. The mixologist kept excellent drinks flowing, and they both did the dishes! I’m thinking of moving them into a house in town so they’ll be around to hire for future parties. Plus, look how beautiful they are!


Amazing Sims!

At the end of the day, Linda felt tired, happy, and proud. It was a wedding to remember–one for the books. Every bit as good as hers and I-dub’s, and Aspen and Niko were every bit as happy as they’d been oh-so many years before.


“We did good.”

While the guests were filing out, Lamont and Niko talked to Madrona about what good catches NPC mailmen make. I don’t need convincing myself, but I guess #teammailmen felt that Madrona still might need a bit of persuasion.

Niko and Lamont

“And we’re really good putting things into slots!”

Willow lived to see Aspen, her BFF and best niece forever, get married.


“Makes a life worthwhile to see those you love so very full of joy.”

In the late evening, while Willow was napping, we received Willow’s final notice: time to get her affairs in order. She’s sipping the champagne bubbles in her life bar now.

My first response was, “No!” and my heart tightened. I remembered the campaign. “Ok.” I said. My heart eased up a bit.

“Yes.” And my heart opened. Yes. That tight fist released its grasp into an open palm, and I tasted the sweet honey of clover on the first day of spring.

If a game can teach me how to love when I eventually lose all those I love, then it is more than a game. It’s a gift.