The Center

In each generation, one Sim fills the center: the Sim who steps in to clean dishes, fix broken appliances, give hugs, help with homework, play chess, and brighten days. This center Sim holds the family together and provides me with an emotional reference point; I can check in with her to get an emotional reading for the whole family, and I can rely on her to stabilize the shifts in feeling that are bound to happen when five or more Sims live together.

Salix

Salix was the heart of the family.

In generation six, Salix was that Sim for me. She was the only one able to maintain a full relationship bar with the two mean Sims in the family, her aunt Poplar and her daughter Tamarind, while the other family members have had to work hard to keep their relationship bars with these two Sims half-full. Salix simply understood the traits of others, and she never took what they said personally. She was happy to let them blow off steam.

She had a cup of youth potion in her inventory during her adult and elder birthdays, and it was there during the span when her life bar was sparkling, which lasted nearly three weeks, Sim-time. And she chose not to drink it.

Salix

Her spirit was so bright the room was flooded with purple.

Salix accepted the natural flow of life. I can accept this flow in my own life–in fact, this acceptance is so much a part of who I am and my personal approach to living. Yet it’s hard for me to accept it when I see this flow move through the lives, digital and physical, of those I love, and it is hard when that flow carries off someone I love.

Because Sugar and onezero know that it hurts to be left behind, both chose not to witness Salix’s meeting with Grim. It’s part of their pact, I understand. They’ve seen many of Grim’s visits, and they know they’ll see many more. Sugar reminds us of the words she spoke after Aspen left: “There is something of those we love that never leaves.”

Sugar

“Yes, I know what’s going on. I don’t need to be there.”

Salix’s children and Miracle’s spirit gathered to say goodbye with their tears. For those who accept this natural flow of time through their form, saying goodbye marks a milestone with reverence.

Salix

This will change them.

Salix’s grandchildren, who had just that day completed their fourth childhood aspiration, were enjoying their first sleep as children when Grim came. No more Zzzz-juice for them!

Alder

He looks sad in his sleep… I wonder if he know’s what’s happening in the next room.

And, because they’ve earned their A’s in school and have several days of vacation stored up, no more school, either. Their final days of childhood will be spent in autonomous play.

Alder

Alder is serious even when trolling teh forums.

These gen 8 kids are smart. The super-skill strategy that JordanNicoleJJ and I discovered only half-way worked. I was not able to get the kids to max physical while playing Arithmetic Attack, perhaps because they already had a few physical points before they reached level 9 mental, but I was able to get them to max creativity while playing Keyboard Commander. We were still able to complete all the childhood aspirations with days to spare, though, thanks to their quick skilling.

Redbud

The resident bookworm

And so now, we enter into a phase where everyone can just be for a while. We don’t have any big looming goals at hand, except for Sugar’s incessant completion of aspirations, which is as natural for her as breathing. She’s working on Master Chef now, so we’ll be throwing a dinner party soon, I’m sure.

And the rest of us will adjust to this new shape of a family. We will see who will slide into the center. I will wait to feel in which Sim my own heart beats–though I seem to be feeling it beat in Redbud.

I won’t make efforts to lessen the time of grieving for Salix’s children, unless they roll whims to give themselves pep talks or meditate. I know that grief takes its own time, and when we try to shortcut it, our minds fall out of sync with our hearts. I’ll trust these Sims to know what they need.

And now we move into a new time.

Sugar

Always plenty of love.

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