Fourteen years later
"Duncan, come on!" I called from the kitchen. "You're getting late for work!"
Callie and Evan came running down the stairs, into the kitchen. "Mummy, I want a banana." Evan tugged at my sleeve.
"Honey, you know there's many in the fridge. Go check." I told him, and watched as his pudgy little two-year-old legs took him towards what he wanted.
Callie was pouting again. Something was wrong. She either lost a toy, or she doesn't want to eat. Two main reasons she always looks at me like that. "What's wrong?" I sighed, kneeling down in front of her.
"I lost Elsa!" she whined.
I squeezed my eyes shut. "Did you check under your bed?"
"No, there's a monster under my bed!" Callie stomped her feet.
Duncan finally came down. As usual, his bright grey eyes were shining, and his blonde hair was neatly combed up. I smiled at him. "Good morning." I grabbed his breakfast from the kitchen counter and handed it over to him.
He gave me a one-armed hug, "'Morning to you too, Julie." He started eating as quick as he could.
"Mummy!" Callie screeched. I winced.
"What is it?"
"Elsa!" she cried, stomping her feet again.
"Hey, hey, Callie, you're not going to cry. Not in front of Daddy you won't!" he got up from his chair and scooped her up. "Let's go look under your bed. Your toys are always under there."
"Duncan, it's fine, I'll look for it, you eat." I told him. He shook his head.
"She's going to make a tantrum if I don't." he laughed. Then he turned to Callie. "Let's go."
I watched as he walked up the stairs, to Callie's room. The five-year-old child made a fuss over anything and everything she lost. Unlike Evan, that wonderful little kid, who was quiet about everything, was patient. I looked at him, and he was now eating his banana. Smiling, I started loading the dishwasher.
Evan and I jumped when we heard a scream from upstairs. Callie was probably frightened by the "monster under her bead".
Flopping onto the couch, I rubbed my forehead. Callie was at school. Evan with Mum in the basement. I switched on the TV and watched the forecast, but my mind was elsewhere. Grams had passed away just two months ago. She was an old woman, and lived a good life, she had said. Her death was in her sleep too, so that assured me that she was fine where ever she was.
I looked out the window to the house neighboring us. Raven and Grace lived there with Carter and his family. Grace had promised that the twins would never do anything horrible, and that his children and wife were safe in their hands. Raven had to go to therapy many times a week. Grace and Carter usually picked her up and dropped her off, but I could usually see my stepsister curled up beside her window if I looked from just the right angle.
My cousins still lived in Quebec, but they called a lot. Especially Izzy. She was in university, studying medicine, and was currently in her fourth year. Avery had done law, and every other day was fighting a case. Tim had gone all the way to Australia, started a family, and had his own bookshop.
Overall, everything was good. No harm, no tension. Now that Carter lived next door, I could easily contact him if I needed help. And Mum was still here too!
Maryam, Imogen and Samantha occasionally came along to check in on how I'm doing. Imogen and Samantha have started their own trading business across the country and Maryam's doing science.
I looked back at the TV. The channel had switched by itself - the usual seizures of the TV, and was now showing a horse riding competition. The young man who had just finished his round, dismounted, and the next rider, Ella Rowe - yes, Ella - started doing her jumps. She made it look so easy, and there was zero flaw in her movements.
I smiled, and returned to my thoughts.
As for my dreams... I had wanted to become a psychologist, yes, and I got my degree. Both Bachelors, and Masters, and I was working as one too, four years ago. But when Callie and Evan came along, I decided that it would be best for me to stay at home, and anyway, I loved being at home. And so I resigned.
Lost in my thoughts, I suddenly snapped out of it when Evan came hobbling up to me. "Mummy, you look sad."
"I'm not sad, sweety."
"You look sad." he said, as he cuddled into my arms. His red hair got in to my face and patted it down. I've always wondered where he got his red hair from. No one in my family had red hair, but Duncan said his grandfather did. But his green eyes are mine. Exactly mine.
"I'm not. I'm happy. Where's Nana?" I asked.
"She's sleeping." he said, cuddling even more.
"Oh." Of course she was sleeping. Most of the time, she was quite tired. She was fifty-six now. We'd celebrated her birthday just a couple of days ago.
Alfie trotted into the living room.
"Alfa!" Evan exclaimed, squirming away from me and towards the old dog. I knew that he was reaching his end stage as well. Everyone was, it seemed.
Alfie had grown into a pretty big dog. He was taller than Evan, but I honestly didn't mind him going near the kids. He loved them. And anyways, he'd been trained well enough. He licked Evan's cheek, and my boy giggled, kissing Alfie's nose in return. "Evan!" I sighed. Evan froze, amd slowly, pitifully turned around to look at me.
"I'm sorry Mummy, I forgot." he said quietly, holding his hands around his belly. Alfie let out a low, sad, growl and I stifled a smile. Evan's eyes started tearing up. "I'm sorry, Mummy, I made you angry."
My face broke into a wide grin. "It's alright, my darling, just don't do it again. You could get Alfie's germs." I held out my hands for him to cuddle up in again. He trudged towards me, Alfie trotting behind him.
Both my boys sat on oppoite sides of me, and I hughed them both.
Everything always turns out to be for the best, all your hardships, all your troubles. I can say this from experience. People will come, and people will go. Things will happen. Just keep your head held high and follow your heart and mind. You have no idea where it will take you.