the nature of fear

august 2019
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Benjamin Andersen (32 years), Grace Andersen (29 years), Ainsley (3 years), Isla (2 years)

narrated by: Benjamin

After the miscarriage, Grace felt our family wasn’t complete, and so we have been trying for another baby for five months now. We’ve never had this issue, each of the girls came along when we tried, and we always assumed that Grace had her Mom’s fertility.

I’m not worried about it, but I am concerned that Grace is becoming concerned. I’m the one who originally wanted the third, but Isla has been such a handful, that I think this extra time will be a blessing in the long run.

When she was born, she rarely stopped crying, she even hated her swing. She’s the opposite of Ainsley’s sweet, shy nature, and while everyone tells me it will get easier as she gets older, I think I’m more afraid of this temperament on a teenager.

The girls do play well together though, and I’m glad we had them one year apart. I just hope that they aren’t mini versions of Grace her and sister Emma because I know I can’t handle an Emma variant as a daughter.

Grace’s salon business is doing well, and even recently got a large tax credit from the city. It’s an investment to be sure that the entrepreneurs of Boone County are here to stick around. I think Mayor Cole was onto something with that, because our bank account has never recovered from buying a house, having daughters, and opening Salon Sisters.

Grace split the $70,000 amongst Emma since they are co-owners, and kept some to put back into the business. But after that, we decided to fix up our backyard. In the past, it was only a tiny deck with stairs down to the lawn. We could fit a grill but nothing more, and Grace has always enjoyed her parents outdoor patio, so we built our own.

I felt building this now would help distract Grace from all the negative pregnancy tests she’s been filling the trash with. And since I’m confident that we will get pregnant again, I felt she would enjoy having the option to let the girls just play in the backyard, instead of walking down to the park all the time.

The girls love the sand, Isla hardly ever leaves it alone when we let her outside, and I imagine that Ainsley will really enjoy the swing next summer when she’s a bit older.

I suggested that we throw a party once the outdoor room was complete, and she took it from there. She invited her brother, Oliver and his girlfriend, Meg and then Emma and her husband, Chris. She’s been thrilled that her brother is done with college and back in the area, though he’s in South Port, so it’s still a commute, but nothing like Eastborough had been.

She dove into the plans for the party just in time for my long days at the station. It’s currently four days on, and three days off. It’s sort of like going away in the military when I head out, Grace usually gets emotional, concerned about my welfare, and lonely. It’s not the easiest job, but it is one I enjoy.

Generally it’s not dangerous, it’s usually me and Martin shooting pool, and trying out new recipes to cook.

Martin insists that he isn’t going to get married, he states that firefighters have a divorce rate three times higher than the normal populace. That may be true, but I know once a woman has his heart, that he would marry her in an instant.

Grace generally drives down to visit me with the girls if she doesn’t have a long day at the salon. She usually needs the break from Isla, and this is a nice distraction for her.

She throws tantrums constantly, and when she isn’t, she’s demanding attention, and when you don’t give it, she throws a tantrum. There’s no real win with her. I try to be firm and reprimand her, but she just pouts at me with these sad eyes that I lose my sternness.

Part of me realizes that we are making a monster, but when we do have another baby, maybe she’ll relish the roll of being a big sister, and shape up.

I just really hope that the next baby is not as high maintenance as Isla is.

Ainsley has always been a gem, and I get worried now and then that Isla will over shadow her with needing our attention constantly. They do remind me of the dynamics I imagine Grace and Emma were as children. Even now, Grace is less needy of her parents, and much more laid back when it comes to conflict.

As much as Grace hates it when we have a real fire emergency, they do make the days on go faster. Generally our days are filled with the literal cats in trees, or my stove is smoking, but really they spilled pizza toppings to the bottom of the stove. When a real fire call comes in, it’s a rush of adrenaline, and purpose, something I can’t see giving up.

I go in these people’s houses and see their furnishings and belongings, and feel this responsibility to try and save them, and then anything else I can of their homes. We haven’t had a fire death since I became a firefighter here, and I hope that I can keep that record.

I’ve had to go into the hospital only once, when I put out the Christmas tree fire, it was for lung damage from smoke inhalation, but the staff at Metro Hospital had me back on my feet in a few days. That was back when Grace was pregnant with Ainsley, and I don’t think she’s ever recovered fully from the realism that my job is dangerous.

After a fire, I always call her to let her know what the events of the evening were. If I don’t call, and she sees even a hint of a fire on the news, she gets panicked.

When I am home, I’m working on this article for the newspaper. Myself and Tim Grimsley were contacted by staff writer Jared Schehl of The Chronicle to write about some of our experiences in our chosen fields. Mostly just fluffy, human interest stories, but I felt obligated to accept the request.

While I plug away at that, Grace tends to read whatever parent book or salon stylist book she can get her hands on. Currently she’s reading a book about Secondary Infertility. I keep telling her that she’s not infertile, but she keeps reading anyway, until she gets tired or depressed over the content and goes up to bed.

I’m looking forward to the positive pregnancy test, though I’m certain that will open a new can of worries for her, of miscarrying again or premature birth, or mutated hands. It was not as difficult with the girls as this third attempt is proving to be.

Emma doesn’t make anything easier ether, even though she’s twenty-eight now, she’s still mostly the same Emma. I wouldn’t know if she’s cheating on my childhood buddy, Chris, but I know she’s just as opinionated as she ever was. She had the nerve to tell Grace that we were spoiling Isla and making a monster.

While I may have my own worries over doing such a thing, it’s not really something ether me nor Grace want to hear from Emma. She’s not someone we would take parental advice from, the fact that Chaz is such a good kid, we don’t think highlights Emma as a parent, more than the fact that he is just a good kid on his own right. Chris has always been a good guy too, sometimes appearing a bit rough on the edges, but he’s never been as screwed up as Emma.

Grace almost wanted to uninvite her from the party, but I was able to calm her down, and talk sense back into her. Besides, Grace could easily ignore Emma at the party if she wanted, there were going to be plenty of people to distract herself with.

When the time came, she had pretty much forgotten what Emma had said anyway, and was focused entirely on Oliver and his girlfriend. Their parents met her at his college graduation, but none of us have.

Grace loved Meg, they seemed to click instantly, and spent a lot of time out in the backyard keeping an eye on the kids. When Oliver said she was into horror and writing screenplays, I didn’t really see what Grace and her would have in common, but apparently they were able to find something, they barely stopped talking.

The kids loved that Oliver was back in town, he was away at Eastborough when Ainsley and Isla were born, so they’ve never gotten to be close with him. Even shy, Ainsley warmed right up to him, and had this gleam to her eye whenever he held her.

Chaz monopolized Oliver whenever the girls weren’t, showing him how he just learned to do a cartwheel. Chaz was hopeful that Oliver would be his teacher in the fall when he started school, but he’s doing the mid-grade students, not the pre-k. He assured Chaz though that Ms. Miriam was a great teacher and that they could have lunch together some days too.

Meg did really great with the kids too, she said it was from having a little sister, Lizzie back at home. She told Ainsley all about Lizzie, and her birthday next month, and how Chaz and Lizzie would be in the same class. She even hinted that maybe Lizzie and Ainsley would be friends one day, and I know Ainsley would like the idea of a built in friend at school. She got anxious about having a party at the house, I can only imagine how traumatized she will be next year at school.

Emma and Meg didn’t really hit it off, but I’m not surprised. When does anyone ever like Emma on the first meeting, besides Chris. He met her at my apartment when Grace had her as a tag along, and he seemed to enjoy her company.

If Oliver decided to pop the question one day though, I’m sure that the two girls would be able to find some common ground. Overall though, Meg fit in well to the get together. While they all have younger siblings, it’s this trio that we spend the most time with. Mostly it feels like Julius and all the rest are their little cousins more than siblings.

Grace and I decided to have a joke and prepare fried chicken for the late lunch, knowing that Chris loves it, and Emma can’t stand it. I always jest that if their biggest issue in married life is fried chicken, then they have it easy. Even me and Grace have our problems now and again.

But in the end, I burned the chicken, and it started pouring rain.

Everyone pretty much left after that, they all live in South Port, and decided to get pizza on the way back home. We would have gone but the girls were napping, and neither of us felt like the drive.

It cleared later that evening though, and we put the girls to bed with the idea to eat our burnt chicken outdoors. They’d had a busy day with all the family in town, and playing with their cousin Chaz too, that they went right to sleep.

It was a gorgeous night, fall is just around the corner, so the heat of the day is wearing off, and the skies clear.

I liked sitting outside with Grace, eating our burnt chicken was better then going into the city for over-priced pizza. Grace’s mood seemed improved as well with the party being mostly a success.

She’d hinted earlier that tonight was a good night to try again, which has begun to make her anxious and tense. I decided to give her a little wine, and sweep her off her feet with my rusty dance skills.

We get into our routines with the girls, that it seems like a lifetime since we did something nice like this for ourselves. I was telling her we should do this more often, when my cell rang. I have to check who is calling, it’s part of my job, and when I see that it’s Martin from the station, then I have to answer. It could be an emergency that they are calling me in for.

My cell phone ringing has the ability to completely ruin the moment though. As soon as I found out it wasn’t an emergency, and Martin was just calling to chat, Grace was back to being tense, and walked off to go inside.

She didn’t even wait to see if I was going to hang up with Martin, which I did, she was just bent out of shape that he had called at all. It’s not like he knew we were having a special moment, and wanted to ruin it. He doesn’t get that because he’s not dating anyone.

I found Grace upstairs, getting into bed, that upset that she was going to just throw away this opportunity to try for this month.

I started explaining about Martin, but I could tell instantly that there was more then just Martin’s inopportune call that had her upset.

She started talking in a squeaky voice, the way she does when she doesn’t want to cry, about how there was no point in trying tonight anyway, and Martin just saved her another month of being hopeful for no reason. Now she could just go to bed, and not worry if they had made a baby or not.

I climbed into bed next to her, and tried to console her. There really aren’t words though, as much as I know we will get pregnant someday, she seems to feel the exact opposite. Telling her that others have tried for years, never makes her feel better.

In the end, I was able to calm her down enough to try and talk through it.

When I finally admitted that I didn’t really know if we would have another, but that I felt one-hundred percent certain we would, she seemed to relax some. Of course I don’t have a crystal ball to tell me the future, but we’ve had two amazing girls, and I can’t imagine why we couldn’t have a third.

She got me to admit that if we couldn’t have a third, that I would be disappointed too, and that seemed to make her feel better.

She hates when I act all confident about the future, with my job, with a third baby, and anything else that comes along the way. She just wants to know that I know, that I don’t know it all. I admitted that, but thought she was being a little silly with it, because of course I don’t think I know it all.

After a long conversation though, I was able to convince her that we shouldn’t throw this month away, and should try again for a baby. Maybe this would be our month, and if we didn’t try, then we’d miss out on meeting this possible baby. That was enough to get her to agree, but I didn’t see much for hope in her eyes.

Notes: These two TFB all the time, every household they visited, they’d sneak off to TFB, and so I was really surprised that they were not pregnant when I started their household, and then Grace continued to roll extremely high. I believe she needed a 70 or lower, and all her rolls were in the 90s. Her aspiration was low this round, but most of her wants I couldn’t fulfill, having a baby being one of them, and Ainsley growing up well. Things of that nature. So I put it to Benjamin to distract her, and try to make her happy in other ways.

Firefighting is dangerous. Benjamin has really lucked out with his rolls, he could realistically die young from the ros I roll before I play his household. I hope he doesn’t though. I have the ros for the police and fire, and am actually making one right now for my doctors. In the past I just used what was happening for their patients, but that only gives me use of like two rooms in my hospital, and I want to use more.

I had a bit of experience with the personal lives of firefighters, could have been a Grace myself, but I knew I was not cut out for the job. In the end the guy became a firefighter, and then his wife made him quit because of her worries. His own Dad a firefighter got divorced as well. So I do want to include some of those trials with Grace and Benjamin.

Grace had the want for a party, and Ainsley had the fear, so when I fulfilled the one (to get her aspiration higher), poor Ainsley plummeted. Her and Isla are complete opposites in this area of personality.

Thanks for reading!


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8 thoughts on “the nature of fear

  1. I like how you include the dynamics of the dangerous job into their marriage. You’ll have to share how you do ROS for your firefighters and police officers, I’ve been wanting to do something like that.

    Apple Valley

    1. Thanks Starr! I will finish the doctor one up and then do a post for it all together. I will aim to have it up before November! I’m really good at doing Benjamin’s roll, but sorta iffy with Tim and Charlie (police) because they have teens that take over their updates. I did roll Charlies and he was fine, and I didn’t want to do a story with him, so I left it all out.

  2. I’m with Starr, I really love the way you write Benjamin and Grace and how his job affects their life together. I can imagine she’s just hoping against hope that the day never comes when he doesn’t come home from work. I’m hoping with her, because those two little girls need their daddy too! Those action shots in the fire are really awesome too, by the way.

    I was sure Grace would be pregnant by the end of this! She’s only 29, so it really must just be a bit of bad luck. I have my fingers crossed they have some good luck soon. I think Benjamin would be a great dad to a boy as well, much as he clearly loves Ainsley and Isla.

    And my Lord, Isla is a little handful, isn’t she? Definite parallels to Emma and Grace there – 1 year apart, one fairly sweet and one quite abrasive. I’ll be curious to see how that pans out for them as they grow up. Hopefully Isla can at least stay out of prison! 😉

    Your rolls sound interesting. What kind of rolls are you planning on for your doctors?

    1. Thanks Carla! As I wrote to Starr, I’ll put together an update on the service career ros’ and aim to have it up before November. I have the odds rather low for death, just because I don’t see my city as being uber large. It’s no Chicago! And it’s not cinema (where someone ALWAYS dies!) I can’t even watch that junk. Thanks on the action shots, I always roll in advance if he gets injuries/death, because then I know when I place that fire down, that he leaves, whew! I roll for casualties too for the people that live in the house, so even if they die on their own stupidity, they don’t die story wise and I don’t save their death.

      Isla is WAY grouchy! She’s full outgoing or nearly, and I think that has to do with it. I think the outgoing kids are socially needy, and just all around a pain in the tush. Ainsley is shy, so she’s happy to just play on her own.

  3. Just like Starr and Carla I love how you write in Benjamin’s job, and the danger that comes with it. It’s nice to see that Grace and Benjamin make it work,even though it’s not always that easy on either of them.
    Can you tell more about the ros you roll for firefighters and doctors, it sounds intersting?

    I’ve seen your pictures of their new deck in N99, but haven’t gotten around to tell you how much I like it. It looks so nice and inviting, and those colours are great, especially in the summertime. I’m sure the kids will love the swinset when they are older.

    I really was expecting the announcement that Grace was pregnant, I’m sure though they’ll have another baby one day! Grace and Benjamin are both young, and there still is time. Maybe it’s even for the best that it’s not now, with Isla being as demanding as she is at the moment.

    1. Thanks Tanja! I think that Grace and Benjamin are one of my strong couples, and able to handle this type of career. I’m going to put an update on the service ros’ this month, that’s my goal. Thanks on the deck, it did turn out nicely. I didn’t really have any ideas, and it was just a staircase really in the back, so I’m happy how it all came together.

      Isla is demanding, and I think a little breathing room between them all is good! Ainsley will be 4 in June, and able to be a helper herself.

  4. My family has always married boring, uninteresting people… so I don’t know the trials the wives of cops and firemen go through! Well, aside from my workplace and the most common difficulty with cops seems to be infidelity! I was quite shocked at that one. Everyone is screwing everyone in the building where I work, lol.

    I really do like that look into the lives and difficulties. As much as they love each other, having that kind of career can really put a strain on things. I’m glad they’re able to work through it–they make such a good couple. I’m really hoping they get the that third baby they’re trying for…

    Man, Isla is a little terror, isn’t she?! Yikes!

    1. haha that is no good! I’m not surprised that everyone is fooling around in a police situation though, seems to be a lot of infidelity in those two career fields. Know of a few cheating firemen. Makes me think of TS3 with the firemen using it as a hit on, “hey I’m a fireman, check these muscles.”

      Isla is a terror, I think that it’s the outgoing in her that makes her that way, she is constantly needing attention, always on the look out for social fulfillment. Ainsley is *very* shy, so she’s happy to be quiet in a corner doing her own thing.

      Thanks for commenting Mao!

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