5.41: Not Enough

Jesus, it’s been years since I’ve written anything like this. I’m not even sure where to start… This is almost embarrassing.

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Y’know, I tried for a long time to keep up with it after I left… I’m not even sure if I can explain why I stopped. I just started writing less and less until eventually, I put down the pen for the last time.

By the time my grandfather died, I’d given it up completely. And there was something about it that just sort of hit me. He was the one who’d started the tradition of keeping a journal in our family. He was the one I’d looked up to so much as a kid. I think I felt like I was letting him down or something by not writing anymore. It had become such an important tradition in my family… One I tossed aside after I left. The least I could do was help make sure it continued on.

It was more than thirty years ago now, but I’ll never forget it. It was kind of an impulsive decision — I stopped at the store on my way to the airport and bought a journal. I ended up giving it to my niece right after the funeral, after we’d said our last goodbyes to grandpa. I just knew if I could count on anyone to keep the writing going, it would be Jocelyne. And thankfully, it looks like I made the right choice.

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Just the other day while I was visiting, I overheard her talking with Colette about having a hard time with something, and she joked about what a “great therapist” her journal has been. And I guess that’s what got me thinking.

I’ve had so much weighing on my mind ever since Madalyn and I came here… Why not try getting some of it down on paper, like I used to?

God, this feels so damn awkward. But I should at least give it a try, shouldn’t I?

I suppose the best way to describe things right now is that I just feel… Lost. Being back home after all these years is amazing. And I know I made the right choice. But my God, is it hard.

Back when I was a kid, I knew leaving Windenburg was what was best for me. I needed to get away from it all, have a fresh start, make something of myself… Know what I mean? But all those years away from my parents and siblings… It changed everything. I don’t think it was something I’d really prepared myself for.

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I almost feel like a stranger now. An outsider. I used to come back home three or four times a year when I first left. But for a while now, I’ve been lucky enough if I made it once or twice. You get so wrapped up in your own life with your own family… It’s hard to keep up all that back and forth. That’s such a shitty excuse, I know. But it’s the only one I’ve got, really.

Josh and his family did a great job filling the role, for a while. I really loved them, and I know they loved me too. It’s just hard not to feel guilty now, looking back. Mama was so scared when I left — she felt so sure I was trying to replace my family or something. And… in a horrible way, I almost did.

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I’ve been trying so hard to connect with everyone again, now that I’m back. But it’s not easy. I feel like I’ve lost so much being gone for so long… And I don’t think I can ever get it back again.

I think the first time it really hit me that I needed to come home was back when we lost Lucas. It was such a shock to all of us… It was devastating. And from the moment I got that phone call, all I could think of was all the things I could have done differently over the years. How much closer I could have been with him. How I could have called more or visited more… But I didn’t. And then suddenly it was too late.

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When Jocelyne left and went back home, it was so damn hard. Having her back in Willow Creek with us made me feel connected to my family for the first time in years. I was so close with her and the girls. It felt like I finally had a piece of home there with me. It was so selfish, but I really didn’t want her to go.

And part of me was so jealous that I couldn’t leave too. It still makes me sick knowing I couldn’t come home and be there for Tobi after it happened. I mean Christ, can you even imagine what losing your child would be like? I don’t even want to think about how I’d feel if anything happened to one of my kids. I was only back in Windenburg for about two weeks after the fire, and even after all these years, I will never forget the look on my brother’s face when I saw him. He wasn’t the same anymore. And maybe if I’d been able to stay, I could have done more to help get the old Tobi back.

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But it was impossible. My kids were still in school, Madalyn and I were both still working… I had a life in Willow Creek. I couldn’t just drop everything and leave. I didn’t have a choice. I had to stay.

When Jonas got sick last year, that was finally my wakeup call. My kids were all grown and had families of their own. Madalyn had just retired… And that was when I realized that it was time for me to do the same. I needed to retire, sell the house, and head back to Germany.

I had an amazing life in Willow Creek, and I’ll never regret leaving Windenburg all those years ago. But I think part of me will always wish I’d come home sooner.

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I feel like I wasted so much time. I lost so many years, became so disconnected… I’ll never forget sitting in that hospital room next to Jonas – my true Papa… The man who’d loved me like his own son for nearly my entire life – and I still felt like a stranger there. Like I was some outsider sitting in on another family’s moment of grief. I’d allowed myself to become so disconnected from everyone for so long. I should have done so much more. I should have tried harder to not let myself drift away…

And now it’s too late. I wasted so many years distancing myself from everyone, and I can’t do anything to take it back.

Madalyn’s been amazing through this whole thing, of course. She never once questioned me when I told her I wanted to come back home. And now that we’re here, she keeps telling me I have to stop worrying about the past. “You’re here now,” she keeps telling me. “That’s what matters.” And I’m trying so hard to hold on to that.

I’m doing everything I can to be there for Mama.

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I’m trying to connect with Clara and Tobi again.

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I’m working on getting to know all the kids a little better.

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I’m trying so hard to feel like I’m a part of the family again.

But some days, it just doesn’t feel like it’s enough.

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55 thoughts on “5.41: Not Enough

  1. Stefan! I wasn’t expecting that face! So good to see him again ❤ (Also, loved the throwback to my teenage Joce)

    I feel bad for Stefan. Even when you make a decision that's best for you (and I believe he did make the right decision at the time), it's still tough. I can also relate to being far away from your family and feeling like you missed out. My parents left their native country before I was born (under entirely different circumstances, though) and it's hard being so far away from your family. I love that Stefan has a happy marriage, though, and is now able to reconnect with his brother and sister and their children. Don't feel sad, Stefan, life can't always work out the way you want it to, but that doesn't mean it's a bad life ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks sonnie! I loved writing Stefan again. I missed him so much!

      I appreciate that you’re able to understand his feelings right now too. You’re advice to him was great 🙂 He and Joce are both regretting the past quite a bit right now… but I think they need to focus on the present and what they have now 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    2. I know too what it’s like to be away from your family, in a way. I moved away from My birth town to live with My former boyfriend. The number of times i saw My family in that year can be counted on One hand! I missed them terribly. I’m really glad that Stefan case home Again.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I love Stefan, but he hasn’t really changed much, has he? He’s gotten older and wiser ofc, but he’s still whiny and jealous. On My reread of your story i’m right now at the point where Colette joined the family. And Stefan is pretty much the same…

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    1. I think it’s a matter of perspective 🙂 I wouldn’t call Stefan whiny or jealous right now. He’s just hurting and feeling regret 🙂 But it’s ok to have a different perspective 🙂

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    1. Yeah, this was something I felt like I needed to explore haha because it would be very difficult to adjust to coming back and stuff. Like you said, expected though. That’s what happens when you’re so far from your family for so long. You grow apart and miss out on things 😦

      Liked by 1 person

  3. All WitcHazards except Dark: Stefan Chapter EEEEEEEEEEEEKKKKKKKKK!

    Emotional WitcHazard: Its okay Stefan even if you never feel like you’re no longer apart of the main family I’m sure they don’t feel that way it’s all in your head. I think talking about would be better for you than writing it down, but it’s a start.

    Lady WitcHazard: Know that the court of WitcHazads will always love you! We are really excited to have you back in the story even if just for a minor almost obsolete role.

    All WitcHazards except Dark: We Love you Stefan!

    Dark WitcHazard: I find it hilarious how you guys gush over Stefan when he’s the same guy who treated your beloved Jonas like crap until close to the end! Just something to think about.

    Everyone goes quite.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I am right there with Dark WitcHazard – he treated the best spouse ever like total crap….remember, I picked him for who’d you kill? And that was a huge part of why. He made his choice a long time ago because – I’m still not sure I understand the real reason he left. If he was leaving to follow a dream, I would have understood, but he was leaving to chase a fantasy where he might find someone that loved him more. Daddy’s gone and now step Daddy’s gone too. How’d it work out for you Stefan?

        Sorry, he was my least favorite and I don’t necessarily feel sorry for him whining about nobody loves me, I’m an outsider. Dude, you did that to yourself. Maybe that is guilt talking. Shoulda stayed in Willow Creek where your new family is, not coming back out of guilt for the one you left behind.

        Shew….Okay – I feel better now. 😏

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        1. Hahahaha wow, I never realized you hated Stefan so strongly! He’s a lot of people’s favorite, so it’s actually interesting to hear the opposite perspective (even though what you said may be a bit brutal LOL)

          As for why he left though, I can help (I know it’s been a while!). It had nothing to do with Josh 🙂 If you recall, he actually had a whole journal about how he THOUGHT finding Josh would make him feel whole again, but it didn’t work and he was struggling to figure out what he needed. Then he had the epiphany that he could never find a good job or steady girlfriend in Windenburg. Tobi was flourishing and he was just never doing well where he was.

          He was struggling and needed a change and an opportunity for a great job opened up in Willow Creek, so he decided to take it. So yes, he was following a dream (and found it — he was a very successful genetic researcher ^_^)

          Liked by 1 person

  4. Ha! Yeah, unfortunately no Stefan sex scenes in this story 😦 Looks like you’ve gotta write some smutty Stefan fanfiction yourself 😂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Like uncle, like niece it seems. I hope getting it out on paper helped him and that he’ll feel better now. I uderstand his regret, but again, I don’t think he should blame himself. He’s built a good life, he visited and kept in touch with his family in Germany. He cared. And Jonas was one hell of a smart man, so don’t worry, he knew.

    You had the guts to pursue your happiness, Stefan. Not a crime since you did’t hurt anyone in the process. And I love Marie, really, but the fact that her son feels guilty because of her words decades later… in this case, I’m team Stefan.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha Stefan and Joce have that in common — they brood a lot and tend to regret the past haha

      I think Stefan is happy over-all, but the journal is a nice way for him to get these feelings out. He’s happy about the life he had in Willow Creek, but I think he just feels so disconnected from the rest of his family right now. Hopefully the longer he’s back, the easier it will be 🙂

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  6. Yay! another Stefan chapter!

    Welp, he wouldn’t be a Rosebrook if he didn’t obsess and beat himself up over stuff from the past he has no way of changing. He get points for not taking it out anyone though, that’s unique. I’m glad he has his wife with him.

    Who wants to take bets? I bet that he’s going to reconnect with his family, and just when he does, he’ll switch to guilt about his kids. Any takers?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hahaha well to be honest it’s very intentional this gen 🙂 One of my themes is regretting the past/feeling like time slips by too quickly (we have seen different forms of this with Joce, Clara, and now Stefan). But yes, my Rosebrooks love to dwell, it’s true 😂

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  7. Awwww…. Poor Stefan. (Just between you and me, he’s always been my favorite character.) And it seems like he always blames himself. Even when he and Tobi were kids, he seemed to always be blaming himself. I feel like when he was in Willow Creek he stopped blaming himself, but now that he’s home he’s doing it again. 😦

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    1. Stefan is such a popular character. I love it 🙂 You’re right that he tends to be very brooding/blame himself a lot. He and Jocelyne have a lot of common in that way, actually!

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  8. Oh my it’s so sad seeing Stefan all old and grey 😦 he’ll always stay a young adult in my simself’s save haha! I feel really sorry for him that he missed so much, but I’m absolutely with his wife there: he is here now! And he should concentrate on that instead of lingering in the past and what he could have done. Though I know what he feels like, my parents, my brother and me moved away about 13 years ago, in the beginning I got to see the rest of my family quite often, but now I don’t even see them once a year anymore. And we aren’t a continent apart, it’s actually only half the country with a 4 or 5 hours drive! It really got me thinking, what Stefan wrote here. Someday it might be me who thinks it’s too late now… but luckily I’m the one who can change that now! Haha sorry that didn’t have much to do with your story, Stefan is still one of the people I love the most in your legacy, and I’m happy to see him back!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for sharing your experience! I like that you’re able to appreciate how he’s feeling right now. But you and his wife are both right too — He is back home NOW and all he can control is what he does at this point. Nothing can change the past.

      I’m glad you liked seeing him again! I loved writing him again. I missed him so much ❤

      Liked by 2 people

  9. Oh, hi, Stefan! Didn’t think I’d hear from you again. 🙂

    And the theme repeats with this generation: brooding and regretting the past. Just keep reconnecting, Stefan, and the outsider feeling should hopefully lessen. Your family loves you, man!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hehe yeah, hearing from him again was a bit of a surprise, huh? 😉 And yes, that is most definitely a recurring theme of this gen! But hopefully Stefan will start feeling better about things soon 🙂

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  10. Stefan was a pleasant surprise I hadn’t expected! It’s great to hear his view point, though he’s beating himself up a tad too much. Family will always be in your heart! It’s hard being apart, but such special moments when you catch up with them again. I really enjoyed hearing his thoughts on everything that’s taken place over the years. Another perspective is always a welcome treat! I’m sure with time he’ll feel part of the family once again. I really do think it’s important that he’s there with his mum to the end of her days. I think that’ll bring him a sense of fulfillment. But you know getting older does bring a lot self introspection with it. Especially once you hit 50! Just like with Jocelyn in the last chapter, I know she’s about 48 now, but you do start to look at your own and others longevity and those people closest to you. You often begin to fear losing them. Nothing lasts forever. You’ve captured the poignancy of those moments in a beautiful way and thank you for that.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This comment means so much, thank you! 🙂 I’m really glad that you’re enjoying how I’m portraying some of these feelings my characters are having now as they get older (even if they aren’t very uplifting thoughts haha)

      And as for Stefan, I do think that in time, he will start to feel like he’s part of the family again 🙂 He’s only been back for a few months at this point. It’s gonna take a little time. And you are so right — being there for Mari at the end of her life is really important to him. That’s a huge part of why he came home in the first place.

      Thank you for reading!

      Like

  11. Oh my god this is so sad. I’m really feeling for Stefan here. I understand why he feels so bad, but I think he’s being way too hard on himself.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, I feel for him too! This isn’t easy 😦 But I also think you’re right that he’s being too hard on himself. Hopefully he can get better in time 🙂

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  12. So good to hear from Stefan again. But in life even the right choices can have negative consequences. And he made the right choice. There’s no use in thinking about what he lost because of it, instead he (and Joce as well) should focous on what he has and let the past stay where it belongs

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  13. This reminds me… Could you maybe put some more Rosebrooks on the Gallery? I looked and I only found Alexander. I really want Stefan, Jocelyn, and Aurora in my game. (As young adults of course). If you found could find some time to do that it would be great. Thank you!

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    1. They’re all up except Rory 🙂 you need cc on because my female sims have custom eyelashes and often cc hair too 🙂 I know YA Stefan is there, I think Joce is a child. I can try to go into an old save and upload her as a YA sometime soon though. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  14. STEFAN!!!!!!!!! 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 I THOUGHT I’D NEVER SEE YOU AGAIN, DEAR FRIEND!

    I know I wished you were the heir instead of Tobi all those years ago… But I’m glad it was Toby, because if it wasn’t, then I’d probably never get to meet Zayne. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aw, I’m so glad you’re happy to hear from him again! ^_^ Writing this was awesome for me. I missed him!

      But yes, if he were the heir, no Zayne! 😮

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Yay Stefan!
    Also, how do decide the themes? Do you make a list at the start of each gen to see which themes can cause them the most pain? (jk… Kind of 😀)

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    1. LOL! I kind of let them develop naturally. I’ll start planning chapters and just kinda see what themes are coming out naturally and then roll with it ^_^

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  16. Aww, I missed Stefan. He kind of vanished, it seemed, and it’s so great to hear from him again. I still love him. No matter how much he used to bug me (just a tiny bit).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! I missed him too 🙂 Originally he was going to appear in another legacy story, but that person’s story ended up on an indefinite hiatus, and more than a year later, he still hasn’t shown up (and maybe never will haha) so that’s why he vanished 😦 I was expecting we’d be getting his story in another legacy!

      It felt right to bring him back at the end of his life, even though he is still gonna be background/kinda disappear again. He belongs with the other Rosebrooks! 😀

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