Last weekend Val had her first choir concert and it was full of excitement and insanity, equal parts. She fell sick the morning of the (two-day) concert and it took a grand orchestration of human will, parental intervention and heavenly grace to make her first concert come to realization. She was so excited, we knew she would be crushed if she was not able to attend, especially when she had a small solo part for one of the songs.
So it went fine and I nearly crumbled watching her stand composed and tall on stage, singing her part, adding her voice to the chorus. How she grew these past eight years I have no idea.
I thought too, of the years ahead, the many milestones yet to come. And of course I thought of Ferdinand, the the many milestones I will never get to see. I wore my special necklace to the concert, wishing to feel something against my chest. Even though I do not wear this necklace often, it has come to feel very natural on me.
On the drive home after the concert, I felt deep aching for Ferdinand’s absence, and thought to myself, Am I going to stay broken hearted for the rest of my life? Will I be like one of those old women I have read about, and exhale, upon my last breath, about being happy to finally see my son? Isn’t it futile, and contradictory, and self-defeating, to keep thinking of the could-have-been’s, when I have made peace (or so I thought), with his absence?
A day after, I decided to put an end to my internet search for a nice winter coat. It was not an urgent affair, I decided, and moreover, I need time for other things. Also, I realized, I don’t need another thing to be complete, to be happy, for life to be perfect. I have so much, truly. And I told myself, you have all you need. You are fine, you are so fine. You need to look within, not without. You do not need these external things to be perfect or happy.
With that conclusion, the heartache eased away.
And then the following day I was paying for our groceries at the oriental market when the cashier, an elderly Vietnamese lady, studied Lyra intently and then asked, “Girl?” and I nodded. She then swept her gaze over the two older girls and said, “Three girls, three girls! You need one more– a boy!”
Taking my receipt from her, I pondered for a few seconds if I should tell her this: “I do have a boy, but he’s not alive.” But I just nodded, smiled, pretended not to have heard, and left.
And then today, while preparing to exit from Trad.er Joe’s I heard someone call my name. A mutual acquaintence I have not seen for a while since the girls stopped their swimming lessons. She exclaimed over Lyra, not having seen her before, though she made the mistake that she was a boy–
“Oh, look! He is smiling! You finally get a boy!”
And again, I turned and walked away, after smiling for no good reason.
It does not matter what I think, I will forever and always hear such comments from others, who think that my life is simply not complete, and not perfect, because I am lacking a boy. Some even go so far to comment that I do not have a boy despite having three girls already. Apparently, three of the same thing is imperfect and lacking; there is a need for an opposing gender in the mix. I do not wish to explain. I just feel I will always be this perfect imperfect. One’s got to come to acceptance to what has passed, and I think I do. But it does not mean that others will leave me alone with their unsolicited comments and judgements. And so be it.