Archive for December, 2009

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.


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Not really news, but I celebrated my 37th year of bumming around two weeks ago.  I almost forgot it was my birthday, though it was not by purposeful amnesia so as to avoid acknwledging my advancing age. It’s just that Thanksgiving was the day after and I was busy planning how to cook and eat the bird. And the gravy, and all those stuff.

So I was wonderfully delighted when a friend sent me a birthday rain-check via email to make me some of these (aren’t they cute?? Now I have good excuse to go get a case of that Riesling and line them up in varying positions on the dining table.) My good friend M visited me the day prior and brought me one of these, something I have coveted for a while now. Her daughter, upon learning from the girls that they are planning a surprise for me, spent her time at our house making two cards for me:

Another friend told me a birthday fairy will have something by my front door but I had to look right before breakfast. I found a bath set from her, as well as a cake! I had baked my own birthday cake the past years and she did not want me to do that this year so she baked me one. I had totally forgotten about the cake this year, so it was just awesome.

The girls had this for me on the breakfast table:

Little gifts and cards. And a gourmet truffle to start the day off on a sweet and indulgent note (even though it was really spent preparing for the pigging out session the following day). Val’s card said, Ferdinand’s spirit guides you. I don’t know why she wrote that and I did not ask. Sometimes I don’t need to know everything. They also sang me a few songs.

By the time the singing was done, gifts opened and cards read, all the melancholy and shored up tears I had began to spill over. The dams broke and it all came gushing. Violent and unrelenting.

The girls stared at me and two seconds later Val started to cry too and she said, “What is it, mom? Is it Ferdinand? Are you missing him? He is right here, mom! I understand, I understand…”

And that only helped release more of what had been waiting to be released.

I had a very good bawl. A really satisfying cry.

Then we had some cake for breakfast.

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