Somebody wise said that once, and I totally agreed.
Which is why I was rather sane when I turned 40 yesterday. I was OK. I did not freak out, or go out to buy one hundred pairs of shoes, as R feared I may. I did not look up plastic surgery of any sort. I patted my soft little middle aged belly and took a second helping of the chocolate hazelnut cake that comes from an amazing, small Romanian bakery, giving thanks to their existence and contemplated begging for an internship. Or just to lick the bowls.
It is a privilege to grow old, to add another digit to my number of living years. My birthday is so close to Thanksgiving it is hard to not feel grateful when it rolls around. I am glad to be alive and surrounded by my immediate family, I am glad to be able to cook and clean and breathe with them, to watch the girls grow and to hear the garage door grunt open every evening when R comes home from work. I am glad to be able to shiver with cold and mutter bitter complaints when I go out in this chilly weather. I finally understand why the sun was worshiped.
But I am not wise yet.
I still think, why can’t he be here too? Why not give me one more thing to be grateful for? I still hated it when the server at the French restaurant gushed about our three beautiful girls. How grateful I felt! And yet how I hated the convenience of the phrase “three girls”! I sat and wondered, if there was one boy in the mix, how would those strangers have expressed their admiration? Or perhaps they would be dismayed that I was robbing the world of more resources than I ought to. Maybe they think I have nothing better to do but to stuff the landfill with more stinky diapers. Perhaps someone will say, “How do you do it with four kids?!”, with an underlying note of hysteric. And I only wonder, How do I do it without my missing child?
Nothing to do but to move on, and deal with the silent ache.
And the worst thing is knowing that S is still missing her little brother. Recently I stumbled across a page in her drawing journal and saw that she had drawn a picture, with a sign that said “Lost Siblings”, then a stand with a girl sitting there, a sign over her head saying “Questions ask here” and on the ground is an oval, in the oval a boy with wings, shedding fat tears, his word bubble declaring, “I miss my family!”
Don’t we all miss you too, Ferdinand! How I wish you were here. I mean physically here.
My dear friends, thank you if you still read here. I apologize for the scant internet presence. I vow that one day I will go back to my Reader again, and catch up. This is my precious little corner, where I can come and shed all the tears I want, and I am forever thankful for all of you who had listened and offered comforting words. I think, if you have not done that, I am not sure I would have lived to write about my 40th birthday (which was actually pretty uneventful). While my priorities have changed, your place in my heart haven’t. If you would like to exchange snail-mail with me, please contact me! Otherwise, I am sure one day we will meet again.