Sunday, May 21, 2006

Duo, Not Quartet In Spring

I took J to a Lebanese food festival yesterday. The place was unbelievably crowded and the food we sampled absolutely delicious. I expected J to have fun time - there was everything she loves - clear blue sky, warm but not hot weather, lots of people including kids having a good time, trying something different to eat. She was disappointingly quiet and complained about how it was cold and windy and I should have dressed her warm.

I was puzzled, hurt and and then plain angry. It was like she owed me her laughter and joy for the trouble I had taken to find us something interesting to do on the weekend. I am painfully aware of the clockwork monotony of our lives, the absence of family and friends. I reprimanded her for fussing - my exact words being " This is the last time I am going to put up with this kind of behavior from you. If you want to sulk and fuss instead of enjoying yourself, we'll go back home and just stay there"

She looked about ready to cry but thought the better of it seeing how mad she had made me already. The sweetness of the fragrant kanfeh dipped in orange blossom essence helped lift our spirits. By the time we were done with our desserts, J and I were smiling again. She was her usual cheerful self once we got home and said to me "When grandma and grandpa come here, we'll take them to the food festival". When J says that about something it is incontrovertible proof that she loved it. I felt gratified to hear her say that - it made all the trouble worthwhile.

The unpleasant episode from earlier that afternoon lingered on my mind. I had noticed the longing look in her eyes as she looked at the "families" (by J's definition, a unit consisting of a full set of parents and a number of children. J's preference is to have at least one sibling if she cannot have her wish for one brother and one sister). The sound of a child calling out "Daddy !" does something to J's face that is hard to decipher but heartbreaking to watch nevertheless.

When we are home, there is nobody to compare with and she does not miss what is missing in her life. A concert hall, a bistro, a bookstore, the library, the park, the mall, the doctor's office, the daycare are some of her other comfort zones. None of these places spell "family" as unambiguously as a fairground or a family restaurant does on a Sunday afternoon. I have been guilty of trying to keep J away from sightings of "family" because I am afraid of dealing with her reaction to it. My not having an anodyne does not take her pain away.


Anonymous said...

Last night i wept into my sleep.. thinking about..

"The sound of a child calling out "Daddy !" does something to J's face that is hard to decipher but heartbreaking to watch nevertheless."

I pray she finds one soon. I have a 2 yr old daughter and I was remembering all the things we take for granted...

Take Care

Heartcrossings said...

Thank you so much for your good wishes for J.

Live Order taking said...

How good was the food fest. Bet it was good when u callit delicious. What all did you eat?