For four years, we had talked about whether we should have another baby or not. I definitely was not keen for more pain but Tony gave me that, “Don’t even think about it,” look when the “v” word came up. I could tell that the only way he would consider it, was if he was offered something he really wanted; like a colour TV or something. We knew they were offering free transistor radios in South Africa, but that deal wasn’t available in India. It was very unlikely he was going to do it for nothing.
Two children seemed to be the “in thing”. Two were easier to handle, it was cheaper, it was comfortable and it seemed like the perfect number of children to have. All of that was true, but we started to feel that someone was missing from our family. It felt incomplete. Tony had written in his diary in 1991 “Should we have Jordan?” I wrote, “Wondering about having another baby,” around the same time. We knew that if we didn’t, we would regret it all our lives. Somehow in all of our busy-ness, we kind of forgot to have a baby.
In 1993 we started to talk about it seriously again. I was struggling to admit that I didn’t just want a baby, I really wanted a boy. Tony and I talked a lot about it. I knew it was out of our hands, but I wanted to make sure God heard and knew how strongly I felt, before we “went for it.” There were months when we felt ready to try and then I would chicken out. It was a confusing, emotional time for me.
Asha was ready to go to school and we got a really good grant at Woodstock School. It was still way beyond our budget but we felt we should do it. She was so happy from day one. She made some good friends and it wasn’t long before Serena Mark, Ritika Roy and other little friends were sleeping over at our house.
Zoë really missed her. She would sit and stare into space. When I asked her if she was ok, she replied, “ I am just sitting here thinking and thinking about Asha.” She kept herself busy playing with baby Angie and helping me at home. We hand painted little nations flags for church and she loved that. It wasn’t difficult keeping her occupied.
Ash had her first cross country race at school. She did NOT want to do it. She woke up early that morning, crying and telling us she couldn’t do it. We tried to tell her she could and that she would enjoy it. It rained that day but the race was still on. Everyone was out on the road and Ash was in her brown shorts and bright yellow t-shirt. She had such cute, skinny little legs. We tried to encourage her without showing any sympathy. When she disappeared around the corner, I had to wipe my eyes. She looked so panicky.
The walk was to Cosy Corner, which was literally around a few corners, but for Grade Ones it was like a marathon. All the kids got back, running through the rain with big smiles on their faces, but there was no sign of Ash. We waited for what seemed like ages. We had no idea what had happened to her. Finally, she came walking around the corner, through the rain with Mr Mark holding her hand. She had refused to run so he walked with her. She had walked all the way there and all the way back. She had also cried all the way there and all the way back.
Every year we prayed about what was best for our children that year. We didn’t want to take it for granted, that just because we got a good grant in one of India’s most prestigious schools, our kids should go there indefinitely.
We could see immediately that Ash’s attitude had changed. We found we were spending more time undoing things that we weren’t happy with. She would come home talking about boys kissing girls and who was whose boyfriend. We weren’t happy about that. She was in Grade One!
One day, when Ash was eight and Zoë was seven, we sat them on the bed and told them the facts of life. We wanted to tell them before anyone else did. We had an amazing colouring book, which gave all the details about how babies were made. The girls were so interested and had no expectation about what was coming. When we told them how the daddy seed and the mummy seed met each other, they both responded the same way.
The look on their faces was priceless. They looked at us as if to say, “You mean…?” When we nodded and repeated the process, they both laughed so much they fell off the bed and so did we. Well, almost.