"You're like the annoying brother I never had. Except your name isn't Thomas, and you don't have curly hair."
I heard JR saying this to our big black tomcat one day a few months ago. Because she knows that if she or SC had been a boy, her name would have been Thomas. Thomas Martin.
The day after Christmas 1998 a kind woman called me from the genetic testing place where I'd had my amniocentesis because she knew I was on tenterhooks waiting for the results. And I learned I was having a healthy baby girl.
I'd wanted a boy. A son to be a brother to my daughter. A son for the Man to do boy things with. A grandson for my parents and especially for Nanay and Taytay, whose one grandson was estranged from the family thanks to his bitch of a mother.
Instead, I was having another girl.
I wonder about Thomas sometimes. Would he have looked more Asian, more Filipino than my girls do? Would he have had the Man's black hair or curly brown hair like the girls inherited from me? Would he have been chubby as the Man was as a little boy?
Would he have been another serious quiet boy like the Man, or a silly jokester like my own brother? Would he have wanted to play soccer, or memorized dinosaur names, or made us read "Mike Mulligan" over and over?
I mourned his loss the day I knew I was having a girl.
And yet, I got a sister for SC, a sister whom she fights with, but also often has good silly times with. A daughter that the Man adores in the most foolish ways a man can adore his little girl.
A granddaughter who never really got to know her Nanay, but who loves her Grandma and is very much like her in many way.
A daughter who is so like me in so many ways that it amazes me. Who has a totally different hold on my heart than SC does, each beloved in her own special way.
And now, the day before her 12th birthday, though I still miss Thomas who might have been, I could never trade him for JR who is.
My special, special girl.