So today, we are at another graduation party. I’m filled with trepidation as we approach the door. I’m trying to stay engaged with people’s happy little lives, celebrating the milestones of their kids, milestones we will never have with Shayna. I’ll go in, shake hands, smile, pass out congratulations, and keep my pain to myself.
We meet people we haven’t met. One couple has a son who also just graduated. So, the awkward small talk begins as we ponder what questions to ask each other. The guy asks the question I dread “So, do you have kids?” Tywana’s engaged in a side conversation with her friends. Usually, at this moment, we’ll look at each other and silently decide who’s going to take the lead this time. I give her a quick look from my peripheral vision. Nope. She’s fully engaged there. I’m on my own.
I parse the question. He didn’t ask me how many kids I have. I don’t have to give a numerical answer. He said, “Do you have kids?” So, I’m not lying if I only mention Kayla. I say, “We have a daughter. She’s 19. She goes to the University of Toledo. She’s home for the summer.” This suffices. We talk about Kayla. He tells me about his son and the school he’s chosen. I get through the awkward part of the conversation.
I feel bad, though. My thoughts immediately turn to Shayna when he asks the question. I give her a silent apology. “Shayna, you know I know you’re still here with me. You know how proud I am of you. You know you will always be a part of me, and I will miss you every moment until the moment I can get out of this Earth body.” I just don’t need to go through this story with every stranger I meet. I’ll never see this guy again. He doesn’t need to know. He doesn’t care. He’s just making conversation. Still, it feels like a little lie. Damn.