Glyn remembered how it had been after Lowri’s far-from-easy birth (which had had to be a caesarean in the end and for a terrifying twenty minutes had threatened Sioned’s life too); his mixed up emotions; relief at the eventual safe delivery and saving of his wife’s life all swirled up with the joy of the new tiny arrival in his and Sioned’s life. After that experience with its emotional overload, their lives had felt complete. It really didn’t matter that Sioned must never risk pregnancy again. He’d willingly submitted to a (rather painful, to be honest) vasectomy. The past eight years had certainly been happy. They’d moved to Liverpool in search of brighter lights than were to be found in west Wales and he’d done quite well in his job as a surveyor at the estate agents.
And yet . . .
And yet. In recent months Lowri sometimes talked wistfully (or so it seemed) about her little friends having brothers and sisters. And they couldn’t help feeling sometimes that she was just a little deprived. Well, disadvantaged anyway. She was probably just a tiny bit spoiled; had never had to learn about sharing. Inevitably.
And then, a few nights ago, they’d looked at a programme on the telly about adoption; about how there was a dearth of potential adoptive parents and how some poor kids had to spend years in institutional care, which was fine as far as it went (the staff did their best) but could never be as good as life in a normal family. Sioned had gone very quiet, and continued pensive later in bed. Glyn knew her so well, could easily divine what she was thinking. She wasn’t settling to sleep; something was on her mind.
He knew he’d have to make the first move.
‘Penny for them?’
Sioned turned towards him and snuggled close, hand across his chest. ‘Oh; you know. Just thinking about those poor little kids.’
‘Well they looked well taken care of.’
She sighed. ‘Yes I’m sure they were. They looked happy enough. But it’s not the same as being in a proper family is it?’
Glyn gave the shoulder his arm was around a squeeze. ‘No you’re right, Cariad. It isn’t . Every child deserves love.’
Sioned lapsed into silence. Then: ‘Glyn . . .’
‘Yes?’ He could almost have predicted what was coming.
Another silence, and then, cautiously, the words forming reluctantly: ‘What if we did that?’
‘Glyn! You know exactly what!’
‘What; you mean adopt?’
‘Well why not?’
‘Duw Duw Sioned! Hang on!’
‘No but why not, really? Wouldn’t it be nice for Lowri to have a brother or sister?’
‘Well, yes, but . . .’
‘You know she’d like it!’
‘Well no, we don’t actually. She’s never mentioned it.’ Glyn paused. ‘Has she?’
‘Well not actually in so many words.’
‘Then we’d have to ask her opinion. Obviously.’
Glyn could sense her head lifting in the dark to look at him.
‘You mean . . . you’d like the idea? Perhaps?’
Glyn grinned. ‘Well you’ve probably got your way as usual, woman!’
Sioned punched him on the chest, quite hard.
‘Glyn; be serious! You know we’d have to be in total agreement about this. All three of us!’
He rubbed her shoulder reassuringly. ‘Yes, of course we would. Let me think it over. But yes; the idea does appeal, come to think about it.’
‘Okay’, Sioned said (he could feel her relaxing), you have a long think, and so will I, and we’ll talk about it some more, and if we both want to go for it we’ll ask Lowri what she thinks. How’s that?’
‘Yes; sounds good to me. Let’s do that.’
Sioned suddenly felt unaccountably amorous.
So now it was crunch time. They were sitting in the lounge, Glyn in an armchair and Sioned and Lowri together on the sofa. There was nothing particularly interesting on telly so it had gone off. Lowri made to get up, announcing that she was going up to her room. Sioned put a restraining hand on her arm. ‘Just a minute Cariad; Daddy and I have something we want to talk about with you.’
So they told her what they’d been discussing lately, frequently, in the intimacy of their bed. Talking about it over and over again, turning their germinating mutual (yes, it was genuinely mutual now) wish this way and that, upside down, inside out, examining it from every angle, trying to be rational (but finding that difficult, to be honest) as the desire took root. Told her of their settled and agreed idea which over a week’s gestation (although perhaps it had lain there dormant, unrecognised for a long time) had become a want, then a need, then a craving. A hiraeth indeed. Lowri knew that Mummy couldn’t have any more babies of her own (Sioned had had a serious, girl-to-girl conversation with her on the subject some time ago). And so what did she think?
Of course it came as a complete bolt out of the blue to Lowri. The thought had never entered her mind. Sioned’s nervous presentation of the notion had ground to an anxious halt. Lowri looked from one parent to the other, lost for once for something to say.
Finally she spoke. ‘Oh, right, have you chosen a baby yet then?’
Glyn smiled. Typical; the child’s three steps ahead of herself already. ‘No, not yet Cariad! We’re still at the idea stage. Mummy and I just wanted to run it past you first; see what you thought.’
Lowri pondered it some more. Um. Quite a good idea. Yes, it could be nice.
‘So would it be a boy or girl?’
Sioned spoke now. ‘Well, that would be for us to decide. Are you saying you like the idea?’
Lowri felt suddenly that she had immense power. Whether or not another member was added to the family could depend on her. So what did she think, really, deep down? As her parents watched anxiously, she gave the matter yet more thought. Would I really like a baby sister? Well, perhaps it wouldn’t even be a baby. Can you choose how old it is? A baby would be nice though. Then it would be almost as if Mummy had had it herself. Or it could be a baby brother! That would be better still. Yes, that’s it. Definitely a baby brother.
With all the authority and arrogance of a nine-year-old only child she spoke up, boldly, fixing each parent in turn with a condescending expression. ‘Yes, I have decided. I would like a baby brother.’
Sioned expelled a huge sigh of relief. Glyn put hand to mouth, concealing a grin, but he was relieved too, to be honest.
Back from hospital and the D and C (the fo
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