We celebrated my grandmother’s 81st birthday in early April with a large gathering of friends and family. I did some hunting on the WWW, and apparently it’s because Chinese babies are considered to be one year old at birth, so 61 is really celebrating 60 years, etc. Go figure.
For several reasons, I almost didn’t go. I had given much thought to not attending, but ultimately decided to ignore the bullshit and go for the primary reason – which was to celebrate my grandmother’s birthday. Plus, it gave me an opportunity to see my good friends, D and M, whom I don’t get to visit very often.
My entire mom’s side of the family congregated in Toronto, including cousins that I don’t see very often, and a cousin’s wife who I had not met previously. And my Belgium-based cousin braved a trans-Atlantic flight with her two-month-old, so it was wonderful to meet a new addition to the family.
A few days after my grandmother’s celebration, my sister gave birth to a boy whom she and her husband have named Gabriel. He’s my parents’ first grandchild, and my first nephew, and a miracle baby at that. I haven’t met the munchkin yet in person, but from the photos that my dad has been taking, like the doting grandfather he has become, Gabriel is a real cutie-patootie. He’s still in the “new-baby-looks-like-a-little-old-man” phase, but his features are starting to fill in, and I love how his little thumbs are always tucked into his little fists.
The past nine months have been a real roller coaster of emotions for me, and I believe that I have come to a place of peace. To say that I was wracked with guilt is an understatement at best, and there were several times along the way that I wondered if I was doing the right thing.
But the fact is that it was the right thing to do – to free myself and to free him. And while it didn’t feel like it at the time, it has given us both the freedom to experience life, as it was meant to be lived. And so I’ve decided to let go of the guilt – no regrets – and have forgiven myself for doing something immensely painful to someone about whom I still care. And that has given me a sense of peace and calm that I had not felt in quite some time.