It was an important day for us. You were six months old in my womb. I looked into your father’s eyes as the murky picture came up on the machine. I then asked the Doctor if you were a boy or a girl. “Girl”, he replied simply – perhaps used to the many hundreds of inquiries he gets every day. As we drove home, I felt a mixture of excitement as well as dread. Too many thoughts ran though my mind. A girl? Will I be able to protect you from the worst in society? We read so many sad incidents of children or women being abused in the media, how can I make sure you will not be one of them, another one mentioned in statistical government data sheets? Most importantly, how can I teach you what love is and what love is not? Do I teach you in word or deed? Perhaps showing you how gentle, kind and considerate the male presences in your life are? Your father, uncles, grandfathers and great grandfather. The wonderful male roles who taught me that a man and woman can live equally, with respect and communicate to resolve their issues.
There are many who go through difficult times in the name of love. That one aunt who sacrificed her whole life for a man who abuses her- not with blows, but restrictions in finances and her movements. That other acquaintance with sad eyes, who comes by with bruises on her arms. The neighbors you hear on some days, shouting abuses at each other which we all can hear. The write-ups on the newspaper on violence, murder in the name of love. Articles on the internet on date rape and the easy availability of the drug.
I cannot stop you from living your life. I hope you do fall in love, perhaps with a loving partner whom you can grow old with. Perhaps you will prefer to remain single. It does not matter what kind of life you live, as long as you learn to love gracefully with respect and command the same in return. If I am to insist on one thing, it would be to quickly recognize what love is not, and to move on with a grace that would make me proud. My child, I promise to teach you all these things, even though you are barely three months old.
By Dinu Chandrathilake