The Third Child

There are three chalk portraits of us on the wall over Dad's bed - each daughter's likeness captured as well as could be expected by an artist working in a local suburban shopping mall in the '70s.   One day Dad was admiring the drawings and then he turned to me and said, "Those are my children.  One, two and three.  One and two were good, but we weren't too sure about the third one."

What?!?  Hey, wait a minute.  I'm the third one!  At first I thought he was teasing me (as he was often wont to do in the good old days) but I quickly realized he had no idea he was talking to me about me.  This was going to be very interesting...

"Not too sure about the third one?  What do you mean, Dad?"
"The third one was quite a surprise.  We only wanted two children.  We didn't want three.  My poor wife."

Oh my!  This was quite a revelation -- and the fact that he was imparting it to ME struck me as incredibly funny.  I started to laugh, but managed to suppress it; this was, after all, a serious conversation.  (Meanwhile, all I could think was how much I wished my sisters were there - they would have been roaring!)

"Well, Dad, it turned out alright though, didn't it?  Having the third one?"
(Okay, so I was fishing...  or maybe just hoping...)
"Hmm.  I don't know," he said.  Then there was a long pause.  (A little too long if you ask me.)  Finally he added, rather resignedly, "I guess so.  There really wasn't anything we could do about it."

Oh, snap!

It took every ounce of strength I had not to fall on the floor in a fit of laughter.  If he only knew!  Later on I called my sisters to relay the conversation and I must say, they were even more wildly appreciative than I had anticipated.  In fact, now that I think about it, their amusement was definitely excessive given the highly sensitive nature of the subject matter...

I always held a sort of  romantic notion of the touching, heartwarming story of the wondrous gift of the third child.  Needless to say, this wasn't it.

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