When I posted "Small Talk" yesterday, I didn't imagine that I would be living it today. I finally went to get a haircut this afternoon and faced the exact situation I had been fearing. My kids came up in the conversation right away because I mentioned that they were waiting for me. The stylist, with her adorable blue-haired braid, politely asked how many kids I had. I said two, betraying myself and my daughter right away. I wanted to take it back, but how do you say that? "Never mind. I lied. I actually have three children." This doesn't really work, especially not for the unskilled conversationalist. We moved on to the part of the discussion where we talked about what my job is and where I work and whether I like what I do. At this point I was just trying not to cry in front of this nice girl who had no idea that exactly five weeks before I was in surgery delivering my daughter.
Out of nowhere, she asked, "You just have two?" I knew what she meant, but I needed to be sure that she had just opened the door for Alaska. She clarified, "You just have two kids?" And at that, I told her that I have my two boys, but I also have a daughter who died. She was so kind as I told her that we were grieving and trying to honor Alaska's memory. She asked me questions and listened to my story about how Alaska got her name. She told me that she thought Alaska was a great name. This stranger with her follow-up question was a gift today.