Last night, we finally got the question. We were at a concert (yes – on a week night!) at the House of Blues in Chicago, and as we were waiting around for the show to start we got to chatting with a lovely couple next to us, around our age. The themes of the conversation were usual ones: where are you from, in what neighborhood do you live, etc. And then, suddenly, she asked:
“How old are your kids? I noticed your necklace.”
I was wearing the necklace I always wear, a silver pendant stamped with Anderson’s footprints, a gift from my mom.
K and I looked at each other, speechless. My mind whirled: how old IS my son? I finally pushed past the air trapped in my throat. “We had a son, but he passed away.”
K clarified a little – he was a baby, it was this past January. And then the best thing happened. The woman (who remains a stranger; shortly after this the show started and I never caught her name) said “Oh, I’m so sorry to hear that. What was his name?”
“What a great name! How did you come up with it?”
We told the story, and moved on. For the first time getting that question, I think we did okay. And I’m beyond grateful that the first person to ask knew exactly what to say to put us at ease and make us feel better. Thank you, stranger. I really appreciate how well you responded to what could have been a very awkward moment for all of us.
Oh, and the answer to the question? My son would be six months old today.