The signs of me entering the veteran phase of my life is becoming clearer by the day. On Saturday, we sent our second son for registration at UiTM in Shah Alam. He is doing Kursus Asasi Sains and if he does well, hopes to continue to study Medicine.
Another of our offspring has flown the roost, so to speak. Our household has one less member, and since we are not a big family to begin with, the relative quietness of the house is becoming more pronounced.
We have only three children, all boys. The eldest flew away to study at an overseas university. With the second one now in college, it leaves only the youngest son at home. My third boy is 14-years old... so I guess we have another three years at least, for us to bermanja-manja with our anak bongsu. After that, it will be just the missus and me... two elderly folks growing old together. Hopefully, we would not be getting on each other's nerves too often.
When I was dating my wife many, many years ago, this issue of how many children we would like to have was discussed once... but it was more of in jest. She asked me how many kids I wanted. Hmm... let's see, I said. My parents have five children and you have thirteen siblings... so why not we meet half way, say nine kids. She let out a loud laugh.... hahaha! No way, she said.
Over the years, I would meet with old friends or long-lost relatives whose questions would include the standard `Anak dah berapa sekarang?'. My response would always be : `Anak baru tiga' instead of the expected `Anak dah tiga', the former implying that we have three kids for now but hope for more to come. If my wife is around when the question is being asked, she would correct the answer to the latter.
This wish of having more children has crossed my mind a number of times, especially since we have no daughters. It concerns me that my wife would not have a daughter to help take care of her in old age. Having seen the ailments that my late mother-in-law suffered, I know that there are certain things only a daughter can do.
But I have never been the one to pressure my wife on this subject. The choice of stopping at three was entirely hers. When I mentioned about who is to take care of her when she's old, she simply replied, `Let's hope that we get very good and kind-hearted daughter-in-laws.'
At times like these, the common adage of `It's the quality and not the quantity that counts' becomes a appropriate, even though it is just a small measure of self-comfort. In Malay we say, `Sekadar untuk menyedapkan hati.'
We have three healthy, intelligent and well-behaved sons. We know some friends and relatives who have only one child... and some friends and relatives who have none. We should count our blessings.