Fear and Trepidation – Alas
Kuching, Malaysian Borneo – My daughter Christine arrived after a grueling 32-hour Dulles to Kuching flight, including two missed connections and enough airport time to register and vote in the country of transit. Our eyes met and we waved through the glass where I was standing, observing the arriving passengers retrieve their luggage.
When she emerged through security, I ran up and hugged her for a long time, voice breaking. Although this scene replays itself every minute in airports through the western world, physical displays of affection are very rare here. Locals usually look away embarrassed at these two foolish white people doing things reserved only for the bedroom.
I had trepidation about my older daughters in their twenties calling my younger son, six months now, step-brother. Step has so many negative connotations beginning with the fairy tale Cinderella where the step-sisters sabotage her gown only to be saved by the sewing singing mice.
I was also wondering how they would get along. Introducing the new issue from a second marriage could be difficult, I thought. I am sure there is significant statistical evidence where the trauma was blamed on school failure, mass murder, suicide, drug abuse, over eating, and countless other maladies.
Suriani, my wife, holding Dzul, also greeted her and they carried on a conversation while walking to the taxi just as old friends are apt to do after a long absence. I fell behind, ignored, struggling with the luggage.
All three climbed into the back of the cab while I commandeered the shotgun seat. Christine looked Dzul over and commented on his shoes and outfit and said he was handsome and smart. Dzul then reached over and clasped her finger tightly and they stayed that way until we reached our condo.
I stupidly thought she might be examining Dzul to seek some resemblance to the McLaughlin clan, given my vasectomy, but blamed this on ridiculous musing. It came from those who sent me emails demanding Dzul take a DNA test. For those still wondering, 18 months after the procedure my test came back like I had never undergone that operation.
Christine and Dzul bonded splendidly. At breakfast he tapped Christine on the leg from his little walker and “asked” for a bit of whatever she was eating. A dot of peanut butter on his tongue made them fast buddies. Christine said he would be friends with anyone who fed him, a classic dominant genetic trait of McLaughlin males.
After taking his bath, while he was being diapered, Christine would raspberry him on the tummy to his giggling delight. Walking about Kuching they were inseparable, him in her arms walking next to Suriani while I carried the packages a few steps behind. We were all together in the pools and salt water of the South China Sea with the two of them laughing cooing and giggling. They seemed to be having quite a time.
My fears were not realized just as 90% of all fears. I was foolish to think that they would not get along and felt a bit guilty for having those thoughts pass through my brain manifesting in trepidation. Another life lesson learned and reinforced to seek the positive.
On departure for her flight back to the states, eyes filled, she hugged and kissed Dzul and called him “the brother from another mother.” And I like that.
For other articles on Malaysian Borneo please redirect to Tom’s blog at www.borneotom.com