I’m taking a girl to lunch today, a grown-up outing, to celebrate her 12th birthday. We will eat out in the winter sunshine, at that stalwart establishment in Parktown; Mike’s Kitchen, which was my playground in my twenties, long before I met her father. Long before I dreamed of one day becoming the mother of a shooting star named Chelsea.
I will make her laugh with a funny story about how, during my pregnancy I had a scan, her dad and sister-in-waiting, Che, came along. Looking at the picture on the radiographer’s screen, Alan exclaimed “Look at the size of that willie, that’s my son in there, for sure!” And the baby growing in my tummy was promptly given a name: Zac.
We’d been very careful to make sure that Che never felt threatened that her father was going to have another child, and I made sure that she was included throughout the pregnancy. Her mother was working on her career, so I spent a lot of after-school time with Che.
As the time went by, I began to feel strongly that my baby was a girl and began to cast about for names I felt would fit this new child when she came into the world. My first choice was Daisy, but it was vetoed by both Alan and Che as a name suitable only to cows and poodles. I told Che she would have the final say.
After weeks of suggestions we’d rejected Bronwyn, Allison, Gabby, Jeanine … and endless list of girls I couldn’t picture, we were sitting in the dentist’s waiting room one afternoon (Che had a toothache) and I suggested Chelsea. “I’ve never heard that name” said Che. Out of nowhere, I had a stroke of genius and took a pen and notebook from my bag.
“It’s like this” I said, and began to write as I explained:
“First we had CHE;
And then we gave her a
L = little
S = sister
E = ever
A = after
And so it was settled.
And sisters they are, there’s no doubt about it, despite springing from different wombs.