Mali: and a bitter tale of missing parts

He's my third, she said, smiling.  And I envied her then.  Not her youth.  Not her beauty.

But her baby. 

Oh I had had my babies, of course.  But they were big now.  Immersed in their ipods, their knitting, their friends.

You see,  I,  too, had wanted a third. But my husband, he.....he had said no.  He had said that two were plenty.  And what could I do, really?  And so a  kernel had formed, tiny but unyielding -- the kind that would break your teeth if you bit down hard enough.  Just a little bit bitter about the missing third.... 

about the one I never had. 

Oh, it was ridiculous really.  After all, what kind of mother was I?  Always busy.  Dashing from one country to the next.  In front of the computer, the fingers flying, the Blackberry rattling against the desk. 

But I envied her, nonetheless.  Not her youth, not her beauty.

But her baby.