At some point, parents must be prepared to answer complicated questions that are thrown at them by their children. Questions like...
Will we run out of air?
Why are they mean?
Do all dogs die?
I knew that this was part of being a parent, but honestly, I didn't know the number of questions that seem to bombard me! On a daily basis, I try to answer my son's questions that I know and together, we research the ones that leave us stumped.
Soon, I noticed that there were less quirky questions about his surroundings and more specific questions that seemed to surround one theme...
"How did I get here?"
When my son first asked this question, we reminded him that he was adopted. My partner and I had been together 23 before we decided that we wanted children. Through adoption, we decided that we would grow our family and after what seemed like eternity, we were selected to bring home a healthy baby boy.
After raising our son for 18 months and being so close to the end of the finish line that we smiled all the time, we were told that a biological relative was seeking custody. We sat through numerous hearings, attended meetings at large tables filled with faceless "experts" that all said that we would lose our son.
We were terrified, but we couldn't let this happen and we fought.
We hired an attorney, found experts, and for eight months we continued to live as a family knowing that at any moment a phone call could change everything. Through a series of miracles, the judge declared that we were a forever family. That biology alone does not make a family.
We have a layered answer to the question, "How did I get here?"
We were a couple yearning to complete our family.
We were parents fighting to keep our child.
We fell in love with you and never let you go!
Some answers used to be accepted without further questions -- We prayed for the perfect little boy for our family and that was you! But now, we get more specific questions and some are... complicated.
Do we share the facts that prevented his bio-mom from raising him?
Do we share the battle that we engaged in for months?
Do we explain that some people won't like that we are parents?
This summer, the swimming pool has provided an unexpected education for my son. He seemed to notice the physical differences between the children wearing bikinis and those wearing trunks. He noticed the difference between the adult bodies too.
Why do men swim without anything on top?
Why do women have bigger pecs?
Why is there hair there?!
To answer these questions and many more, I got "the book" that has age appropriate drawings and responses to the questions that must also fill other people's homes and conversations in the car. This has proved to be beneficial and satisfies his curiosity for now.
"How did I get here?"
This question used to seem so simple, but it isn't and now instead of talking, I ask clarifying questions.
Are you asking about having two moms?
Do you wonder about the adoption?
What do you want to know about babies being born?
I know that we are not the first family to wonder how much to share with our child. This is part of being parents, right?
Really, if I stop and think about it, I could ask myself the same question as a partner, a mother, a teacher and a writer. So now, ask yourself... "How did I get here?"