We were smack dab in the middle of the bedtime routine, deeply involved in the storied negotiations involving a grasshopper and an ant when my three-year-old son said,
“Mommy, I’ve been thinking about something.”
“About grasshoppers?” I asked.
“No. About mommies.” He replied.
“Oh. What about mommies exactly.” I asked sleepily.
“Well, why does sissy get two mommies but I only get one.”
Zing – I was awake. Two things flashed through my mind. The first is that horrible moment on Modern Family in a recent episode when Mitchell’s daughter Lily asks him about her birthmother and his sleepy reply about her being a princess gets him in a lot of trouble. The second flash was of this conversation a few years back that made me realize how important moments like the one I was having really are in our family.
“Its not that anyone ‘gets’ anything. Let’s talk about what a birthmommy is again.” I said wide awake.
As I explained the difference between my daughter’s birthmother and me and the ins and outs of how adoption works in contrast to me being both birthmother and mommy to him, an interested look swept across his face.
“What is it? Do you have another question?” I asked.
“Well, maybe. Can I have a playdate with her?” He said with questioning eyes.
“With sister’s birthmommy? Well, no. That’s not really how it works. But maybe someday you could spend some time with her.” I said.
“Yeah. That would be good. I love sissy so I’m sure I’ll love her too.”
This from a little boy who is processing adoption and specifically of late the transracial part of our family. At three years old a simple explanation suffices and lays a foundation for understanding his own family. My thoughts soon drifted to Valentine’s Day as I snuggled in his bed and held his hand while he fell asleep. And I realized that there really isn’t a better Valentine I would receive that could top this conversation. A simple statement of love and acceptance from one little boy’s heart to a woman he has never met but is a central part of our family.
It was a Valentine for the whole family.