Several times a week strangers ask me if Evelyn and Genevieve are twins. At gymnastics a few weeks ago, the question came from a seven-year-old boy.
“No,“ I said. “They are just under five months apart.“
He thought on this for a moment.
“How did you have babies so quickly?“ he asked. “My mom is making a baby right now and it takes her a very long time.“
“It takes me a long time to make a baby too, but I only gave birth to one of the girls. We adopted the other,“ I explained.
“What does that mean?“ he persisted.
“Well, it means that she has two moms. Her first mother was pregnant with her and gave birth to her, but she could not take care of a kid. So now she lives with us and I’m her mom.“
“Are you like her stepmom?“
“No, I’m her mom. It sounds a lot like having a stepmom, though, doesn’t it?“
He nodded and reflected for a moment. Finally, he said, “So. Like. Is she a real kid?“
“Does she look fake to you?“
“Then I guess she’s real, huh?“
He thought this over for a moment. “Maybe,“ he finally said with some reluctance. “She might be.“
And then just as quickly as his line of questioning had started, it came to an abrupt end and he rushed off to play peek-a-boo with the toddlers.
I wonder how much of these questions and answers Genevieve hears and internalizes. There are times when I worry about the day when she is the one asking these questions. But mostly, I worry about the day when the questions are no longer innocent curiosity and the answers are no longer simple.
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