The Big Deal

"How many legs does a dog have if you call the tail a leg? Four; calling a tail a leg doesn’t make it a leg." – Abraham Lincoln

The yellow king sized comforter was too hot for my oldest son. He kicked it off and his younger brother, clad in nothing but sponge bob boxer briefs, objected. I pulled the blanket closer to my youngest and me.

“So, Mom, ask me more questions. I like this game” said my oldest son.

“Um, I think I have run out of questions” I replied.

“Come on, I know one you haven’t asked and I am surprised” he insists.

I continue thinking. I agree with him. I like this game too. I like this kind of time.

It is late on a Friday evening. The kids and I watched E.T. together and retired to my large king sized croscill clad bed. The lights are off and a slight breeze is blowing in the window behind the bed. Rain is falling on the drying maple trees creating a light crackling noise.

For the past thirty minutes I had been querying my oldest on his class mates.

Who was the fattest? Tallest? Shortest?

Who did he not like? Who was his best friend?

Were any of the kids poor? Did any of them smell badly?

We discussed parents from single families, poor families and treating the lesser privileged children with the same respect he would like. We talked about kids that have holes in their shoes and dont bath regularly and why.

We discussed Qu’n, the Jamaican girl (“She doesn’t say “HEY MON”).  We discussed the fact that Hunter had “anger issues” and that his mom was “HOT!”.  We talked about ADHD and my son stated that he thought Hunter might have ADHD.

I had really run out of questions.

“Come on MOM! This is a question YOU should ask me.” he demanded.

Tired and really wanting to end this game, I begged for a hint.

“Mom, you did not ask me if any of my classmates were ADOPTED!” he said in surprise.

Heh. He’s right. I did not. It did not occur to me. Why would I ask that?

But my son, the son who knows how the loss of his sister to adoption has affected our family, HE asks. It is on his mind. He expects it to be on mine as well. Clearly since learning of his sister lost to adoption, he has a new qualifier for his class mates.

“Oh, right. Well, is anyone?” I ask.

“Yup. John.  He told the class once and no one believed him. I mean, I have seen his mom. They look alike. Usually adopted kids are not the same color as their parents, you know?” he replies.

“Well, that’s sometimes true and sometimes not. Your sister sort of looks like her adopted mother. Sometimes they try to make matches based on looks so they can pretend that the child really was born by the adoptive aprents. Do the kids make fun of John for being adopted?” I asked.

“Nope. It’s no big deal. No one really cares. But wait, why would anyone pretend a child that was born to another mother was theirs?” he replied.

“Yet they did not believe him? That must have made John feel kinda bad. And I really don’t know why anyone would pretend a child that is adopted was theirs.” I responded.

“Well, once, when his mom came in the class, Kanija asked her if it was true” he told me.

“Oh? What did she say?” I asked.

“She just said “Yes” really short and then walked away. She was kind of rude about it” my son informed me.

“Oh, maybe she thought it was no ones business” I responded.

“What’s the big deal?” my son responded as he rolled over on his side and began to tickle his younger brother.

I rolled to my side and feigned sleep so the questions could end. There are some major big deals in adoption I thought. It was however, not the time to educate my son.  He knows the pain his mother carries daily. I suspect with time he will have a better understanding of the big deal as well.

2 Thoughts.

  1. Your son is very insightful. Which I am sure he gets from his mom. This reminds me of my grandson, Jordan, who is 12, and also likes being asked questions, LOL. He’s actually my step-grandson — the son of my stepson, Jeff — but I am the only grandma on his dad’s side of the family he has ever known. Jeff’s mother died when he was 13. After Jordan starting asking me questions “carrying daddy in my tummy,” I told Jeff it was time he knew. Jeff was hesitant, perhaps didn’t want his son to have to think about a mother dying. But he did, and shortly thereafter Jordan came for a visit. He told me about it and said I was still his grandma. A year later, it was as if nothing had ever been said. Every now and then, I’ll do something and he’ll say, “so that’s where Daddy gets that,” or “that must be why I do that.” No big deal, at least for now.

  2. It is hard to explain when it is really hard to justify ourselves. I have a time when it hurts me so bad I could only imagine how it makes my kids feel. That is why we take baby steps on a daily basis. Does it ease you to know your daughter was loved? Do you get along with her adoptive family?
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