Chris started asking me that question about eight months ago. Where do babies come from? The first time he asked me I broke into a cold sweat before stammering that he was too young and that we would discuss it when he was older. A month later when he asked again I opened a bottle of beer and, following a long drink, vaguely explained that men and women have different bodies. The third explanation — which I am not at all proud of — involved a knife. Yesterday, when he asked me for the fourth time, I finally told him the truth.
Chris: Please just tell me where babies come from.
(And so I did. More or less.)
Chris: That’s (lengthy pause) awful.
I thought my answer was age appropriate, but when I recounted it to Todd he ran screaming from the kitchen and then pretended to vomit all over the couch.
In retrospect, I suppose my answer was better suited to an Animal Planet documentary on reptile sex or a really low-budget horror movie on SyFy. All the same it got me thinking about the questions Chris would ask me in the years to come and it made me consider how I would answer them and would I field them any better than I had the baby question?
Some questions I look forward to. Chris is Native American, a descendant of a small tribe in Northern California with less than 3000 living members. One day he will have questions about his heritage and when he does I will have the privilege of helping him to explore his ancestry. And while it might make Columbus Day and Thanksgiving a little less festive, with those answers he can be proud of his place in history (and, as a bonus, fully appreciate his amazing cheekbones).
And then there are the other questions. One day Chris will ask about his birth parents, these two strangers who made him. Like most kids in foster care he did not end up there because he had a super awesome start in life. As a general rule of thumb, children are not taken from good parents. So how exactly do I navigate those muddy waters? How do I explain who they were in a way that will not make him run screaming from the kitchen? (Please understand, I’m not looking for answers because until we are in that moment, there are no answers.)
For now I’ll take the easy questions. Where do babies come from? Please. I got this covered. In fact, let me just draw you a picture…