Discussion I was happy to get into recently with my son, which I did not prompt in any way. In the car, which is sometimes where we have great chats:
D: Mom, did you know if two women get married they can both have babies but if two men get married, they can’t have any babies, because men can’t have babies?
After I brushed nonchalantly over the fact that he mentioned without even the slightest hiccup two women and two men getting married, it gave me a nice opportunity to discuss adoption with him. I reminded him the general lengths me and his Dad went to in order to have him (IVF), which he knows about, and that at one point we considered adopting since we weren’t having a lot of luck having a baby of our own. I talked about a friend of his he knows who is adopted, and pointed out that families are made of many shapes and sizes. I reminded him of a friend from preschool who lived with his Dad and his older brother who he knew had a mother who had died. The Dad was getting remarried by the time we left preschool and he remembered that and mentioned it. I also mentioned that many people have a relationship or a marriage and don’t have any children at all, because not everyone wants children, and some people, like my friend A, have many children, and love having a big family. That I had another friend, J, who lives in another state, and she has SIX children! And that some people live together but don’t get married. Or were once married and don’t want to be again, and prefer to live alone, like grandma. Or get married many times, like my one aunt who has been married three times, and my one uncle, who was married SEVEN times (and that one was actually a keeper – they were married for decades until he died). And that some people live with their grandparents and their kids together, or even instead of a mom or dad. Families take all sorts of shapes and sizes and what binds them together is love.
But mostly I was just pleased that he has already absorbed that anyone who wants to get married can and should get married if they want to.
Now that he’s in the group therapy session, he is getting to know the word “divorce.” Also in the car this weekend, he was complaining like he often does about why don’t we have a house and how he really wants to have an upstairs. Despite my being very clear that many, many people live in houses without an upstairs, or a basement, which he also wants, or a big yard, which he also whines about, he often mentions houses he has been in where they have an upstairs and/or a basement. He insisted this weekend we should go and visit a relative of mine who, last time we visited, had a very big house with an upstairs AND a basement and sassily told me, “How come they have one?” I figured it was a good a time as any to inform him that they no longer have that house, they are getting divorced and said relative lives in an apartment now, very much like the one we live in, with the relative’s child. He asked why. I said it doesn’t matter why, that’s not our business. They’ve decided that would be best for their family, to not live together all of them anymore. This is pretty much the party line I’ve given him about my own deal as well, as has his Dad.
Hopefully encountering and learning more and more about situations where families take many different shapes and sizes and live in many different kinds of dwellings will help make our normal seem more normal to him. He seems to be over the very, very nasty bad behavior stint he was in the last couple of times he visited, and we had a really pleasant day yesterday overall, if exhausting. It was good to put him to bed feeling exhausted but not regretful for being short with him or losing my temper, for us having been productive and gotten things done, for getting some exercise in, for getting him outside in the unusually warm day that visited us yesterday.
We did a few minutes of guided meditation last night before he went to bed. I had him lay on the floor and we held hands and took a few minutes to just listen, then talk quietly about each thing we heard. And smelled. And felt physically. He can’t do it for a terribly long time, he’s restless, but it was a few minutes of connection and focus and it was nice. I think sometimes that stuff is slowly, slowly working. This morning when we went outside to get in the car, I noticed the stars aloud to him. I always point things out to him when we come outside. The leaves changing, the sun rising, or as it was this morning, the beauty of how clear it was and how many stars we could see. He stopped in the parking lot and actually pointed several of them out, and we speculated on what each one might be. He pointed out a plane “because it’s blinking.”
I could swear I saw a shooting star.