Out Of The Mouths Of Babes
Seeing the world through a child’s lens can be fun, endearing, surprising or all of the above. I recently had three lovely and memorable conversations during a trip to Italy.
The first was a conversation I had in a café with a five-year-old girl named Adriana. Adriana had a rockin’ Hello Kitty scooter which my daughter Elly was eyeing. Elly had her doll Cindy in her stroller (who has now racked up some frequent flier miles of her own). As the girls played, Adriana scooted up to me and asked:
"Are you Elly’s father?"
"Yes, I am."
"Where’s her mother?"
And there it was. I didn’t want to lie but I also wasn’t feeling quite up to the task to partake in a complete educational moment.
"She’s in New York"
I thought to myself that the answer was one part true and one part cowardly. (Hmm... If I mixed that with my Capari Soda what would we call the resulting drink? A Red Pussy?)
"When is she coming?"
"What happened? Did she kick you out?"
"Um, no. She’s just not coming."
Then I chuckled. And just like that Adriana zoomed off and I went back to my Campari likely thinking about this exchange a lot more than Adriana had.
The second conversation was with my cousin’s eight-year-old daughter, Anna. This exchange was equally funny though it had a much different tone. Going into this particular conversation, I knew that Anna was fully aware of the details of my family unit and thus I felt more comfortable having a conversation with her. I was also still feeling a little cowardly from my chat with Adriana and was glad to have a chance at redemption.
"Are you Elly’s mother or father?" she asked.
Fortunately, my inner filter was working well enough so as not to reply with "Well, the absence of a vagina would disqualify me from being her mother." Instead I responded with "I’m one of her fathers."
"Who’s the other one?"
"My husband, Greg" I replied, thinking that while I was definitely not the only gay in the village, I was unequivocally the only one who was legally married to a man.
"Why don’t you have a wife?" she continued. (This gal is a firecracker! I imagine Elly just like this in about five years time. Nobody pulls the wool over her eyes and she’ll keep asking questions until her curiosity has been satiated.
"Because I didn’t want one."
And there it was - my moment of Zen. She went and played with her other cousins, satisfied with my answers. I was pleased with how I handled this particular exchange. Later, her mom and I laughed about it.
And the last adorable conversation was with Elly. While in Italy, we shared a bedroom. Though Elly had her own bed, she preferred to sleep with Daddy, especially to initially go to sleep. We had many cute conversations. As I was cuddling her one night before going to sleep, she said "My love you, Daddy" as she stroked the back of my hair (what a role reversal).
"And I love you too Elly."
"You hold me tomorrow when my wake up?"
"Of course I will."
"And then my say my love you tomorrow."
I melted. The innocence and simplistic view of life as a child is both adorable and profound.
"And I love you tomorrow, too."
Since Greg and I are asked quite frequently if we’ll adopt another child, I decided to ask Elly what she thought.
"Elly, would you like a baby brother or baby sister?"
She sat up at attention, "Like Delilah?" (Her best friend Nathan’s baby sister)
"Yes, like Delilah"
"Sure," she answered using an expression that reminded me of how often I use the same term.
"Where should we get one?"
"We buy one in the supermarket?"
I laughed and gave her a big kiss. Ah, if it were only that easy.
"My love you, Elly."