The chicken marsala is delicious and my husband looks half dead. He doesn't eat, and I worry that our new friend, J, won't like what I am serving for dinner. Even if it is delicious. Stomach flu is not fun.
I love your curly hair, J. You don't get that from your dad- his hair is straight. Does your mom have curly hair?
I have never met his mom, but J's family seems nice. He's a new friend that likes to play outside in our backyard. This is the first time he's stayed for dinner. He doesn't have a Southern accent. His dad is also a doctor. This is what I know.
No, my mom doesn't have curly hair, either.
Oh, well, if you don't get it from your dad or your mom, how do you come by your curls?
I'm prying, but I don't realize it. I don't think. I just talk, worrying about the dirty house and the chores to be done and the stomach flu and how many hours it is until John leaves and I have all the kids by myself while he goes to Vegas.
So the obvious answer surprises me.
Well, my birth mom has curly hair.
Thwunk. I am a knight de-horsed by the words of an 8 year old. I land hard.
I pause to consider my next words, but I can think of none. My horse gallops away. My armor is heavy on my limbs.
Oh. So you are adopted.
He nods. It's no big deal to him.
Well, Anna is adopted. And we think adoption is pretty special.
What am I saying? Shut up! Special? Special? All I can come up with is SPECIAL?
I realize this is the first time I have come to know that a child is adopted from the child. Not the parents, not the setting, but the child. Just a kid telling his story.
The way Anna says "I'm dopted" sounds different in my ears. The words ring in my head like the clanging reverberations of metal on metal. My armor falls off. I feel vulnerable. For me, or for him?
John, silent until now, speak.
You know, Abigail is adopted, too.
J straightens in his seat. Eyes dart between Abigail, John and I. I nod.
Yep, she came from my belly, but her dad adopted her when we got married.
J breaks into smile.
That's cool. Adoption really is special.