BioMom had to take an overnight trip for work so maybe it was just that having one of us around seemed easier or something but tonight was the night that she asked the question.
She's been a bit curious about her private parts this week for some reason. Perhaps she only recently got a good look at them and they seemed strange. This launched a conversation on the topic of the female anatomy and what everything does. She's okay with this. We've had similar discussions at only the depths that she has been ready for, for years. For example, she is aware that at some point in the future she will menstruate. So yes, this was not an unusual sort of path and I was, therefore, still highly unaware of where we were going with it. I'd go so far as to say I was extremely naieve.
At some point I dropped the "s" word. A word that I had never used before with her. A word that sounded, suddenly VERY adult.
At this, she responded: I know something.
She had clearly heard this word before and was under the impression that this was something that only men and women and, therefore, was definitely NOT something that occured in our little three-girl-one-little-boy household.
She went on to say that she was aware (clearly, by the way she was speaking, this information had not come from us) that it takes a man and a woman to have a baby (this part has come from us) and that two women cannot, absolutely cannot produce a baby (this part not from us, although, obviously, true. It's just that we've never actually come out with those words. At some point a while back she asked if it took a man to help make her and we answered yes and she walked away happily, that being enough information at the time).
So now, this question: What is the name of the man that helped you have me?
Whoa. It was like an anvil to the head. She had worked it all out for herself at some level. Without our help at all. She was matter-of-fact comfortable and this question sounded like some curious artifact that would help her simply slip the last, most difficult blue-sky-on-blue-sky piece into the puzzle that was her life to make it complete.
It was also serious relief. Oh! I thought. Of course! She just wants to know his name! How obvious!
But only those four-digit identifying numbers rushed into my brain. No names. No photographs. No beers-by-the-fire. No relationships whatsoever.
This launched what I'll call "the rest of the discussion." . . . When a man and a woman can't make a baby, or a woman and a woman or a man and a man want to make a baby. . . Some really nice women donate an egg to help people who can't make a baby and some nice men donate sperm to help other people make a baby. . . Blah Blah Blah.
I probably over-talked.
I have been known to be guilty of this.
But she seemed somewhat relieved to know some of the facts. That there was a doctor. That we've never met the man. That he was one of those nice people who donated of himself (literally in this case--not like dropping a little envelope into the basket at church) to help others.
When we were about to wrap it up, after her preferred song, and when her eyelids were falling and sleep was near, I had one last thing to say.
Me: You know, this means that you and I are not genetically related.
I touched her shoulder and then touched my chest, emphasizing our connection.
I'm not sure she understood the concept of being genetically related and I didn't feel it appropriate to go into the whole eye color thing at that time.
Me: But I feel like I've known you forever. For like a thousand years.
She: Like we were reincarnated?
This topic comes up, believe it or not, a lot when you are an atheist living in a household of catholics, one of which attends a catholic school. You feel like you've got to defend your position once in a while.
She: Me too.