My daughter and I are super close. Probably most 3-year-old daughters and their mothers are really close, but having never had a 3-year-old before, it’s surprising to me. Like, I’ll literally think about something, like muffins, and my daughter will then say, “Mom I want to make muffins!” It’s eerie.
Now she knows that babies grow in the tummies of mommies. She likes to point out tummies with babies in them (even when that tummy is not necessarily a pregnant one, much to my embarrassment). I’ve tried to use this as a way to talk about adoption, and introduce what it means. “M, did you know that you grew in your other mommy’s tummy, before you came to live with me, when you were a tiny little baby?” And she usually says, “No, mommy. You’re silly. I was in YOUR tummy!” She seems to think I’m joking around. It is sort of heartbreaking, to have to tell my daughter that we were not, in fact, that close (physically) at any one time. That I did not grow her in my tummy, even though I wish I had. It opens the door to new heartbreak, and the question she will eventually ask: why didn’t my other mommy keep me?
Parenting babies and young toddlers is so breathlessly easy, although exhausting. You can keep things simple. Food, drink, potty, snuggles, play, and repeat. Now we get to the nitty gritty of life, the burning details, the sorrowful layers.
As politically incorrect as it is, I wish I could tell her she had grown in my tummy. I wish I never had to tell her that someone else couldn’t take care of her, or made choices that put her in danger. No matter how beautiful adoption is in the end, it’s always a tragedy at the start.