"Mom, did you know..." His eyes sparkle as he leans forward, his gaze fixed with mine over our dinner plates. "Did I know what bud?"
My six year old leans even closer and I wonder if he is going to end up in his plate, "That sometimes two women can get married?"
I pause slightly and then nod, "Yes, I did know that and two men can get married as well."
His eyes grow large and he asks in a voice filled with awe, "But why would they?"
Without even pausing this time, I say, "Because when some women grow up, they realize that they can't fall in love with a boy and instead, they fall in love with another girl. It is the same thing with some men, they just can't fall in love with a woman. There is nothing wrong with it and it is the choice they make."
He nods as though what I have said makes complete sense and I wonder if it really does. My mind is running through what I shoulda, coulda and probably woulda said if I had been given some time to formulate my answer. James is watching me from across the table and I can tell that he is thankfully the question was directed at me, instead of him. He gives me a slight nod and I realize that the explanation must have been good enough.
I return to my meal thinking that the discussion was at a close until...
"But how do they have babies? You need a man and a woman to have babies."
Okay, obviously it isn't over. I set down my fork, glance at my husband who has suddenly become very interested in his meal. I know that I'm a pretty good cook but I am positive that I am not that good.
"Well, they adopt," I say. Thankfully, I don't need to explain adoption to him.
He turns his head slightly and I know that he is thinking about it. He picks up a piece of food, pops it into his mouth and starts to chew slowly. I know that he is processing things and I wait for a few seconds before picking up my own fork. Just as I do, Gabriel, who has been quiet for the entire conversation says, "They also get medical intervention to have babies on their own...well, at least the women do."
I nearly drop my fork as Michael's head jerks up like a hound dog on the scent of something interesting. I shoot my oldest a "why did you do that" look just as my youngest says, "What's medical intervention?"
Clearing my throat I answer, "Well, medical intervention is when a doctor will help a woman have a baby. They often help two women who are married and can't have kids together."
"Oh, well, how do they do that?"
I glare at James, who is still completely enamored with food on his plate. "Well, you know how they need stuff from the dad..."
"Yeah, they call it sperm and the mom has the eggs."
I sigh...thank you human body book that Michael had checked out of his school library..."Yes, sperm and the egg from the mom is called ovum."
"Well, they take both of those and in a lab mix them together and put that into the mom..."
"They call that an embryo Michael and it is the embryo that grows into a baby," Gabriel chimes in...so very helpful.
James is now looking up from his plate with a huge smile on his face and I know he is laughing at me. I shudder...If I was a sane person, I would have nipped this in the bud and said it wasn't polite dinner conversation. But of course, I'm not sane obviously. Anyways, our dinners are lively. We usually talk about everything. Wars, politics, religion, things going on at school, philosophical views...you name it...if we can converse about it, then we will. What had originally started as a quick question and answer was turning into a 9th grade health class lesson (or is it 5th grade now).
"Yes, the embryo grows into the baby."
"Oh, I know that, I saw it at the Science Center."
Yeah Science Center!
Michael falls silent processing all the wonderful information. "Do men who marry men get medical intervention?"
"No, the doctors can't help them have babies on their own so they usually adopt."
And with that, the table falls silent and we finally return to our meal. The conversation returns to regular things and thankfully Gabriel doesn't decide to broach the topic of world governments. Right now he is trying to piece together the difference between Communism, Fascism, Socialism and Nationalism and my mind just isn't in the mood to help him tackle them.
As dinner is almost finished, Michael, who had remained quiet during the rest of the meal suddenly said, "Mom, do you think that when I grow up, I should figure out a way for two men to have a baby together without adopting?"
I stop, not sure what to answer when he says, "I think that would make a lot of people happy because everyone should be allowed to have their own kids."
I smile, "Yes, I think that would make a lot of people happy as well."
With that, the conversation was through but I had to stop and watch my kids. That they are so accepting of other people makes me proud of them. The question about gay marriage wasn't a negative thing. They didn't seem to even be that worried by it but the one thing that Michael got from that whole conversation was an idea on how to make people happy. Regardless of race, sex or creed, the most important thing is that people are happy.
I think that many times, as I struggle to give answers to questions I would rather not have been asked, I am the one learning from my children and they are teaching me to be accepting of a world that isn't just black and white.