About a year ago I had a surprising conversation with one of my “Ours” babies. Now I don’t like to use this verbiage because I am all about unity but in order for you to understand what I am about to share, this point of reference is necessary.
Willie and I call her our LOVE child because she was the first child birthed out of our love union. The first sign of her recognizing her family dynamic happened when she was four. Like any other four year old, she loved to ask questions and learn new things. So one day, she began asking questions about her older siblings.
Gabrielle: “Mommy, Daddy’s wife died?”
Me: “Yes Gabby, she did. That was Autumn, Willie and Tone’s mommy.”
Gabrielle: “So their mommy died? I thought you were their mommy.”
Me: “Well I am, but I am a different kind of mommy for them. Since their mommy died, God blessed them with someone that could be like a mommy to them.”
Gabrielle: “Oh, are you my mommy?”
Me: “Yes, I am your mommy.”
Gabrielle: “And you didn’t die?”
Me: “No, I’m here now.”
Gabrielle: “Well, is Dominique and Darius daddy my daddy?”
Me: “No, daddy here is your daddy and their step daddy. ”
Gabrielle: “Oh, okay.”
And that was the end of the conversation. Kind of abrupt, I know.
But we all know the attention span of a four-year-old is not that great. Nonetheless, it left me with many questions. Where did this all come from? What other questions did she have? Did knowing the answers make her feel sad?
I knew it was only a matter of time before she would start asking more questions. With summer and holiday visits around the corner and her hearing stories about the older kids bio mom or dad, I only hoped I was able to give her a little more clarity about it all.
So about six months later, when my bio kids were visiting their dad, the conversation came up again.
This time, after seeing her older sister in school but seeing her leave with her dad after school, I saw in her eyes she felt she needed some answers. She looked confused and sad. So that evening in the car I decided to follow the nudging of my heart and engage her in conversation,
Me: “Hey Gabby, do you know why Dominique and Darius aren’t here?”
Gabrielle: “They are with their daddy, and I am with mine?”
She said in response, however I could tell her response was more of a question than a statement.
Me: “Yes, but after they visit their daddy, they will be back home with us!”
She looked a little relieved but still confused.
Me: “Do you want to know why Dominique and Darius have two daddies and Autumn, Willie and Tone have two mommies but you only have one?”
It was as if I had finally verbalized something her little mind hadn’t quite figured out how to put into words. Her face lit up, and she became fully engaged in the conversation.
Gabrielle: “Yes!” She said.
Me: “Well, there was a time when mommy was married to Dominique and Darius daddy. But we didn’t get along that well, and we were better to each other when we weren’t together. So we got a divorce. This is when two people that are married become unmarried. That isn’t going to happen to daddy and I though.”
She looked relieved. I continued.
Me: “And Autumn, Willie and Tone’s mommy got really sick, and Jesus decided that instead of keeping her here in pain, he would take her with Him where she could feel better forever.”
I paused for a moment to let her process that information. Plus I needed a way to bring hope back into the situation. So from there, I told her how Willie and I met at our best friends house, who she now knows as auntie and uncle.
And how we wrote a song together the first time we met , then we didn’t see each other for a while. And how one day, we finally got to see each other again and we started dating. And how he proposed to me and we had a beautiful wedding.
Me: “Then one day I told daddy I was pregnant. We went to the doctor and found out it was a little girl. So we started thinking of names. Maybe we’ll call her Renee.
Me: No. Maybe Denise.
Me: No. I know, how about Gabrielle!”
Her smile was priceless.
Gabrielle: “Me?” She said while grinning from ear to ear.
Me: “Yes, you!” I said with a smile.
Me: “Gabby, God knew that Dominique and Darius dad wouldn’t be around with them all the time and that would make them sad, so he sent daddy to help their dad out. And God knew that Autumn, Willie, and Tones mommy wouldn’t be here with them anymore, and that would make them sad, so he sent me.
Then God sent you to make our family whole!
Everyone in the house was sad and needed to be loved, and he sent us to love each other. That’s what makes us a family.”
With a big grin, she looked at my husband and I, gave us both kisses and finished watching Berenstain Bears in the back seat of our minivan. Willie and I looked at each other and smiled as we found peace in knowing that we had finally somewhat answered a question we knew was rising to the surface of her heart.
Honestly, at that moment, I didn’t know what I was going to say. I understood life as an “Ours” baby, as I have walked in those shoes myself, but I didn’t know how I would explain to my innocent five-year-old daughter why her life was less than normal (if normal even really still exist today). But with the wisdom of God, I figured it out. And for now, she has found contentment and resolve in the fact that although all the pieces of the puzzle may not fit perfectly, she is loved and wanted, and that’s what’s most important.