“Where do babies come from, Mom?”
It's the question du jour from the inquisitive four-year-old.
Especially a four-year-old whose new neighbor is getting ready to celebrate an entirely new birthday come the New Year.
And all this newness seems to attach itself quite indelibly and in opposite proportion to the fact that our little ones aren't so little any more.
It doesn't surprise me that the place to reminisce has always been around cakes with growing number of complexity and an increasing number of candles.
In fact, I'm beginning to think birthday parties and birth stories go together like cake and ice cream.
As you stand there watching your children tear through presents and serenade each other with off-key songs with added verses that have been around since you were a child yourself, or choruses of “cha-cha-chas” as is the new way, you can't help but go hurling back in time however many years to the moment this crazy, whirling dervish came into your life.
How many times have I mentioned that “I can't believe they'd let me take an infant home?” I'd hardly ever so much as babysat an infant besides a few minutes of holding them at arms-length, praying they wouldn't cry before their moms got back from the restroom.
So many women. So many stories.
And though each of us has a slightly different experience, we are part of a collective. I stand there blinking as I learn the majority at this party have had caesarian sections. Only one was lucky enough to go the natural, no-drugs way.
I stop myself from adding to the choruses of reassurance that having the doctor hatch them was the only way that our babies were ever coming out. Could things have been different is something I've filed away in that place that makes the disappointment less of a nagging reminder.
These days, though, I'm not doing a good job of reassuring myself that was entirely the case.
So many children. So many questions.
The Big Question, right about now is not exactly “Where do babies come from?” though, that's just how they ask it. They frown a little when you point to your abdomen and tell them they grew inside. “No no no no no no: “How do babies get out of your tummy?”
My best friend in the entire universe gently steered her son from his train table to a popular birth reality television show when a pushing, grunting, screaming woman brings life into the world the conventional way.
“That's pretty much how it works.”
He thought that was pretty cool.
I thought I got lucky … There's only reality for us.
All I have to do is point to my incision and remind them a doctor had to go in and get them.
As they look at me in naked awe, I know there's no need to rationalize the scars that brought them to me. All scars heal but only some scars remind you of something so amazing.