It was a beautiful day for a drive. My girl and I were on our way to my friends’ Michelle and Brittany’s house for the afternoon. The promise of a tractor ride was more than enough to get my usually slow child up and moving. She loves Michelle and follows her around like a puppy. As we drove to their house, she had a lot of questions. Out of the blue, she asked me if they had a cage. It took me a minute to grasp that she was a little nervous about their dog. Then she asked me, “Mommy, does Michelley have a husband?” Um, no she doesn’t. “Why not?” Because she lives with Britt. “Why?” Um…
I usually am pretty good at handling all the “Why?” that she throws my way but this one had me at a momentary loss for words. You see, Michelle is gay. She lives with her girlfriend, soon to be wife in a cute little house with their dog. They have a great, loving relationship. One I’m proud to have as a model for my daughter. But I didn’t know the right words to describe it to her without confusing her and, I admit, opening the gates of a thousand more questions.
I’m not sure when my girl became obsessed with husbands, boyfriends and getting married. Most days she still insists that she doesn’t want to get married—Thank goodness. She’s only five!—but she still is very curious about it. Michelle is Zoey’s first gay friend. It just hasn’t come up before. There are two things that bummed me out about our conversation. First, that this even needs to be explained. To anyone. I believe that love is love, no matter who it’s with. The other reason is that I felt so unprepared for this conversation. And then I felt dumb. I mean, plenty of kids have two moms or two dads. It’s been their normal since they were babies. So why was I worried about explaining this to my 5-year old? What harm could it do to tell her the truth? I’m not talking about a birds and the bees and “equipment” type of truth, but one about love.
At first I started telling her that Michelle didn’t need a husband. But that didn’t feel right. I want her to develop healthy relationships, not hate men! So I explained that Michelle and Britt were very good friends who love each other. That seemed to work for her. We arrived and were greeted by hugs and a tour of the house. I held my breath when Michelle showed Zoey “her room”, the guest room that was sleepover-ready, and then the only other bedroom that was shared by Michelle and Britt. I expected a bunch of questions but none came. Maybe letting her know that it’s about love is enough. When Michelle and Britt get married, now THAT is going to blow her mind. I’ll cross that bridge later.