Right now. Right this minute. I'm sitting at the computer, composing this blog post. The apartment is very, very, quiet. Ruby is fast asleep in her room. Joe is snoring quietly in ours. We didn't get to bed until very late, plans had changed at the last minutes as they often do and we ended up meeting Marissa in Kingston and Ruby switched cars. It was like she switched gears at the same time. An energy bomb went off in the back seat.
We heard Christmas songs. We answered, wrongly as it turned out, the question, 'Do you want to hear how loud I can scream now?' An unending flow of words came from the back. Joe and I looked at each other, I could read his thoughts, 'She'll be asleep soon.' She wasn't. But gradually the noise began to become quieter and the Ruby who loves to chat abandoned the songs and the loud noises and the silly games.
And it became the Inquisition.
Why do we live together?
Does Joe have a job?
Why do we call each other 'dear' sometimes, like boys call girls and girls call boys?
Do our Moms and Dads know that we live together?
These questions were surprisingly easy to answer. I believe that if children are old enough to ask a question, they are old enough to get a serious answer. We gave simple, clear answers. Avoiding detail and information that is meant for an older more sophisticated child. We knew already that Ruby is fascinated by 'relationships'. She understands cousins and uncles and aunts and grandparents. She loves to see how people are connected to each other. So we explained everything within that context. She had a surprisingly easy acceptance of the fact that families could be formed by love and choice. In fact, she thought that a really, really, good idea.
After getting home, she was sitting in the office chair, I was in my wheelchair and Joe was sitting on the edge of the big chair. We made a very small circle in the office area of the apartment. She was eating a fruit cup, I was having a tea, Joe was sipping on a cold beer. It had all fallen silent fora moment. She looked up and said, 'How come everyone is so quiet.' I said, 'Cause we're just enjoying being together.'
She got a sly smile and said, 'Like a family.'
The kid does listen.
I wish more people did.