Humored by his tone and wording, as though he was sharing this news on her behalf, I turned to Arayla, who met my raised eyebrows with her clear, steady, deep blue gaze. She shrugged at me: “Yeah: I’m not sure. I do think I want to experience being a mother, though. Maybe I will adopt?” Keeping my heart and voice as open and neutral as possible, I said: “Adoption is an amazing way to mother a child.” She nodded, then added: “Yeah. I just think it’s hard to imagine ever deciding it would be a good idea to PUSH A WHOLE BABY out of my YONI?!”
I laughed with delight at her honesty. She continued: “That sounds like it would hurt, Mom. A lot. Way more than a bee sting.” I looked tenderly at her sweet blossoming self, sitting in the passenger seat with her dirty jeans and soft white t-shirt and her messy hair with little pine needles stuck in it, exposing some recent 10-year-old wild romp on the earth. I said truthfully: “It can hurt a lot to give birth, that’s true. It’s certainly intense. But it’s also one of the most amazingly powerful experiences a woman can ever have. A life-changing gift of an experience. And: you absolutely don’t need to give birth to be a mother.”
Then Ezra, clearly wanting to still participate in the conversation he had initiated, said: “Well, don’t worry, Mom. Because I am KNOWING I want to be a father and have lots of babies.” And Arayla said to him, directly, not meanly: “Well~ maybe easier for you to know that Ezra? Considering all you have to do to have a baby is squirt out some seed from your penis? But I’d have to grow the big baby inside my body, then push the baby out of my yoni, then feed the baby, for like, YEARS, from my breasts. It’s a lot more of a job for a girl, you know.”
I could hear in the silence Ezra frowning in the back, feeling insulted without exactly knowing why. And so I said: “What lucky babies to have you as their Papa, Ezra. How you will sing to them and rock them and cuddle them close? Oh! I can’t wait to meet those babies that come from you.” I looked in the mirror, and saw him looking out the window, a slight smile turning up on his lips. He said quietly, with clarity: “Yes, I will love them.” Then, Arayla, feeling his tenderness, in a gesture of loving remorse turned back to him in her seat, and said: “I’ll get to be your children’s Aunty!” And he reached his hand towards her, kindly, making peace, sighing deeply.
And then she sighed, and I sighed too; content. And so we drove on, with all our dear ancestors and beloved descendents sighing along sweetly, with us.