National Adoption Month. Where Do Storks Come From?

stork-and-baby
stork-and-baby

“Father?” Said the almost five year old. “Listen, there is something I’ve been thinking about. You and I have been watching a lot of classic television programing lately. Shows like Tom and Jerry and Dumbo and I’ve noticed that in them, often a Stork drops off a baby to Moms and Dads.”

“Yes?” I answer while thinking, “Here we go. It’s time to talk about his adoption story. Where’s Mom? It’s something her and I have had on our to-do list but just haven’t gotten to. Damn you MarioKart.”

“So in these shows,” He continues. “The families always receive their babies from flying Storks. They are dropped from the moonlit sky and the little ones float in under a full parachute safely to land on the doorstep of their eager families. I’ve seen a Stork drop little elephants, giraffe and humans. All sorts of things. But what I’m wondering is this. Who brings the Storks?”

“Uh, I’m not sure I follow?”

“Well. A Stork flying around with a baby llama is quite a sight. Clearly that’s not the Storks child. It doesn’t look like her. It doesn’t even have wings. The same with a baby alligator. The Stork is going to drop off the alligator to an alligator family. Why would a Stork be flying around with an alligator if not to drop it off at its real family? But why would she deliver a Stork to another Stork? Wouldn’t they be able to deliver their own baby? Is this why we never see them flying around with a baby Stork in the basket?”

“There is a lot to cover here?” I said. “Maybe we should wait for your Mom to get home. I think I’m going to go play some MarioKart.”

“I guess my question is this. Where do Storks come from?”

“Just so we are clear here, Son.” I ask him. “We are talking about Storks right? The bird.”

“Of course we are Father. What else would it be? I understand that when a Stork is flying around with a potbellied pig in her basket or cloth sack no one would guess that it is hers because the pig looks so different. Same with a baby zebra. But if the reason we never see Storks flying around with their own is because Storks deliver themselves… where do Storks come from?”

“Okay. First of all. Families are made of all types of animals. Moms and Dads adopt children from other species and they make beautiful families. Even when they look different and have different features. Sometimes a bird may have a donkey for a son and that is just fine. Or a monkey. Second. Storks do fly around with other Storks. Just not in the basket. Baby birds can fly too so they just fly alongside their parents.”

“Surely they can’t fly at birth. How do they get to their parents houses?”

“Magic.” I said.

“That’s not true.”

“A Genie in a bottle.” I answer.

“Like Aladdin?”

“Yes.”

“I don’t believe that answer either.”

“Amazon Prime. They come in those brown boxes.”

“Oh. That makes sense. Amazon drops off all the babies that way right? Then on moonlit nights, the Storks fly them to their families?” He asks.

“Yep. You got it. Until the drones take over. They will put all the Storks out of business.”

“Oh. One more thing?” He asks. “Am I adopted?”

“Yes. And we love you very much.”

“Thanks Dad. Can we order a sister from Amazon?”

My Son. My Chronological Yardstick

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spacegrowththinEvery memorable event in my life that happened before the spring of 2010 is filed away in my brain with a five year buffer. My mental calendar from the era before I had a child is ordered in half decade increments. When did I graduate college?

“I was done wearing flannel shirts by that time... mid to late 90's?”

Since my son was born he has become a yardstick on which I measure time. Instead of just inches marked off on the door frame I see months and the corresponding historical events. I look at his growth notches on the wall like a geologist sees the colors of a canyon.

My brother was married the month our son’s adoption was official. June 2010.

February 2011 he started scooting around the coffee table on his way to becoming bipedal.

In addition to tagging my memory with his chronology, I’ve watched the evolution of mankind as he’s inched his way up my leg. His descent from the crib akin to early man deciding that a tree wasn’t such a great place to raise a family. Soon after conquering land he began grunting and sketching crude drawings on the walls. This led to the use of simple tools and more complete sentences and an attempt to overthrow the established rules of the house. He assumed he was smarter than his elders but didn’t yet realize that we control the food and the bath toys.

It’s just a matter of time before I catch him sitting around a plastic round table with his playmates playing Rock Paper Scissors to decide who gets to be Braveheart this time.

“They will never take away our Freedom!”

I can’t wait for him to catch up with the 1960’s human and enter the space race in the backyard. Am I allowed to impart my wisdom onto him or do I have to let him fail in order to achieve global dominance? Does he need to lose a few model Estes rockets because my interference will disrupt the space time continuum? I’d hate to walk back inside after properly staging his rocket engines when he’s not looking to find my image fading in the few physical photos we have on the wall.

And when he actually becomes smarter than his elders I’ll be certain to hide the growth chart from him so he can’t rewrite history. It will be saved for posterity so I can remind him where he came from if his power becomes too great for him to handle.

“Right there. That is when you first inched up to my waistline.”

Hopefully he will still look up to me as he did then.

If not, I'll just take away his bath toys.

Though We May Not Share Blood

porch
porch

Since his birth in 2010, I’ve wondered when we would start seeing our traits in him. Without the blood bond biological children share with their parents I’ve been anxious to see us in him in ways that must be distinctly learned.  Along those lines, I’ve also been anxious to uncover the surprises we will find as he matures. Will there be a gait, posture or curiosity that is neither mom nor dad but then seconds later a stance or pose that is uniquely us? Like me, will he look foolish when he dances?  When he says “Okedokee” will I hear my Nana?

One of my favorite scenes in the movie Jaws is when Captain Brody is sitting at the table with his young son stewing over how best to save Amity Beach from the killer shark. Lost in his thoughts he takes a drink from his glass and looks up to see his son do the same. Quietly, he continues with a few hand movements and watches his son mimic him. It’s a silent game of Simon Says at the dining room table between father and son.

529 jaws-brody-and-son
529 jaws-brody-and-son

I had my first game of Simon Says with Judah this weekend while spending a few days in the Shenandoah Mountains with the family at a friend’s cabin. Breakfast one morning, the boy was eating Cheerios on a TV tray in the living room. I poured myself a bowl and took it outside to eat on the porch overlooking the woods. Silently, he left his spot and brought his bowl outside to eat, standing up and looking out over the mountains with me.

In his world it must have been such a grown up thing to do. Eat outside. Barefoot. While standing up!

In my world my son was a spitting image of me. Barefoot with bedhead and not a care in the world.

That’s my boy.

Awaiting the baby

Now we wait. Who would have thought the baby would go full term? Maybe it would be different if the baby was in our belly and we had some signs or something. Maybe we'd know "This is it... today is the day. Pack your bags honey... we're fixin to go!"As it is, all we can do it wait... constantly checking our phones. Everyday is Christmas Eve, Groundhog day and a snow day - wrapped up in one. The due date is less than a week away and we've been keeping ourselves busy by keeping busy. I've organized my LP's a few times and mopped and vacuumed and today I may wax the floors. I've been intentionally leaving chores undone to give me something to do the next day.

On a personal note though...

I beat my high score in the long jump on my arcade version of Track and Field and have leveled up to 52 on Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 on XboxLive and have gotten so good online, that I have begun talking trash.

But in the meantime, we wait. Maybe we'll watch some movies.