Yesterday when I picked up my little guy from day care his teacher mentioned to me that my sweetie pie had had a tough day, spending most of it upset with a little friend because of teasing about his mommy. Me. My son was upset because his friend kept saying "Your mommy is my mommy." Seemingly innocent teasing. This is a good friend that my son looks forward to playing with every day, the same kid who my little guy constantly asks to have over for play dates. I didn't think much of it at the time. After all, kids are always looking for ways to annoy each other, right?
We get in the car and on the road and we discuss his day and the "Christmas junk: we see out the windows. We talk about dinner and the Wii football game he wants to play when we get home. Then he asks me if he is in trouble for getting mad at his friend. "Of course not", I say. "But he was just teasing you like you tease Daddy when you say you like college football. He was only teasing."
My son is quiet in his car seat for a few moments and then he says, "I don't like it when he teases me about that. You are my mommy, not his. I waited for you to come to get me in China and that is where babies are who need mommies. You are mine." Talk about a heart stopping moment. I nearly had to pull the car over to the side of the road. My son is a few months away from his fourth birthday. He knows he was born in China. He has read "Shaoey and Dot, Bug Meets Bundle". he has seen the photos of our life changing trip to China and he has heard the abbreviated toddler version of his story. He has listened quietly as I have answered nosy questions from strangers regarding his lineage. He is proud to be from China. Yes, he knows all of that. And yesterday I learned that he understands more than we thought. He gets it.
It's funny, really. There are so many moments in the course of daily life when an adoptive parent questions "Is this adoption or is this life?" Is the fact that my son has followed me from room to room of our home since the day he came home linked to a fear of abandonment he cannot yet express or is it typical young child behavior? As he gets older we will face more and more of these questioning moments. I rarely think of his odd quirks and occasionally poor behavior as being related to adoption. Adoption was the furthest thing from my mind yesterday when his teacher relayed the story of his spat with his little friend.
So I learned yesterday that my little guy does sometimes think about the rocky start to his life. I wonder what he will feel and think when he learns, when he is much older, just how rocky that start truly was. But I learned something even more important yesterday on that ride home from church. I learned just how very important I am to my little guy. He won't share me with anyone who didn't join his family the same way he did, "waiting for his mommy to come get him."