I just found out today. Imagine my surprise when he told me. All this time, five years now, when I looked back fondly at my pregnancy with him (not to mention the photos of me looking like a giant Russian nesting doll with the little doll inside, and then the subsequent photos taken at the hospital when the doctors helped get the nesting doll out), I remembered it being me who was the birth mother. The insurance bills tell me I am. The stretch marks tell me I am.
“You’re not,” says Short, in a voice of authority, “I was adopted.”
“Really?” I reply, wondering if Tall was also adopted and I dreamed that pregnancy, complete with morning sickness and peanut butter cravings, as well, “How exactly did you find this out?”
“I just knew it,” he shrugs, like he’s explaining the fact that the sun and the moon are in the sky: everyone just knows. “My real family is in Antarctica.”
I drop the stack of neatly-folded t-shirts I am holding. Antarctica! At least he didn’t say Mars.
“Wow, that’s great.” I pick up the t-shirts and smile at him, not wanting to disparage his Eskimo heritage.
“So I don’t have to do what you say, because you are not my real mother,” he says firmly, as he pushes back the crumpled pile of his freshly-laundered pajamas and swimsuits that he was supposed to help me fold. Do it yourself, you mommy-impostor!
“Short, come on, Sweetie,” I say, already weary of the charade, “I have photos of us together at the hospital. You’ve seen the pictures a million times, the ultra-sound ones where you are inside my tummy, and then where you are born at the hospital.” The voice of reason.
“Yeah, well, the doctors thought you were pregnant, Mommy, but actually you were just fat.” Another shrug. Sun/ moon/ sky/ fat mommy. Poor, poor delusional mommy, ignoring reality once again.
“Why didn’t your other family take you with them to Antarctica, then?”
“They don’t have babies in Antarctica! They would freeze to death!” He shakes his head at Mommy’s stupidity.
I study my sweet boy. His gray-blue eyes are mine, his wide smile is The Husband's, his pale skin: all mine. His broad shoulders scream The Husband, as does his gravelly laugh.
“Short, come on. Help me match up your socks. Here.” I hand him some white socks.
“Do you want to know more about my real family?” he inquires. “They are invisible!”
Which is how I feel once again.
(“Mom: Other Version”)