Beading hair. Picking off ticks. Fixing six hundred thousands dishes of tuna fish with relish because her daddy just ain't know how to mix it right.
And this, yesterday: "Mama? What is the big deal about abortions, anyway?"
*** *** ***
Now, mind you, I knew I was going to have to deal with this question some day. But the kid just turned eight. In May.
I was sitting at the breakfast table reading a SF novel and drinking coffee. She had been reading a Hank the Cowdog book and eating a waffle, without syrup, right from the toaster, which she likes to do. I studied her across my book. "Um," I said. Then I said, "That's really sort of a question you're not ready for."
"Tell me," she insisted.
I looked at mr. delagar. He looked back. You're the mama, that look said. Fucking coward, my look said back.
"Where did you hear about abortions?" I hedged.
She gave me an annoyed look. "You. You were talking about them yesterday? When you said George Bush was an f-word idiot and people had only voted for him because they believe him when he--"
"Oh, right. That was me." I drank more coffee. "All right. Well. You know what an abortion is, right?"
"Yes," she said, uncertainly. "It's when a mama doesn't want a baby, right? So she doesn't have it?"
"Not exactly." I went into stages of fertilization, and blastula, and embryos, and fetuses, and implantation on the uterine wall. "But all of this is almost beside the point," I told her. "This is the point. Are you listening?"
"Who owns your body?" I asked. Now this is the dance we have been doing since she was two, since before she knew what the words meant. So she knows the answer to that question.
"I do," she told me.
"So who has the right to decide what happens to that body?"
"That's right. The reason laws against abortion are wrong is they give someone else the right to decide what you do with your body. Who should decide what happens to your body?"
"I should," she said, with absolute certainty.
"That's right," I agreed. "Because it's your body. That's really all there is to it."
1 hour ago