Monkey and his friend J had the sweetest little conversation over dinner yesterday, and it showed me just how different the world looks before you grow up and collect prejudice and fear of what’s different along the way. Through a child’s eyes, the world is exciting, amazing and funny. That innocent and joyful curiosity coupled with the acceptance only a child can express are so beautiful.
J has two mums, and he is the perfect example of a child with a happy and harmonious home life – he is confident, well mannered and cheerful. Even the fact that I am pointing this out shows my own shortcomings as an adult and it probably sounds almost like I’m saying he’s all these great things in spite of his family constellation. I want to be clear on that this is NOT what I mean to say – I am saying that of course he’s all these things and why wouldn’t he be!
“How did your mums meet?” Monkey asked J whilst shuffling another chicken nugget drenched in ketchup into his mouth.
“Well, [Mum A] was [Mum B]’s teacher at university.”
“Was she her favourite teacher?” Monkey inquired with a knowing little smile.
“I guess she must have been!” J replied and both boys giggled.
“She must be, like, the best teacher EVER! Mrs B is nice but I don’t love her!” Monkey laughed.
I could see the wheels turning inside Monkey’s head and at the same time as I did worry a bit about hard to answer questions, I also really wanted their conversation to continue, if only because it was so lovely to see how two 10-yearold boys casually discussed same-sex relationships the way their generation is growing up to see them – like any other relationship where two people happen to love each other. Kind of: two mums, so what?
“So which one of your mums actually gave birth to you?” Monkey asked after having thought it over a little.
“[Mum B],” J said.
“Oh. Did she give birth to your brother too or was that [Mum A]?”
“You look the same,” Monkey pointed out.
“I know!” J said and smiled.
And that was that. Not the slightest hint of anything other than curiosity – if only the world looked that way, the way it does for children who haven’t yet learnt to be prejudiced. What I also loved was how they talked about J’s mums and who gave birth to which brother didn’t make any difference, they were J and his brother’s mums equally. Beautiful. I do hope Monkey’s generation really is the one where race and sexuality at least won’t ever matter.
I did hold my breath a little, thinking that the next question from Monkey might have been who J’s father is or how his mums came to be pregnant with him and his older brother respectively, but even though that question didn’t come I’m sure there would have been another honest, simple and most of all real and factual answer with Monkey going “oh, I see.”
If our children are the future, it’s a very bright one indeed.