The girls have been getting along famously lately, aside from an occasional competitive rift that comes from time to time.
Today was one of those days where by the end, they were bickering about who danced the best in their dance class that afternoon or who can brush their teeth the fastest or, gasp, who eats more vegetables!
I’d had it and separated them at bathtime. This is considered a punishment because they love taking a bath together. They play games with a tea set we keep there. They write on the walls with soap crayons. They make the typical beards from bubbles. They see who can hold their breath the longest under water.
So, I separated them and they were still mad at each other. I put Red in the bath by herself while I helped Blue finish her homework. Then Red got out of the bath and Blue gave her a nasty look and a puff and huff and walked past her to get in the tub.
After a short while, I hear a scream.
“THERE’S GROSS STUFF IN HERE!”
I run in and Blue is standing in the bathtub, her hands splayed, her eyes wide, looking between me and the bath water.
“Oh, it’s just a little lint from your socks,” I assure her.
She shakes her head. “NOOOOO! THOSE ARE BIG DUST BUNNIES!”
And then she points. “There’s something brown right there!”
And then a screech. “WHAT’S THAT!”
She pointed to something white and transparent. And I knew what it was.
Red appeared, freshly bathed, holding her book. “Oh that? Is it white and kind of floaty?”
We stare at her.
“Well, I sneezed a big one in the bath and alot of snot came out!”
Blue jumped out of the bath so fast and refused to rinse the rest of the soap off until I changed the water.
Later, after her SECOND bath, I was crouched down, we were face to face. She looked me in the eyes and said, “Mommy, to be a family, do people always have to have the same last name?”
I shook my head, assuming she was thinking about my last name being different from hers, since I was divorced from her dad and I go by a different last name now. (I dropped both my married and maiden name and use my middle name)
“No honey, you can be family and not have the same last name. I’m still your mommy and we have different last names. Auntie A has a different last name and she’s my sister, she’s our family. Poppy and Nanny have a different last name than we do and they are still family.”
Blue was quiet for a minute. “Well, is J a part of our family?”
That was when I explained quite simply, that whoever we love and choose to be with, who chooses us and loves us just the same, is family.