Before I moved to this freezing rock in the Atlantic, I went to visit my younger brother’s family in a distant small town. Picture a quaint, mostly white town in the mountains. It’s a beautiful place but not an especially diverse one. Anyway, this was a few weeks before Christmas and to kick off the season the town holds a big celebration at night with rides, a petting zoo, carolling and at the end they light up a huge Christmas tree in the park. My brother’s kids love it. My niece was excited to sing on the stage at the park this year.
Getting there was some fun. A bustle of trying to feed the kids, get everyone into mitts and hats and making sure we remembered the cameras. When we got there it seems that my niece had decided to try out a new fashion.
The somewhat dyke -ish bandana cracked me up. Not that I think any fashion is indicative of a child’s future gender or sexual identity but it was funny. My sister-in-law noticed it when we got out of the truck and made her put a toque over it.
We got into line for the horse-drawn wagon ride. The kids were being kids, pushing and shoving so when we climed into the wagon, SIL took my nephew to the front. I sat at the back with my niece across from some grandparents with the grand kids. A much more peaceful ride for all.
It was about a 15 minute trip meaning there was lots of time for an Auntie/niece talk about my big move away. I told her that I hoped she would come and visit us one day. She thought it was too far and that would never happen. Trying to make her feel better, I said that I would be back for visits. I told her that I wanted to bring C to meet her and that Mommy really wanted to meet C, too. Niece said that C sounded like a nice person — they’ve talked on the phone a few times. I responded with ‘Yes, I really love her’. Her eyes widened, ‘You mean you’re in love with her?’ and then without even taking a breath, ‘But who is going to have babies?’ ‘Wait! I know! You both will.’ Grandpa’s face across the wagon was something else.
I have always referred to C as my girlfriend when talking to my niece but I guess it just never occurred to her that we were a couple. Not a surprise, I don’t think she knows any queers aside from me and I’m pretty assimilated, at least in appearance. I had explicitly told her when C and I started dating but it was quite awhile before and what kid remembers boring details of grown up lives. The instantaneous question about babies wowed me. Holy power of heteronormativity, Batman! She was totally cool with the couple thing but couples exist to have babies. Apparently, two uteri just means more cousins. I’m so glad the subject of fertilization didn’t come up. Grandpa would have died.