Not My Question to Answer

“Are they really brother and sister?”

I don’t know. What does that question even mean? What do you mean by that question? Do you mean: Are they biologically brother and sister? Do you mean: Do they regard themselves as brother and sister? What is it you want to know? When you get the answer to your question, will that change something?

Will you look at them differently? Will the energy you would have spent looking for physical similarities be diverted to the task of wondering whether they had ever run into each other in the orphanage, shared a toy or a sliced apple? Is there some previous shared gene or experience that will help you relax about my children? Tell me, I want you to feel calm. The riddle seems to be getting to you.

Two of my children are four months apart in age but never met until one was seven and the other one six. They came from the same orphanage but never met. The train is travelling 70 miles an hour and is carrying five pies, how fast will we get to Pittsburgh if we leave when the blueberries are ripe?

“They could be twins!”

Maybe. No. They couldn’t be twins because they have different parents. Completely different parents. Between those two kids and us, there are three different sets of parents. There are parents galore. The only ones I’ve met are the ones my husband and I are. The other two sets are mysteries. No, I’m sorry. They could not be twins. But would it be better on your mind if they were twins? I get that. Twins are cuter than lone babies. The magic of twins is stupefying. My kids, no, they’re not twins.

“Don’t you wonder what they think about all this?”

Not any more. Because there is nothing in my experience to compare to their situation and I am exhausted from trying to put myself in their shoes. I don’t know what they think, should think or want to think. They’re grown, go their own places, love their own people, dream their own past lives, appreciate or imagine the parents they have. They show up at regular intervals like holidays and when they have troubles, sometimes when they are proud of something or they’ve run out of gas, in their cars, in their hearts.

I don’t wonder anymore, not because I don’t care but because I finally figured out I don’t know and never will. They own their own questions now. 

I’m done with questions and answering.

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Plead the Fifth.”

4 Comments on “Not My Question to Answer

  1. This has become such a complicated question in my world. I grew up with one brother. Then, my parents divorced when I was 22. A few years later, I acquired 2 stepsisters. Then 3 more. Then a half-brother. Then, brothers-and sisters-in law. It’s all so crazy. I stick to the technical answers in these cases, but have two children of my own from two different marriages. While I know that they’re half-siblings, I NEVER think of them that way. I hope they don’t either. They’re brother and sister. Period.

  2. As an adoptive child growing up in a very blended home {Adoptive, foster, biological & other} I always loved this question to which my response was almost always “Even if I told you, you wouldn’t understand”. My parents got a kick out of people drawing their own conclusions and at the end of the day the simple answer is YES they are my brothers <3

  3. I always wonder why people feel they have the right to ask such personal questions. Why do they need to know? Your answers here are honest and thought provoking and make me sad because you’ve had to form these answers. I used to love it when people asked me if I was the oldest of us siblings. I’d say ‘well, I was the oldest until I was ten, then I became the middle child’ and watch them try to figure that one out. I believe people are naturally nosy/inquisitive and many do not have the considerate barriers in place to set aside that nosiness in exchange for courtesy and respect.

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