"Do you have kids?" This has come to be the question I dread being asked. What should be black and white is so many shades of gray. It's not a rude or intrusive question by any means, and most people just ask casually as a conversation starter. The thing is though, when I hear that question, I immediately have to make a choice: say what I truly believe or say what others want to hear.
I went over to my good friend's house a couple of weeks ago for a girls night. Her sweet mother was there whom I had never met. She started going around the table asking who had kids. My heart started beating faster and my palms started sweating. I was the last one in the circle, and I knew what was coming. When she came to me, my answer was "Uhhhhh, yes, but she's in Heaven". She couldn't have been sweeter in her response, but the mood instantly changed and the conversation grew more somber for a little bit. It had been almost 4 months since Taylor went to Heaven, and this was the first time I had to answer this question.
I spoke to my dad about it the next day on the phone. I was just so torn about how to handle this going forward. In my heart, I cannot honestly say that I don't have kids. I just can't. I believe with everything that I am that I have a daughter and that she will always, always be the one who made me a mother. This hand print and foot print tell me I have a child.
Society, however, doesn't see it that way. She is not here in the flesh, so to the world, I do not have a daughter. I am supposed to say "no" when people ask if I have kids. It's the socially acceptable thing to do. It's the comfortable thing to do. For everyone else, that is. One thing my dad pointed out is that this internal conflict will never end. Even if we are blessed with 10 healthy children, when people ask how many kids we have, do we say 10 or 11?
This is something I have really struggled with over the past couple of weeks. Answering "no" to this question feels like I am denying that our Taylor Grace was ever here. Answering "yes" invites more questions and will ultimately end in people feeling uncomfortable. It's a lose/lose, but I have to make a choice. A few days later, a store owner asked the same question when I was out shopping. I said "no". It was the first time I had said "no" to that question since August 11, 2014, the day we found out we were pregnant.
Ultimately, I will always know and believe that I have a kid. If we have 10 healthy children, I will know we have 11 altogether. When spending time with friends and family, I can talk about Taylor anytime I want. When a stranger on the street just brings up the question in passing, I need to give them the socially acceptable answer, smile, and know in my heart that there is more to the story. I don't see it as lying. It's all about how you interpret the question. Do I have a baby here? No, I do not. This is the question strangers are asking, so I will give them the answer they are looking for. In my heart though, I know there is so much more to tell. The question is anything but black and white.