My son is adopted. From another country. A country where people have beautiful brown skin, as opposed to my pasty, been locked up in a tower for a decade skin.
I am also in my forties. Not exactly an older mom these days, since there are so many new moms in their forties. Or at least that’s what I tell myself when I’m sitting at the park watching all the perky, barely pubescent moms playing with their children. But I digress.
When we brought our son home, my husband, who is a firefighter paramedic, happened to be working so much overtime that we rarely saw him. We had to be officially reintroduced every time he came home and managed to be awake for more than five minutes.
So. Here I was with a new 6 month old baby that we had been waiting for and dreaming about for quite some time. This was a really happy and joyous time. You’d think so right?
Since I didn’t have a clue what I was supposed to do or how to find other stay at home moms, naturally I spent all my time shopping. Except that every time I went out, a strange woman, no not the same strange woman, but a variety of women who were strangers to me, came up and asked “Is he yours?” “Yes.” “He is your baby?” “Yes.” “No, I mean is he yours, from your body?”
Of course, now that it’s three years later, I have no problem dealing with this kind of behavior, but back then, I was shocked. Here I was, struggling to bond with this sweet little baby and focusing on more immediate concerns, or as my panic stricken husband put it, “Our goal is to keep him alive.” Maybe women are like sharks, and can smell a drop of insecurity from a shopping mall away.
After weeks of dealing with this every time I went out, I simply chose to stay home. I had explained to my husband, over the phone of course as that’s how we conducted our marriage during the lost years, how all the questions about my status of motherhood sucked all the fun out of my shopping adventures. Coming from the perspective of saving lives and running into, you know, burning buildings and since the end result was that money stayed in our bank account, he couldn’t manage to get too upset over it.
Fast forward to the day we were out as a family, shopping at our local hardware store. The twenty year old behind the register took one look at the three of us and immediately asked “Is he yours?” My husband could feel the word SEE? being burned into the back of his head by my stare. Not getting a response (and by the way, what was she expecting to hear? “No, he was on special in aisle five, the one next to plumbing.”) and obviously not realizing her life was in jeopardy, the young woman probed further. She looked at our son sitting in his carrier and said “Are you having fun hanging out with GRANDMA and GRANDPA today?”
Wait. Just. A. Minute. This was a new one.
I whipped my head around so fast I’m sure I almost broke my obviously osteoporosis ridden neck. Clean up at register twelve, head explosion.
It would have been kinder if she’d just walked up and slapped me. Really. I could have handled it better and gotten over it quicker.
This continues to happen every once in a while and lately I’ve just been giving my middle finger quite the workout scratching my forehead in their direction. Yeah, i know. Subtle. That’s me.
Well I have only one thing to say to these ignorant zygotes:
No, I am not GRANDMA – not that it’s any of your business!