We had a double whammy this past week. And just so we appreciated it extra special much, we got our faces full of that double whammy AND a tasty cherry on top in the middle of our neighborhood Walgreens. With all of our kids in tow. Fun.
Our family is loud. Our family is colorful. Our family couldn’t be anything other than what we are if we tried. There are six of us after all. My wife (I still prefer to call her my partner, but she disagrees so ehhh – not the mountain I’m choosing to die on) and I don’t ever normally choose to visit Walgreens as a family, but we had a “situation” and were forced to soldier on in there en masse.
We have two boys, two girls, and two moms in our family. We have some special needs, some typical teenage angst, some red-head tempers, and some extra-regular needs for things like deodorant and hydrocortisone creams and such. Now anyone who has ever tried to move children through a Halloween candy and decoration infested store could have told me that no amount of body odor or itch was worth dragging those kids in there. And even though we aren’t at all new to this parenting gig, we did very much choose to detour before our dinner of pizza (for the babes) and wine (yay! for the moms!!!) to meet some basic needs for #1.
Picture this . . . deodorant aisle. Family of 6. A blonde-haired, blue-eyed teenager stands in disgust as his mother tries in vain to find just one single, frigging stick of JUST deodorant – not anti-perspirant! – because EVERYTHING makes #1 itch!!! (see note re: hydrocortisone), AND he has to “like” it. #1 is embarrassed by this search. He’s itchy and stinky, but embarrassed. He flicks The Tyrant just for the hell of it. The Tyrant is not the dude to flick. A pushing battle ensues. FratBoy gets bumped in the head, her tiara is knocked askew in the melee and she throws a punch at #1. She is testicle height. #1 hits the floor with a thump. And poor Birdie, as always, is just hungry. She’s so loud and hungry. Wife and I keep trying to read the minuscule print on the deodorant bottles amidst it all. Deodorant bottle words are not for 40-something year old moms of 4. Wife is actively both engaging the kids, and correcting them.
We do our best, grab our best chance, and start to make our way to the registers. We start discussing our exit plan and steering humans toward the doors. Wife only has to peel poor, starving Birdie off of that last bag of chips before she can get them out to the car to wait there while I finish up. She’s almost got them . . . 4 . . . 3 . . . 2 . . . “Those can’t possibly be your natural children,” says the woman in front of us.
I am both an adopted person and an adoptive mother. I look exactly like a couple of my children and nothing like others. My wife looks exactly like the child who acts just like me, and yet carries none of my DNA. She is most perfectly in sync with my mini-me, Birdie. I am usually patient and helpful to those who aren’t well-educated but clearly well-meaning about adoption/parenting appropriate language. Everyone has to learn and everyone deserves patience and grace. This was not the best moment though.
#1 was still slightly limping after FratBoy’s jab to the “crutches,” heard the question, and stopped his exit to hear my response. “Teach tolerance, Mama,” I told myself as I inhaled. “Actually . . .” I began. The woman interrupted, “Oh, some are yours and some are hers? That brown haired boy surely isn’t yours,” she went on. “Actually, they are all mine. They are mine and hers and there are so many different types of families,” I began. “What? You two women? A family? So, y’all aren’t a natural family.” There’s that natural term again.
I blame what followed on the effects of the delayed wine and the look in my first born’s eyes. I faltered. I lost patience. I responded with an irritated scowl and sharp words, reminding her that there are many different types of families and that what is “natural” is kindness and loving, and started to give her a few examples of what I find “unnatural.”
My boy interrupted though. He’s not an interrupter, this boy. He’s a guy of few words. He said simply and quietly in my ear, “she can’t hear through all of her interrupting and asking rude questions, Mom. Sometimes people just aren’t ready to learn new things.”
by Tracy Breaux
October 27, 2017
If you liked this post, check out Tracy’s post “Our House is Like Everyone Else’s. And . . . It’s Not.”