In Which I Was Rude…

I get many, many comments when I am out with little M. Usually people just want me to know that my little girl is cute, which is sweet, and only unwelcome in that my non-extroverted little self does not always want to talk to ALL of the strangers at the mall.
Then, sometimes (usually when I am at the end of my patience rope) I get a question or comment that is neither sweet, nor welcome.
A few weeks ago we were running some errands and were on a time crunch. I was counting servings on the back of some candy bags, and didn’t notice a woman staring until she came closer and closer.
I ignored her staring until she nudged me, and nodded toward Mackenzie. “she’s very cute,” she said.
I smiled in her direction, and went back to candy counting.
Then, she leaned in front of me, and said, “do you ever wish you had natural children?”
I was caught up in candy, and at first assumed she thought I was little M’s baby sitter. So I said, “Oh, I’m her mom.” And then it hit me what she was asking…and assuming.
She wasn’t done. She started to explain what she meant, and I cut her off.

And I was angry. I was angry that she assumed things about people she didn’t know, and I was angry that she voiced her thoughts.
Despite all of that, I smiled graciously and moved us away. Not.
I told her I understood what she meant, and asked why she felt the need to ask such an inappropriate question in front of my daughter. And then I removed little M and myself, all the while muttering under my breath.
I wish I could say that I was gracious and charming, and managed to reply kindly, and that my reply somehow educated a stranger on adoption awareness.
But no. I was rude.
I am happy to say that I have since rehearsed a gracious and kind reply. Next time I will be ready…


  1. Michelle on October 20, 2011 at 7:52 pm

    Good for you Joanna!!! What an awful question for her to ask you!!! Sheesh!

  2. Hollis H. Notgrass on October 21, 2011 at 3:46 am

    People can be horrid. i hope that woman DOES NOT have children, or that if she does, they are lucky enough not to be like her. *sniff* People! UGH! I'm sorry she was rude, but i do not think that your response was unwarranted at all. I might have resorted to calling her a poopyhead, so i think you did quite well. 😉

  3. Bev on October 21, 2011 at 11:42 pm

    It's never easy and these uncomfortable moments seem to have a way of happening at the most unexpected times… you did just fine! And, it doesn't sound like you were rude – just protecting your privacy and your daughter's feelings. Good for you! I always say that I'll be more prepared when these things happen, but I never feel like I do the best that I could have… maybe with time and the unfortunate reality of more practice.

  4. Bev on October 21, 2011 at 11:45 pm

    PS – I've never had this kind of question, but now that I think about it, I'm going to try to be ready with an answer like \”My daughter is perfect for our family and we could not possibly be any happier! Now, if you don't mind, I'm busy with minding my own business and would appreciate if you would do the same.\”

  5. Faith on October 22, 2011 at 7:04 pm

    i don't know why people even think they have the right to come up to a stranger and ask a question like that. seriously. you handled that a lot better than i would, that's for sure.i think she would think next time before she opens her mouth.

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