|My family (The Sore Thumbs?)|
Claire (the acquaintance, in her 40's, mother of 4) and Annie (the stranger, early 20's) were talking about kids.
Annie (to me): How many do you have?
Claire (smiling, friendly, to Annie): Yeah, but 2 of hers are adopted.
Me: Yup, but they still add up to 4.
Claire (to me): Tell Annie their names.
Me: Devyn is our oldest and...
Claire: No, not the girls, tell her the boys names.
Me: Mikias and Jemberu are our sons.
Claire: Tell Annie where they're from.
Me: Ethiopia (beginning to feel like a spectacle rather than a mom having a conversation about kids).
Claire: (still smiling and friendly, to Annie) You should see her family!
Me: (starting to smile because I am vain, I know she is going to say that my kids are beautiful)
Claire: Seriously, you should see them around town or wherever. They stick out like a sore thumb!
Me: A sore thumb?
Claire: (more to Annie than to me) You should see them, this fair skinned, beautiful all-American family. Her daughters are really beautiful and then you see these boys. They stick out like a sore thumb!
Me: (to Annie) My sons are beautiful, too.
Claire: Oh yeah, they really are!
Later that day I was watching the boys play baseball. Isabelle (no need to change her name), the sixth grade sister of one of the boys on the team, was asking me a few questions about the boys. How old were they when we got them and so on. She asked "Are they blood brothers?" I told her that they were not biological brothers but they are completely brothers. She smiled and nodded, I could tell that she totally got that already.
Isabelle was curious. I loved that she felt comfortable asking me about the boys. She was sweet and respectful of our family. She got it. So many adults don't get it. I can't count the number of times I have been asked if the boys are brothers. Not biological or blood brothers, they ask if they are brothers. It always makes me cringe. Isabelle asked in a way that showed a real sensitivity. She knew that Mikias and Jemberu were brothers. Of course they're brothers, they are in the same family, they share parents, sisters, a dog and a last name. She just wondered if they were always brothers or if they became brothers when they were adopted. She asked in a way that showed that she didn't see our family any differently than she saw her own.
Although my conversation with Claire and Annie was a little crazy, it didn't make me mad. Claire is nice. What she said sounds mean spirited, but it really wasn't. Sure, she made my family sound like some kind of freak show, but she had no idea. She is not mean. She is clueless. You can tell the difference.
Claire didn't make me mad. But Isabelle, that girl made my day.