I know. I know. I am not the only person in a trans-racial family who has experienced this scenario! I know I am not the only person who has to think before I speak back to strangers when asked this (or a variety of any other inappropriate questions). I know that there will be a lifetime ahead of me to explain, defend, or even be dumbfounded by certain people, and I just have to get over it. At this point, it just makes me laugh! But here are a few scenarios that stick out!
Scene: Local Park
Three kids, clearly friends, but close in age to K! We arrive and I let him go play. I sit down on a bench to watch him (about 10 feet from where he is). The mom/adult supervision of the other group stares at me and back at him as he is yelling, “Mommy, look at me!!! I go on slide all by myself!!!” I am clapping and cheering and telling him how proud I am of him!!! Finally, I see her shifting in her seat and she leans over to say, “Oh I didn’t think you were his mother! I mean, he is so dark! I assumed you were his babysitter…or something!” Now it’s at this point that I see K trying to “play” with the other kids (her “people”). Before I can respond to her, I hear one of this kids comment on K’s skin color and say “Yucky!!!” Again, before I can comprehend the scenario that’s happening on the playground, the mom continues, “I bet you aren’t his real Mom. Are you like his stepmom? So your husband is black, right?”
Yes friends, I am in shock and awe at this point. Do I slap her? Not worth it! Do I cuss her out? Not worth it! No… I just take a yoga breathe and think about the situation (Side note: I have been teaching K to do this when he gets frustrated and wants to throw a tantrum! Take the yoga breathe baby!!!). Not only is there ignorance happening in the adult zone, but there is racism happening on the recycled plastic jungle gym!
My response to her was simple, “Actually, I don’t know who his Daddy is! (Her mouth dropped). And yes, I am his real Mom! And clearly your ignorance and bigotry is influencing the little people in your life. You might want to deal with that!” I stood up and went to K and asked him if he wanted to go on the swings! He gladly jumped out of the wood chips, waved bye to them and ran off ahead of me while we played red light, green light!
Oh Target, you tempt me with your dollar bins and cute shoes. You entice me with your food area and cheap triple feature movies, but you also house some crazies!
Pushing K in the cart around Target and I am having him point out letters he sees and colors he recognizes. He is talking up a storm and we are laughing, as usual. Random shopper with her grandchild (I think/assume) says, “Well hello there!!! Aren’t you a talker?” I smile and instruct him to say thank you! She seemed sweet enough…until, “You must get a lot of strange looks from people!” I know what she means, but I want HER to say it out loud. I respond with, “I am not sure what you mean?” She guffaw’s, wants to say something but chooses not to and says, as she’s walking away, “Have a nice day!” I scream back, “You too Ma’am!” with K saying, “See you later!!!” In my mind, I am thinking, I sure hope we don’t see you later!
Urgent care doctor who wouldn’t even touch K
Urgent care nurse who kept asking K if I was his real mother and almost berating him by asking him the SAME question over and over again when I had an over 100 degree temp.
Parent at McDonald’s who grabbed her kid away from K and told her in a stern voice that she wasn’t allowed to play with those people.
Just to name a few!
I have to give a disclaimer that really, Cooper Jack hasn’t done ANYTHING, but he has become K’s home/car/Nana and Grandpa’s house scapegoat. Maybe I should back up and give the foundation to this!
K goes to school full time. He is friends with a boy who happens to be named Cooper Jack. In normal 3 year old rough housing/playing way, I “think” that Cooper Jack may have hit K like one time during a space/laser/monster/car crash scenario, and now—he is K’s scapegoat!
I noticed a pattern at home when K would break something or drop something. His immediate response was “Cooper Jack did it!” Ironically enough, I would have to remind him that Cooper Jack doesn’t live in our house and hasn’t even ever been here, so how could Cooper Jack have done it? I would get the “I don’t know look” and consequences/punishment would ensue!
Oh, but it gets better. Sadly, it’s so funny when K tries to blame him that others have joined the “Cooper Jack did it” movement. Now I blame Cooper Jack for things. My dad blames Cooper Jack for things. Poor kid! He is getting blamed for things all over this town! In all honesty, I have met him like seven times and is a sweet kid who is a normal, active 3 year old boy. He and K are friends. They play together and get along as well as any 3 year olds can. So I know it isn’t fair to blame him, so for that I apologize. Yet, even with the apology, I know you want to know what Cooper Jack has “done” according to K (this is the short list), right?
Broken the screen door (both upstairs and down)
Flushed the toilet more than once
Dropped his cup full of juice
Broke his adjustable waistband on his new shorts
Broke and entire box of brand new crayons in half
Ate my dinner while I was on the phone with his doctor
Threw a ball in the house that knocked something over
Said “potty talk” (as if I didn’t just hear him say the words)
Left his clothes out (one of his chores is to pick up his own clothes)
Dropped his plate of pizza on the floor and just left it there
Took our Easter card that we were supposed to give to Nana and Grandpa and hid it in his tent (I found it on Mother’s Day and gave it to them)
Spilled water on his shirt because he refused to use two hands
Moved the chlorine dispenser for our Jacuzzi and I couldn’t find it
Unscrewed the handles on the kitchen drawers
Poured water on the floor from the bathtub
So… as you can see, my son thinks that he is getting away with some things. Oh, K, I so know your tricks! Been there! Tried that! Go sit in the time out chair son!!! Cooper Jack doesn’t live here!!!
“They” say that you shouldn’t ever get married until you (the “said” couple) have gone through a major, life changing event, a holiday season, and a birthday season. So basically, you need to go through a year together and hope that someone close to either one of you dies or gets into some sort of accident or something to see if you can make it through it.
Ironically enough, being 38, I have a theory about my own dating life that equates to: I don’t need to date someone for 2 years to know if I want to be with them. I mean seriously, I have been in the dating world for almost 25 years. I have dated (and been engaged to) the good, the bad and the ugly. I know a when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em, know when to walk away and know when to run (Thank you Kenny Rogers)! It’s not like I am in my early 20s and I need to figure out if we like the same music and if you drive a “rad” car or not. If at 6 months, I am not in love (and vice versa), then we both need to walk away and remain friends (*personal opinion friends, not a hard rule).
Yet, I am also someone who knows that since I have waited this long for marriage, I am not just going to marry the first man who tells me that he loves me (get in line—cuz that list is LONG and where are those dudes now? DELETED!). I want the right guy. I want the one that’s the one for me. Am I looking for Mr. Perfect? Certainly not—just Mr. Perfect for me!
As my life would have it, I have been dating Coach for about 4 months. Due to us both having real (and several jobs), we see each other about 1-2 times a week. Since we are both parents, that also cuts into our “alone” time (not sex time people, but actual, adult “conversations about life” time). We spend a lot of time on the phone and have really gotten to know one another. The time that we do spend together is AMAZING and VERY comfortable. And of course, when life has recently given me lemons, you just gotta make lemonade. He has been there the whole way. Do I know if we will be together next year, I don’t know that. But I’m not worrying about that—I am enjoying it in the moment, day by day!
So, Coach, thank you for being amazing, supportive, a listening ear, an adult, a great kisser, and my boyfriend.
Weren’t we all perfect moms before we became moms? I had all these ideas and preconceived notions about what kind of mom I would be once I became a mom. I had an opinion for every mom I saw in the street about how she SHOULD be dealing with her kid!!! Obviously, I kept those opinions to myself, but I had ‘em alright, oh yes I did! Awwww hindsight! You are one of the wisest teachers, aren’t you?
I was adamantly opposed to any form of censorship (“When I am a mom, I will let my kid listen to anything! He needs to know what’s out there! It doesn’t matter if people cuss around him!” Yeah right!). I was never going to allow my child to co-sleep with me (“Kids need to be in their own beds! It’s not natural for them to sleep with you!”)! I was never going to let my kids watch TV (while I was able to keep K from the grips of the TV for 9 months, I have since succumbed!). I was never going to let my child act up in public (as if I could stop him). I was never going to allow him to sass me (as if I could stop the initial sass. After the first time, I take care of it, but still). I was never going to let my child run into the street (have you seen how fast this kid is?)! I was never…and the list goes on!
But here we are 15 months into motherhood and really…my main battles are minimal but they are a lot of work! First, I have been trying to keep people from saying potty talk (poo poo, caca, stupid, shut up, idiot, etc) around K so that he continues to know that it isn’t ok to say such things. The next thing is that he listens. When his teachers say to stop something, he has the tendency to say something to the effect of, “Hell to the No!!!!” What I want him to say is, “ok!” And finally, I need him to remember that we don’t allow guns in our household! While I am not morally opposed to guns, I just don’t want him “shooting” people. He has used his wily mind to get around this by making everything a laser! Really, son, a laser that sounds like a gun!!! Hmmmmmm. Do you think that you have tricked me? I think NOT!
Note to K: And by the way, just because I let you watch TV, you have Defcon 1 meltdowns in public that I can’t control or anticipate, you slept in bed with me for over a year and you are still struggling with listening to your teachers and other adults—I won’t tolerate the gun thing homie! Not one bit!
*It is my goal that even when I kvetch, I still have an attitude of gratitude, so each Friday, I want to share at least 5 fantastical things that have happened to me!
1. LA INK—they are still “buggin” me for more photos and for more info to add to my story during the editing process. I am loving it!!! Could be a good sign!
2. Overtime!!! It’s graduation season and I get overtime for working it!
3. Disneyland with M and J!!! We always have a blast with our friends. We are truly blessed!
5. My Dad!!!
As I have been dealing with some family stuff, I am reminded of my Grandpa! One of the greatest men I have ever known. I miss him passionately and would like to think that he would be proud of me!
To say that my grandfather never knew how to eat with his mouth shut would be an understatement. Ritualistically we went to Benjie’s Deli where the weekly embarrassment would begin. I don’t know that he ever looked at a menu because for as long as I can remember, he always ordered liver and onions and coffee—black and piping hot.
Thank God the owner and all the waitresses knew him because at least that would reduce the mortification of his ordering technique as well as his table manners. When we were seated by the hostess, the rest of us tried to jockey for position so that we wouldn’t have to sit directly across from him; this was also known as “the firing zone.” But inevitably, one of us always had to endure the hour long torture of seeing how his food was masticated. Looking back, those are the times that make me smile because we think about the random particles of half eaten food hanging from his mouth and being shot across the table as if they were missiles aimed at some unknown enemy.
Not only was the eating process a mortifying experience, so was dealing with the waitress. The highlight of the meal would include him snapping his fingers in the air and yelling out (with food still being swallowed), “Hey honey, I need some more coffee!” or the occasional “Can I get another refill!” We had become so accustomed to this routine that we could almost tell when he needed some more coffee—it was about the time that he quit slurping it because it wasn’t scalding hot anymore.
After he died it was too difficult for us to go to Benjie’s without him. When we drove by, our hearts would break because that was “our” place. I don’t know how many years it was before we went back, at least 5, but now when we go, the experience isn’t quite the same—without Grandpa.