A couple of weeks ago, I needed to run to Costco for a handful of things.
Henry and Jill were both at school, so I only had Owen and Lu.
So I’m loading O into the cart and Lucy is standing next to me.
A little old man walks up to get his own cart and says “You’re in 50% trouble, you know.”
I smile, but don’t understand…”Excuse me?”
“One boy and one girl. You’re in 50% trouble. Girls come back home when they are 30 and live with you.”
[Clearly this is a universal truth.]
“Oh, well then, I’m in a lot more trouble than that because I have two more kids…and another one is a girl!”
I smile, give him a playful wink and start to head off…when he straightens, gets real serious looking, clears his throat…
“You have FOUR kids?”
[Oh boy, here we go.]
“Yessir.” Smile wide.
I’m really trying to walk away without being rude.
Because, you know, I don’t like to be rude to perfect strangers. Funny.
“You’re stopping now, right?”
[Really, sir? Are you trying to have a conversation about my uterus right here in the cart corral at Costco? Shall we discuss your penis next?]
“Oh, I don’t know…maybe a few more would be fun. I mean, why not?”
[Okay, I really don't want a few more kids...but now I'm being sassy and you know...a brat just to mess with him.]
“You realize you are contributing to overly populating the earth?”
“I actually do! And I think it’s fantastic. This world needs more kind, big hearted people in the world, and I’d like to think those are the type of children I’m raising, so it’s probably a good thing I keep having babies! Have a great day sir!”
And I…finally…walk away.
I do not understand this phenomenon. Of people who feel perfectly comfortable discussing my reproductive health and decisions in the middle of a danged parking lot.
But moreso, the phenomenon of just plain not having good manners. Do you realize you are being offensive? Did your mama not teach you to be polite? Yes, I’m fairly certain she did. Don’t embarrass her from the grave.
You guys, I get this all. the. danged. time.
Constantly. Not every day, but there is FOREVER some comment.
And then there’s my friend Kate who have FIVE kids and she even wrote a whole post about how she has NEVER had this happen. Ever.
It must be because we aren’t all blonde. Gotta be.
Because my kids can be insane, no question…and if they were being loud and crazy, I would get it. Totally. But I swear to you, 99% of the time I get some weird comment, my kids are actually being borderline angels.
And I’m even dressed. With at least some make up. So it’s not even like I look like a frumpy pajama pants mom. (Or maybe I do and I just don’t realize it).
I’m convinced if we were all blonde this wouldn’t happen. (Kidding. I think.)
Because a few days later…standing in line at TJ Maxx…with all four…the littles in the double stroller, the bigs just standing there…a woman in her late 40s/early 50s…wearing a very skin hugging, itty bitty skirt, a very skin hugging, itty bitty shirt, and very tall wooden soled shoes was a few people ahead.
Now, I’m being totally judgy here…because you know, it was kinda hard to not notice her. Girlfriend had a rocking body…even if some of it was very clearly of the plastic kind. Very plastic.
And she, no doubt, looked better in that outfit than I could ever pull off. So you know, I’m a little bitter.
She turns, notices my brood…her eyes WIDE…”Wow! That’s a LOT. You’ve got a handful!”
“Looks like you do too.”
[Okay, I didn't say that. But oh sweet sweet anything and everything that is holy, I wanted to. SO badly.]
So here’s what I think:
I think God has these people say things to me because I need more exercise in self-control and sharpness of tongue. Because the words that I want oh so desperately to say…the ones that are half witty/half mean…it almost hurts to keep them in…they stay inside and I reach for the gracious words instead.
Because clearly I need to work on this.
(Oh, and Andy told me that one of the guys he works with on a project is an Antinatalist…part of which includes Voluntary Human Extinction. Something about choosing to not have children so that the human race dies out entirely for the good of the planet. I had never heard of this. To each his own, I suppose.)
Do you get comments from complete strangers? Do you bite your tongue or do you just let it fly?