Lately I am awful at meeting new people. MOPS has been excruciating for me because of this. I know two women in the group really well; neither of them are at my table. I did know one woman at my table before we began, but only in passing. So I sit at a table of 8 women (I think – I’m not sure there’s been a week when we’ve all actually been there) and I have to make small talk before the meeting begins.
Death. Terror. Pain.
Put me in front of the whole group and I’ve got zero problems talking. But one on one? Petrified.
During the first meeting, I introduced myself to the girl next to me and told her I’m not good at small talk. She said she isn’t either, she prefers listening. Me too. So we sat there in companionable silence, listening to all the women around us.
This past Saturday, I had the opportunity to attend a transracial family play group. My husband was hunting, so it was just me and my little man. I thought about asking my mom to go, but what 35 year old woman takes her mommy somewhere because she’s nervous? So I dress the little man and myself and we head to the library.
There were three families at the play group. Three mommies, two daddies (Keith was hunting, remember) and four wonderfully gorgeous little boys. The boys were immediately taken with each other, playing trains and such (and by playing, I mean grabbing toys from one another, slobbering all over the object and then trading). Everyone was nice, everyone was friendly, everyone had three things in common: transracial adoption, the same social worker, and our agencies.
While I was attempting to make small talk with the other two mommies, it dawned on my why I have a hard time meeting new people these days.
Because I don’t want to answer questions about Little Man’s adoption.
I don’t want to tell you our story. I don’t want you to ask me inappropriate questions and force me to come up with non-sarcastic answers. I don’t want to evade questions about his birth mother. I don’t want to discuss this with you.
At MOPS yesterday I got this question: “When did you get him?”
Get him? Like my son is a puppy or an object or a thing.
He’s a human being. You don’t “get” a human being.
I said, “He was born January 11.”
She said, “But when did you get him?”
Oh. My. Word.
I said, “He was born January 11 and we left the hospital with him on the 12th.”
But here’s the thing…I don’t really care to tell people that (ironic, I realize, as I post this on the web for who knows who to read and criticize). I don’t want to tell people, because our story is so special to me. It is a wonderful thing, and I don’t want to share. (Again, I recognize the irony, because you can read all about our story on this very blog. But somehow, that is different. Don’t ask me how; I’m not sure I can articulate the difference effectively).
I just want us to be a family. And I realize that we are a family, but I also realize we are a very visible family. First, I have the cutest son on planet Earth, and I cannot go anywhere without someone commenting on how adorable he is. And if it’s just the two of us, no big deal. People don’t usually stare without making a complimentary comment about Little Man.
But if it’s the three of us…or just me and the little man in a place where our family is already known (aka church), then…it’s just rude. People stare and ask questions that I don’t want to answer.
I hope this is just a phase for me. I don’t want to always not want to meet new people. I don’t want to always want to evade and avoid. We certainly knew what we were getting into when we chose transracial adoption. We knew people would stare and ask ignorant (or rude) questions. But right now? I don’t want to share our story. I don’t want to share my son. I just want to revel in the still new emotions I have of being a mother. I want people to fall in love with my son because of who he is, not because of what our family is.
And I don’t want to be rude…but lately, I do want to be left alone. Maybe this, too, will pass?