A few weeks ago, my husband, daughter, and I were eating lunch at my favorite diner in Newburyport, and things were going along nicely--great eggs and sausage, happy chatter with our almost-three-year-old, back in our old stomping ground, no major tantrums, etc. Then halfway through the meal, two women and an elevenish-year-old girl sat down at the table next to us, and almost immediately, the older, blondish woman initiated what I call the "inquisitive stare" stage of trying to make sense of our family dynamic.
First, she took a long look at Tully, our daughter from Vietnam, and then an even loooonnngggger look at me and my husband, two folks quite obviously not from Vietnam. After assessing things for about seven minutes (enough time for me to finish one-half of my most-delicious grilled English muffin), the woman started doing the thing that almost always annoys the piss out of me...trying to meet my eyes because now that she'd gathered enough information and assessed the situation, she had something to say or ask.
But I didn't want to hear it. I wanted to eat the other half of my most-delicious grilled English muffin, enjoy the time with my family, and do my best to keep Tully's chocolate milk from spilling all over the table.
Unfortunately, the woman would have none of that. Eventually she wedged her way into our meal with casual comments about Tully: "She's darling." (Thank you.) "She really likes pancakes." (Yep.) "Is she going to eat all that bacon?" (Yes, indeed she is.)
And so on.
Thankfully, the woman had enough smarts to keep her real question to herself until my husband and daughter headed for the door ahead of me, but as soon as they were, she swooped in like an osprey going after a trout...talons first.
"When did you get her?" she said.
"Excuse me?" I said, delaying the inevitable.
"When did you get her?" she repeated, this time wagging her thumb at the door through which my husband and daughter had thankfully disappeared.
When did I GET my daughter? GET her? Seriously?
As I took a deep breath, I silently asked myself how wrong it would be to pour what remained of my daughter's chocolate milk over this woman's head. Very wrong? A little bit wrong? Not so wrong at all?
"Our daughter," I said, modeling adoption-friendly language in the same way I model proper sentence construction for my daughter, "came home when she was eight months old."
Then I turned my back and left, deciding that very wrong was the right answer to the chocolate milk question.
I kept my answer to this woman's question short, but here's the long version for anyone who's wondering:
You do not GET a child.
You get bangs.
You get taller.
You get an appointment.
You get a dog.
You get laid.
You get lucky.
You get UGG boots.
You get a new job.
You get a "B" on a test.
You get thirsty.
You get hungry.
You get pepperoni on your pizza.
You get here.
You get there.
You get a pogo stick for your birthday.
You get paid.
You get on a plane.
You get on a train.
You get in a car.
You get a margarita.
You get a glass of wine.
You get calls from telemarketers.
You get an engagement ring.
You get a foot of snow.
You get email.
You get the flu.
You get the common cold.
You get mad.
But you do not GET a child.
Photo by Liz Noffsinger / FreeDigitalPhotos.net