Yes, Nosey Bitch, I Am His REAL Mother!


“No, we are NOT getting Skittles, Max!” I said.

“But, Mom! I wanna taste the rainbow. Pleeeeeeeese!”

The woman in front of us with the “Jesus Saves”  tote bag looked at him, then at me, then back at him with a grin.  “He’s precious.”

I rolled my eyes.  “Thanks.”

“Put the candy back, Max.  Right now,” I said, with as much patience as I could muster at the end of a long grocery trip.

There were three other people ahead of us in line, in an otherwise empty grocery store.  It was only noon on a Tuesday.

She looked confused.  “Is he yours?” Her tote bag was weighed down with several cartons of cigarettes—Marlboro Lights.

“Yes, he’s all mine.”

“I’m adopted!” Max squealed and went running off toward the baking aisle.

I’ve had some variation of this conversation with people since he was born.  I get it.  People are curious, because he’s black and I’m white.  With celebrities adopting children left and right, it seems like a topic that is open for discussion.  Usually, I just roll with it, because I know my little one is looking to me and my attitude toward our story to form his own opinion.

“Max!  Get back here!” I couldn’t chase him without leaving my cart full of stuff.

“Adopted…  Isn’t that something?” she said.

Oh God, why is this line moving so slowly?

“Mommy!  Look, pudding!  PUDDING!”  He was screaming from several aisles away.

“It took my husband and I seven years to have a child, but we just kept on trying,” she said.

The weary-eyed check out lady clicked on the light above the register and mumbled, “Price check on three.  Price check on three.”

“Max?” I said, searching in the direction he ran.

“Well, I’m sure you will have your own child someday,” she said.

I wonder if anyone would care if I crack this ice cream open right now?

How many children do you have?”  I said, trying to change the subject.

“Four.  They are all grown with children of their own now, honey,”  she answered.

“Oh, that’s–”

“–I mean, I think adoption is great and all,” she interrupted.  “My preacher adopted three of ‘em.  My cousin-by-marriage adopted a child from Nicaragua, or was it Senegal.  I don’t know… one of those countries down there.”

Oh God, why didn’t I choose the self-checkout?

“Does he know he’s adopted? I mean, because you’re white and he’s black.  He’s gonna figure it out sooner or lat—”

“Mommy!  Yes to pudding, right?” Max was skipping back in our direction, with a box in each hand.

“No, NO pudding.  Go put it back.”

“But, Mom—”

“Put. it. back.”

The price check light was still on, to no avail.  I pulled out my phone and started to scroll.  Max was attempting to climb under the cart where you keep the larger items.

She watched him for a few seconds, then said in a whisper that everyone could hear.  “Does he know who his real mother is?”

“Mommy!” squealed Max. “Look, Pokémon cards!”

“No, Max. No Pokémon candy.  And, get out from under there right now.”

There was no escaping at this point.  Two more people had joined the line behind us with carts full of food and there was a guy in front of “Jesus Saves.”

“How could she just give him up like that?” she continued.  “Teenagers are so irresponsible nowadays and planned parenthood is killing babies left and right.”

Pokémon cards, not candy, Mommy.  Come on!  Please?”

“He is definitely going to want to know who his real Mom is someday.  I mean, I would.”

“Please, Mommy.  I’ll be good, I promise.”  He started to pull on my pant leg.

“Did you see on TV where this child’s real Mother gave away her little boy and the courts made the adoption people give him back after all those years?”

“Mommy!  Come on! It’s just one pack!”

“I mean, wouldn’t you just lose your mind if his real Mom took him back?”

“Mommy.  Pleeeeeee—!” whined Max.

“STOP IT!” I yelled with volume I was taught never to use in public.

Everyone — even my seven year old — got very still.  I could feel dozens of eyes trying not to stare at me.  I slowly turned to the people behind me and said, “I’m sorry, we need to go.”

Like some sort of weary, middle-aged ballet, people and carts spread out slowly in different directions allowing us to exit the line.  As we stood in the self-checkout, I was certain Max was going to have a lot of questions about the things she said.  I was certain that I’d have to spend a lot of time reassuring him that his birth mom wouldn’t and couldn’t take him back.  And, I was certain I’d have to explain (once again) that I was and would always be his “real” Mommy.

The only question he ever asked about the whole thing came later that night, as he was brushing his teeth, “Geegu daves wha?”

“What Max? Take the toothbrush out of your mouth.”

He swallowed and said, “Jesus saves what?”

33 thoughts on “Yes, Nosey Bitch, I Am His REAL Mother!

  1. Max is wonderful! I chortled loudly at his question.

    I’m horrified at that ghastly woman in the check out line. I’m so sorry. What a presumptuous busybody. I’m so sorry you had to put up with that (and I’m sure that’s not an isolated incident). Ugh.

    Your writing is fabulous, and I felt every inch of your discomfort and quandary. I may have cheered quietly when you yelled, also.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Okay, first things first. The way you wrote and paced this really did a wonderful job of putting us there with you in the grocery line. The reader really can feel the frenzy and anxiety of standing there, the impatience with how long the line is taking and that feeling of being trapped. And, we can really see all that’s going on at once, including the best way to parent your child in the store and in the long term. Such a prime example of show, rather than tell. Instead of giving us your thoughts, you transported us there with you to form our own thoughts. You absolutely pulled this off…great writing decision.

    Now. About all those thoughts and feelings you made me have. UGH. I will never understand the need anyone has to pry into a woman’s reproductive choices and challenges. I’m afraid my patience with people like this is much shorter than yours was.

    And way to go not caving about those Skittles. You were in a tight spot and stuck to your guns in more ways than one.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I loved the juxtaposition of the increasingly pointed and inappropriate questions from the stranger against the increasingly pointed demonstration from your son that yes, you are his real mom. Kids are good that way. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Don’t you just hate it when your eyes fill up at the end of a post you are reading?
    I don’t. It makes me feel like I am human after all.
    And yeah, adults can push buttons worse than children, can’t they?


  5. Unbelievable- that was so uncomfortable to read and I so much wish you’d have put that lady in her place- her ignorance is just atrocious. I get why you didn’t but if anyone could have done it well- I believe that’s you!! As always, so well written. Such a strong voice. If Max will one day look back on all you write then he will surely swell with pride no doubt.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. My friend just sent me your piece on your son and his ODD – loved it! I, too, am a transracial adoptive mom of a ten year old black little man with ODD. I, too, have had those freaking people ask me those ridiculous questions in front of my child. My favorite so far: “Where did you get him?”. I had to walk away from that one. It was like she was begging me to choke her in the middle of the store. To this day I wish I had replied, “At the baby store. The white ones are on sale. You should get one for yourself.”


    1. I’m so glad you stopped by to comment. I swear sometimes I feel so alone in all of this. I’m sorry you are on the same journey as me, but I’m glad I’m not alone. Hugs, Mama!


  7. I was directed to your blog after finding your “Dear Birth Father” piece.
    This is a pretty late comment- but I had to say something after reading this. I’m adopted and even now at 35, it makes my skin crawl when someone uses the phrase “real mother” or “real father”. My “real” parents are the people who raised me, loved me, cared for me, changed my diapers, fed me and made sure that I had a good start in life. I was reunited with my biological parents 10 years ago and while I am eternally grateful to them and love them, they’re not my “real” parents.
    Much props to you for ignoring this woman’s incessant questions and keeping your cool as well as you did as Max ran around while you were stuck in line!
    I’m really enjoying your writing- you have a new follower 🙂


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