Monday, June 11, 2007

This Post Has No Title II

For "This Post Has No Title I" click here.

This weekend we were in Sam's Club stocking up for the summer. For those of you who are unfamiliar, Sam's Club is a large bulk warehouse store similar to Costco, BJs, etc. We recently got a membership to Sam's Club (it just happens to be the closest to us of those kind of stores). One thing I really like about going to this particular Sam's Club is that it is extraordinarily racially and socio-economically diverse. Anyway-- when we arrived we split up so that we could get in and out faster. I took Owen and one cart, and Braydon took Kyle and another cart. We each set off with our lists, and agreed to meet up in 30 minutes. Just as the 30 minutes ran up, and we were heading to the spot where we were to meet up with Braydon and Kyle, Owen suddenly said "Mommy, I need to go poopie on the potty!" Like any other parent fully in the throws of potty training would, I quickly parked our cart in an isle, grabbed my boy, and ran as fast as I possibly could through the huge gigantic store to find the potty. We made it in time and Owen was -- of course -- very, very proud. He said, "I need to tell Papi!!!" I said, "Yes!" And as we left the bathroom, he started excitedly running down the main center isle back to where we were to meet up. I was walking quickly following about 5-10 feet behind him. Like I said, this store is very diverse. Literally in that one walk down that center isle I consciously noted that every major racial/ethnic group in the U.S.A. was represented. As we approached about halfway down that main isle I noticed a group of five middle-age black women walking with one cart together. They seemed jovial and I was thinking that I'd bet my life that they were shopping for a graduation party of some sort. I watched as all five of them noticed Owen and then stopped their chatter to stare at him. I then watched as one of the women -- a very dark skinned black woman in a beautiful dress -- moved into Owen's path and put her hands out to physically stop him in his tracks. Stunned, Owen stopped and looked up at the woman. I was standing right behind him now. The woman looked all around (including right at me -- we even made eye contact), and then said to Owen, "Little boy, where is your mommy?" He was stunned and confused, just looking blank-faced up at her. Louder she said, "Little boy, where is your MOMMY???" The other four women stood staring down at Owen. Several people all around heard it, stopped their shopping and their conversations, and started watching. The moment seemed to be in slow motion for me. I vividly remember my boy turning his head around and looking up at me with a confused and stunned look in his eyes. I vividly remember the five black women all scanning the store in every direction. I vividly remember other shoppers silently staring. "Right here," I said as confidently and self-assuredly as I could muster. "I am his mother and I am right here." The woman took her hands off of Owen and I gently touched his head. All five of the women just stood there staring at me with blank looks. For Owen's sake I repeated it again, as calmly as possible, and with a smile on my face I looked the women in the eye, and as everyone -- including my son -- stared at me: "I am his mother and I am right here."

9 comments:

haze said...

Heather, that story brought tears to my eyes, I wasn't expecting that ending at all. You handled the situation perfectly. It must have felt beautiful to be able to say that. I can't wait until it's my turn to proudly announce I am my little girl's mama.

And congrats on Owen's big success :-)

theghelertertwins.blogspot.com said...

Je-sus effing g-d. What is wrong with people! You handled it like a trooper. I hear responses like that a lot more than I use to- too. So disheartening isn't it.

Rony

Life in Fitzville said...

So sorry. I was just asked today at the park if I ran a daycare. I smiled and said "Nope, they are all mine!" as the woman pointedly looked at my Haitian son.

Heck with them... we know who the Mama is!

I only wish our sons didn't have to deal with people's ignorance.

Aves @ Call of the Phoebe said...

I have been lurking on your blog for some time. Actually, if you don't mind I have linked mine to you since your story is so interesting. I am in the process of adopting my son from Haiti too.

Natasha said...

Heather,

I have been reading your blog for a while, but had to comment here. I have been there too many times. Besides answering (and leaving) as quickly as I am able, I love that my children *assume* that any family-appearing group (adult and child together in public) is exactly that--a family.

We, as a country, have to get out of the monoracial mindset. There are so many different ways that multiracial families are formed.

Natasha
www.multiracialsky.wordpress.com

lori said...

Go Heather, Go Heather, GO!!!!!!

You know who's Mama!!!

shermari said...

I think some of the commenters are being ignorant with their comments. People like to throw around words like diversity or multicultural, but for most minorities that is not the reality. Most minorities live in areas that are predominantly or exclusively filled with people that look like them. White people are more likely to be in a "diverse" environment where they are the majority living or working with a variety of minorities...a few Asians, Blacks, Hispanics etc.

So it is not a surprise that those women expected to see a Black child being followed a Black parent(s). I'm sorry but is not an everyday occurrence to see an (obviously) Black child with non-Black parents. Heather's response was appropriate, but I don't think the level of indignation at the women's behavior is warranted.

Heather said...

I want to respond to "shermari's" comment to this post. I 100% agree that "those women expected to see a Black child being followed by a Black parent"... and I 100% agree that it "is not an everyday occurrence to see an (obviously) Black child with non-Black parents." I looked up indignation on Dictionary.com just to be sure I knew exactly what it meant. It means "strong displeasure at something considered unjust, offensive, insulting, or base; righteous anger." I can't speak for the commenters or their perspectives on this. However, I just want to be completely clear that my *OWN* indignation was not toward the caring black women for looking out for a young black child -- in fact, that is something I truly love about watching my boys interact with black adults (the obvious care, concern, and sense of 'looking-out-for' that black adults generally show toward my children because they consider them part of their 'community')... Actually, what I felt indignation about was the fact that my own *motherhood* was being questioned. It is hard to not feel personally insulted/attacked when my motherhood (a core part of my identity now and a precious, intimate bond I have with my child) is being aggressively questioned. So, while I can *intellectually* understand why it happens, I can't help but feel *emotionally* bruised when it does. When these things happen to me (and believe me, they happen a LOT more than I post about here on this blog!), I don't blame people for their vantage points--- it is more that I just *feel* hurt. I go through my day-to-day life and then every once in a while -- BAM! -- there it is. And that sudden jolt/reality-check is what upsets me. I have found that if I talk or write about these things it really helps me to move through them. That is one of the reasons that from time to time I post about these experiences here. I hope this will shed some clarity on my own perspective on this post. Thanks shermari for reading! ~Heather

Anonymous said...

Great job. Being a black female myself, and from the south, I probably would have had some question in my eyes as well. BUT...It's because you don't see many white people with black children here in South Carolina. As a matter of fact, I don't think I've seen any. I can't say that it's ignorance, but I think it's more of disbelief. Many black people, still have in thier minds that whites could care less about them or thier children. I know that it must have upset you but use this as a tool to show the world how great of a mother you are instead of how great of a "white" mother you are to black children. The world is definately a cruel. And this cruelty was definately formed by man/woman. Therefore, YOU have the power to effectuate change. YOU ARE DEFINATELY AN EXCEPTION AS TO WHAT I SEE IN THE SOUTH! I WISH THERE WERE MORE PEOPLE LIKE YOU. HOWEVER.. Kudo's to you and your family. Also.... Make sure you check out the Carol's Daughter products they are excellent for dry skin and thier hair products are excellent for moisturizing and adding sheen to our hair. ALSO, PLEASE stay away from beeswax, as a hair stylist and loctician, I have many clients who started thier locs this way and when you look inside the lock it is filled with lint, bugs, buildup etc... I have read the products that you have been using, they contain way too much mineral oil, petroleum, etc. for locs. Because of this the boys locs lack luster and shine. Oil sheen doesn't absorb fully in locs.Please use Carol's Daughter loc butter, Tui Shampoo/Conditioner, and hair butter. You will definately see a huge difference in the appearance of the boys' hair and will reduce loc "fall-out" when the locs get longer. Trust me, I learned the hard way when I first started mine 5 years ago. Good luck!!