Me or them?

Me or them?

We were at the dollar tree again. In the toy aisle of course. The kids were examining every piece of cheap plastic in hopes of finding the one that might not break within the first 12 seconds and still be fun.

Guns always seemed to rise to the top of the boys’ list.

I don’t mind a good water pistol, but some toys today seem a bit too violent for my taste. Naturally, those were the ones requested.

As I attempted to redirect them to the balls and silly string, Victor objected loudly, “Our dad let’s us shoot guns.”

And there it was.

Another woman in the aisle glanced my way. I could only imagine what she was thinking as the three foster kids who looked strikingly like me waited for my response.

The new mom in me suddenly felt what every other mom talks about. Judgement.

My head spinning, I knew I had two options. Me or them.

I could choose to make reality clear. Explain that Victor was talking about his biological dad and that I was only their foster mom. That I’m not associated with that man or his choices.

Or I could leave it be. Let this stranger think what she would and move on.

Simply put, I could deny these kids or I could deny myself. Show them I’m with them through thick and thin.

Would I stand in front of them to protect them or jump behind them to shield myself?

I realized this was the first of many times I’d have to answer that question.


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  1. Pam

    I didn’t realize until my oldest adopted son told me as an adult, how much he hated me pointing out to everyone who wondered, that he was adopted, that no I did not have a child at 13 years old (I was 18 years old and he was five when he came to live with me “way back” in the 1970s when divorce was rare and step-children even more rare, and adopting children at 18 years old was impossible). How I experienced that reverse feeling of not truly belonging when as an adult, he would tell people I was not his “real mother,” that his real mother had died and left him to “her” as he pointed to me. Now that I’ve been raising his two children, I am happy to say they are my son and daughter, (they hate being called my grandchildren) and make sure I suck up the judgments so they don’t have to. God knows and that’s the only judgment that counts.

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