This past weekend, our family ventured out to our local Goodwill to purchase a large framed canvas to Pinterest into a magnetic board for the kids. As I was browsing the frames, my son took the opportunity to spit up (more like chunk-up) all over his Gymboree polo and the overflow hit the floor. My husband rushed out to our car to grab the baby wipes. Meanwhile I stood straddling the puke while whisper-yelling at my girls to NOT touch the glass figurines on the child-level shelves.
A Black twenty-something female employee approached us and was admiring the girls' hair (to which my girls usually act some sort of weird because they just don't like strangers giving them attention about something they simply don't care that much about). Then she smiled and asked my oldest, "Are you girls sisters?" (For more on my #1 adoption pet peeve...check out my recent post on Rage Against The Minivan). My girls didn't respond to her and kept doing made-up dances and closing their eyes and poking one another about two inches from the closest glass figurine.
My husband returned and we wipe-bathed our son and then the floor...and moved on to more frames. As we were making our final selection, an older woman, perhaps in her seventies, pushed her cart behind me and caught my attention. She held three one-dollar bills in her hand and pressed them into mine. "I don't have grandchildren to buy things for," she said, catching my gaze. "Take this and let the kids buy something."
I was dumbfounded at first. Should I take the money? Should I hand it back?
She then said, "How long have you all been a family?"
I smiled and relaxed a bit. I shared a little about our crew, and then she asked what the kids' names and ages were.
Her questions were those you might ask any family.
Her compliments weren't race or adoption-specific. (Yes, it's nice to sometimes hear that I did a great job on the girls' hair, but when people approach my kids and constantly say, "Your hair is so cute!" and the kids find the attention embarrassing, even insulting, perhaps...).
She didn't thank us for "saving" the "children who need a good home."
As she walked away, I watched her, and whispered a prayer.
It was really cool to see how my children blessed this woman, touched her heart, made her smile.
It's nice when humanity pleasantly surprises me. When we are treated as we are:
a real family. With kids with real feelings and listening ears.
What a joy to have a gentle conversation with a stranger that didn't involve judgement, defense, insults, lingering stares, assumptions, or inappropriate questions.
So, to the kind lady at the Goodwill store,