Or maybe it’s the baby keeping me up from 3 to 6 am this morning that was showing on my face when I went to the store.
The clerk asked if George was my grandson.
Since I was purchasing certain necessary supplies which I would not require if I were incapable of having children, this comment put me in a foul mood.
Last month, but at a different time of the month when I wasn’t quite so grumpy, a different clerk at a different store saw I was accompanied by George and by my brother Glenn, who has Downs Syndrome.
“Are you running some kind of daycare?” she asked.
I really didn’t know where she was going with that, but I cheerily responded that George was my son. But then she wondered about Glenn.
“He’s my brother,” I explained.
It’s weird enough to go out with a brood of kids and have people ask if they’re all yours, as if normal people invite all the neighborhood children to go shopping for fun. But then to assume that the middle-aged woman with a baby and a handicapped adult runs a mixed-needs daycare…and takes her clients out shopping…for fun…
Last month, when I told my sister about that incident, I admitted that I really was old enough to be George’s grandmother.
“In Georgia, maybe!” she said. “Maybe Florida!”
But I am, even if she doesn’t want to admit it. And most of the time I’m okay with that.
But do the store clerks have to point it out?
The clerk last month was old enough to be my mother. The clerk today was young enough to be my daughter…if I had children when I was 17.
I must end this rant with a penance. The last time I went to confession, I said that I had a bad habit of being very annoyed with other people, especially people who behaved badly. I might even sometimes think I’m better than they are, at least in a particular regard. He suggested that if I felt that way, it was because they were doing things that somebody else had taught me were wrong, and that I should turn it into gratitude to whomever it was that taught me better.
Mom, Dad, I’ve been thinking lots of good thoughts about you in the last few weeks!
At some point, my parents must have explained that the older a woman gets, the less she wants that age acknowledged. I remember working at a fast food restaurant as a teen. They had a “Golden Arches Club” for people over a certain age to get discounted coffee or drinks. One time, a woman who was obviously old enough, requested the discount, and I coyly carded her, much to her delight. That reinforced for me just how easy it is to make someone feel good.
Maybe today, a young woman learned the opposite lesson, and maybe she will apply that lesson to making people a tiny bit happier.