Friday, July 17, 2009

Library Grand Re-Opening

I hustled around like a mad woman this morning to get Emi and I out the door by 8:30. It didn't happen, but we did finally leave about 9:10 - which, considering that I didn't even get INTO the shower until 8:35 is saying something (I am notoriously slow when it comes to showering).

About a year and a half ago (give or take, let's just say it feels like forEVER) our main library closed and moved most of the books and staff to a temporary location while they revamped the original one. Today was the day of the big unveiling. Yippee! I had found out there was to be a parade going from the temporary location to the new fancy location, with ribbon cutting, cookies and ... who knows what else. But I thought the parade would be fun and while the ribbon cutting and speeches were happening, Emi could just run around outside.

Best laid plans.

Come to find out, no one I asked knew about a parade. As the ribbon cutting time came closer, someone shouts out ... "here comes the parade!" Okay, it was cute, but parade? No. A bunch of kids, someone said it was a camp but I don't know for sure, about 5-6-7 years old walked from the temporary location to the new (old) one. Carrying the last books to make the move back home. Cute idea, but I got suckered into the whole parade thing. Heh. Oh well. Emi had her cookie so she was happy.

While we were waiting for the ribbon cutting I realized it was going to be awhile, and it was going to be inside. Yeah, silly me ... open a building, one would think the ribbon would be across the front door? Nope. Emi and I went inside, found seats and ate cookies (Emi had both, hahaha, no surprise there).

Some old bat (apologies to the few nice old bats that might be reading this ... Hi Mom!) sat down beside us (btw, I didn't think "old bat" at the time). I smile at her, Emi grins her cookie encrusted sweet smile at her. And the woman says "oh, are you her mama?". Yes. She then says "your husband Oriental"? My answer "No, and he's not Asian either". Confused look. At this point, it's still a nice conversation even if she doesn't know the terminology, many don't and frankly I didn't feel like getting into it. However, then she drops the bombshell. "Oh you poor little dear, you are one of those poor little orphan girls from China that no one loved."

Uh, huh.

I gather up our things, ticked beyond reason. But I just could NOT let that go. Yeah, I know. I should have.

Me: "Ma'am, actually, she was and is very much loved. We have no idea what her biological parents had to go through, but most likely is was not an easy choice to let her go. I am sure her Chinese parents grieve every day for this sweet little girl. I hope you wouldn't say something like that in front of a child who could actually understand what you just said."

Not my proudest moment, and before anyone kicks me, don't bother. I've been doing that all afternoon. I was sure she meant to be kind, meant to say something positive and didn't. It probably came out wrong and she's feeling doubly bad - she put her foot in her mouth and I slapped her about it.

I moved us to the other side of the room, red faced and embarrassed. Ready to go home, but Emi was honestly enjoying herself and really had no idea that something had just happened. However, a few moments later another woman came and sat next to us. She said she had overheard the conversation (my heart sinks) she says that that woman is known in the community for saying hurtful things all the while smiling. She called them cotton-covered barbs ... perfect term! I told her that after what I said I felt terrible, I was raised better than that. (Polite, be nice to our elders, etc.) She said not to give it another thought, many that overheard it were applauding that someone actually gave that woman back what she had coming.

Sure, it sort of made me feel better, but not really. While she is a meanie, the next person who says something like that may not be and may honestly be trying to say something nice. I need to find a way to "correct and protect" without harming. Emi is going to look to me for my responses, and I need to work on them. I think it's just that when we are out and about, we rarely get any comments except "she's darling, sweet, delightful", etc.

Moving on.

The speeches, thankfully, were kept to a minimum. Emi was a complete champ! She had, of course, plowed through those two cookies like we never fed her well before the start of the speeches. There was no way out of the building at this point, it was standing room only. But she was still doing okay, so we just sat and waited. She charmed and laughed and clapped her way through the speeches, and really did amazingly well. In fact, after, several folks came up and thanked her for sharing her smiles and enthusiasm (see? this is what we usually get!).

They finally cut the ribbon and everyone streams in. Emi and I go in, return books, find new ones, check out and leave.

We were sitting outside on one of the benches, Emi running around being well, Emi. She'd come by for fly-by hugs and/or kisses. Then, she crawled onto the bench, into my arms, grabbed my cheeks between those sweet, sticky fingers and pulled my face to her for a kiss. Then, pulled it down so we could rub noses (pretty much typical for Emi). She smiles, laughs, claps and runs off. I love this little gal so much my heart just bursts. I still can't believe how lucky we are, to parent this sweet (mischievous) little (imp) girl.

A nice old man (see, I don't call all old(er) folks old bats!) sat down next to me and said "What a delight she must be. I have been enjoying watching her play and stop long enough to give her mama kisses."

Yeah, he ended our outing on a positive note.

P.S. Had the camera. Took no pictures. Typical. I did include some of the library that I 'lifted' off their blog. It is a pretty spiffy building. Nice to see tax dollars going to good use.


Controlling My Chaos said...

Well Yay for you, Kiy. I think you said exactly what needed to be said and it wasn't rude at all. I loved your response "And he isn't Asian either." Stop beating yourself up. Emi also needs to see a strong Mama that stands up for her. You should be proud of yourself.

Gina (Caleeo) said...

Ditto what she said. It is all good. And the kisses story is priceless.

Debbie and Sam said...

I think I probably would have stood up and aplauded you. Good job!

Magi said...

Don't beat yourself up too much about it. It sounds like this woman needed a good telling off. While that might not be the way you would normally handle this type of situation, in this case I say you were right on.

~3 Sides of Crazy~ said...

Glad your day ended on a positive note. And I for one am glad you said something to the old bat, no matter her intentions - she was inappropriate whether Emi could understand her or not! I too would have applauded you had I been there.

a Tonggu Momma said...

Actually, Kiy, I think you handled it quite well. Your words were not in any way impolite, just honest. I know that Emi is too young to understand at the moment, but there will come a time when she DOES understand. And your response was spot on as a momma - protecting your daughter is much more important than another person. Especially when said person needs an attitude adjustment.

Snap said...

Having just been in a similar situation, I believe you said it perfectly! Exactly what needed to be said, and wow....what is WITH people?

Anonymous said...

Granted I am not an adoptive mom myself, but I do have four of my own. Unlike your other readers, I feel you were a bit harsh. What's up with the oriental vs. asian comment? What's the difference? Typical of adoptive parents, you drop a bombshell on some unsuspecting person and then don't explain. Let me guess, same thing as we can't call black folks black, now it's African American. A bunch of hooey in my opinion.

Frankly, if you love your kids, it's enough. I have been recently reading a lot of adoption blogs (specifically China) and there is too much emphasis on their so-called heritage and adoption related issues. China didn't want them. They are now Americans. So be it. As for their issues, like I said earlier, love is enough. If they are having issues about being adopted then you didn't show them you loved them enough. Heck, real families have those kinds of problems too. Show them love (and the Lord) and you won't have any problems with your kids.


Jeff said...

Well Sandy, it's like this. Asian people don't like being called "Oriental", and this isn't a recent development. It's not like referring to African Americans as "black" - it is more like calling them "colored" - a really bad idea.

Calling people by terms that they don't like is a really good way of announcing to the world that you are either a) ignorant, or b) a bigot. If you make a habit of doing this, you should hardly be surprised if people call you out on it.

I'm going to guess that you are white - do you really like to be called "honkey" or "cracker"? If not, perhaps you should give some thought to the Golden Rule - since you are apparently Christian, you might try taking a look at Luke 6:31.

I also notice that you got in a little dig about "real families" - since you claim to have been reading about adoption, you certainly realize that this is an offensive turn of speech, but you choose to use it anyway. I gather you like insulting strangers behind the anonymity of your keyboard?

It's amazing how many folks these days will close some ignorant or bigoted screed with a reference to the Lord. I'm puzzled, not being a Christian myself. When, exactly, did ignorance, rudeness, and self-righteousness come to be considered Christian virtues? I don't believe it used to be that way.

Why Do We Even Have That Lever? said...

I was born with club feet and my Mom had to endure a little of what you go through. One day when I was about six months old I had casts on both my feet to straighten them and some woman all but attacked my Mom in a grocery store screaming at her the whole time about how she was obviously abusing her baby. My mom burst into tears and tried to explain but this woman was having none of it and wouldn't let her get a word in edgewise and so eventually she just grabbed me and ran away.

Again, this other woman obviously thought she was standing up for an abused baby, but she wasn't.

I hope people don't say hurtful things to Emi as she grows up. Unfair! As you said, you don't know what happened to her "other" parents.

I'm glad you are a strong woman and stood up for yourself and your daughter.

And, as a person who works in a library, yay for the new library!!!!

Whimsical Creations said...

What a beautiful new building.

I think you handled the situation exactly the way it should have been handled. That older woman should have known better than that to ask you those questions. Don't beat yourself up over it.


The Source said...

Oh my. Well...I think you did the right thing in at least letting that woman know that she was wrong.

I find that sometimes old people (you did say old...right?) say things that are stupid, but they may or may not mean to be hurtful. Like her "Oriental" remark. My grandaddy, who wouldn't be mean to my kids on purpose for anything, calls my son a "cripple." He's 88 and well...that's what his generation called people who didn't walk well.

However...implying that "poor Emi" wasn't loved?? How would she know?? That was a ridiculous assumption, and I think you did well not smacking her with something!! Ugh!