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."
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.
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.