Confusingly enough, this post doesn't actually include a picture. I wish it did, because the picture involved was quite adorable, but I can't figure out how to get it. So, you get words instead. Here ya go.
This past Saturday, hubby, the kid, baby E, my mom and I went downtown to hangout at the Irish festival and catch the parade. We arranged to also meet up with R and her daughter. It had been since Christmas since we'd gotten together and it was great to see them. We walked around, had some lunch, and just let the kids run around and play while we waited for the parade to start.
While we were just sitting there chatting, the kid and R's daughter were running all over. Baby E was going up and down and up and down and back up and down again the 3 steps we were sitting on. I tell ya, that kid loves to climb. The kid had picked a couple of flowers and we stuck one in baby E's hair, right on the top of his little head, like a floral unicorn horn. That, with his ever present adorable smile and "I'd rather be lucky that good" shirt, made him quite the little cutie.
We were approached by a photographer from the local paper. She made eye contact with R and asked her if she could take a picture of E for the paper. R immediately responded, "of course" and the picture was taken (though not before her daughter flew across the grass to also get in, making the pic even cuter). She handed R a card with the instructions of how to see the picture. R took the card and stuck it in her purse.
This whole interaction took less than 2 min. But there was this war waging inside me that seemed to last much longer. The crux of it all was that this was MY baby. It wasn't R's right to consent to the picture. Now, I understand why the photographer assumed E was hers. But what if - for some reason - we'd not wanted his picture to be in the paper. Probably R just didn't know what else to do or say. But, even just looking at us for confirmation would have made me feel better.
Because, really, the emotional response I was having had little to do with the picture itself, or the assumption made by the photographer. It had to do with R not recognizing us as (also) E's parents. So, I am ashamed to admit, I asked the photographer for a card. And then clarified, verbatim, "he's actually ours". She cocked her head to the side and looked at me as if I were crazy and handed me the card. She then hightailed it outta there.
I feel horrible about this. I should be confident enough in my status as his momma, to not feel the need to minimize R's importance and status (because that's kind of what it feels to me like I did). I did want to know how to see a copy of the picture, but I could have just left it at asking for a card, instead of the whole "he's actually ours" comment.
I wish I could really put in to words why I said it. Heck, I wish I could even articulate it to myself. I wish I'd just sat there and smiled, appreciating how cute the 2 kids were together, instead of feeling the need to clarify to this random stranger that I am this sweet boy's momma. Because I do know R is also his mother. And, truly, I am so grateful that she is still in his life, in our lives.
It's just all so complicated.
Today's lesson: When in the carpool lane, please do not stop to chat with another parent in another car. It's bound to make someone, who may or may not still have her children in the car, start to cuss like a sailor. You know, because she's running late for work. And we'd hate for the children who may be in that car, to teach those words to your child, right? So just move along and have your chat somewhere else. Glad we could get that cleared up.