When People Ask If You Have Kids


“Oh, you have kids?”

“How is your son doing?”

“You had a kid, right?”

“How old is your son now?”

 

…… These are all questions that absolutely NO ONE prepares you on how to answer. Maybe I’ve just been noticing them more, but it really depends on the situation as to how I choose to answer them.

Last night, I was serving a table and one of the customers was a girl who I went to school with who was a year older than me. She was with her family, including her 2 children. Our conversation went similar to this,

Her: “You had a kid, right?”

Me: (fuck) “Yes”

Her: “Oh, how old?”

Me: (brief pause) “Oh, he just turned 5” (fake smile)

Her: “Oh wow! These are mine, (gestures at children)”

(blah blah, I ask how old they are)

 

In that situation, I DO NOT want to get into the actual truth. Because I don’t want to make her (or her family) feel awkward. And every time that happens, it just makes the asker feel bad about asking, even though asking about someone’s family is a very normal small talk thing to do. Also, I’m at WORK and I don’t want to potentially ruin their meal by getting into a very sad topic. No one wants to think about children dying. I figured that if she decided to creep me on Facebook later, she’d very quickly see the truth. My cover photo is this right now FFS:

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Another situation that happened recently:

I was at my work Christmas party, we went to a bar for the afterparty and some people from the other restaurant location in town were there as well (there are two locations). I made an offhand comment about being pregnant, and one of the girls from the other location asks, “Oh, you have kids??”

Me: “(pause) Yes”

Her: “Boy or girl?”

Me: “Boy”

Her: “What’s his name?”

Me: “Noah” (please stop asking me questions, I don’t want to deal with this)

Her: “Oh, where is he tonight?”

Me: “(longer pause) Oh, he’s with his dad”

Her: “Oh that must be nice, getting a break!”

Me: “Haha (awkward chuckle), yeah”

My friend was sitting next to me, and he just shoots me a look, like WTF? And I just whispered to him, “…sometimes it is just easier to lie…”

Since the day Noah was born, if Caleb wasn’t out with me too, usually the answer to where he was, was “with his dad” (why do people ask that question anyway, it’s not like he’s in a corner in the bar lol), so that lie came a little easier than trying to think of anything else.

Another situation, but I didn’t lie:

I was at a party/event thing on New Years Eve, and I ran into a girl I knew in college.

Her: “How’s your son?”

Me: EXTREMELY LONG SILENCE WHERE I LOOK EXTREMELY AWKWARD AND MY BRAIN TRIES TO DECIDE WHAT TO SAY

Her: (panics at my silence)

_______________________________

After 5 years of talking about my child in random conversations, it is extremely difficult to stop making offhand references to him, whether by mentioning pregnancy or him directly. I never know how to refer to him, past or present tense, if I do talk about him truthfully.

It’s a very strange and awkward adjustment. And it doesn’t help that most of these situations seem to happen when I’ve been drinking (I guess that makes sense, I have a higher likelihood of being in the position of talking to strangers if I’m having a night out).

Most of the time, I really have no idea what to say. I feel bad because I don’t want the other person to feel bad for asking, but I also feel guilty because I don’t really like lying to people. I suppose as with everything with this whole mess, it’s yet another learning curve. Maybe I’m too focused on the other persons’ feelings, but am I being considerate… or maybe I’m just being cowardly, because in most situations I just don’t want to deal with the look of pity and their obvious immediate regret for asking the question?

I just don’t know. I wasn’t prepared for this shit.

…. but is ANYONE ever prepared for this?

 

 

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2 thoughts on “When People Ask If You Have Kids

  1. No words… 😦 I keep forgetting… I think I actually do it accidentally on purpose. It’s easier to imagine Noah in GP with you or Caleb… then something reminds me. And the sad comes back. Sad for noah sad for you and Caleb just so much sad.

  2. It becomes easier to understand the euphemisms people use in the wake of death – “no longer with us”, “passed on”, “lost their battle”, “with us in our memories,” “lost” etc. And sadly, although the adjustment is likely just as stark as maternity, there is little grievance leave for parents who lose their child – time and space to come to terms with what to say when people ask.

    You’ll find the words, it takes time. He is with you always (and perhaps saying that alone makes it clear that he has died).

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