Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Generation Gap

This morning, while walking Raphaela to Gan, we met one of our new more elderly neighbors, one of the few who has had a conversation with us and taken an interest.  At first she seemed surprised that we were out of the house so early, and I explained that her nursery opens at 7:15 am.  Little does she know that Raphaela wakes up sometime between five and five thirty am, so seven already feels late to me.

Then this neighbor spontaneously asked me if Raphaela was "mine," and she clarified her question by saying, "Did she come out of your stomach?"  I tried not to look offended in any way, and said in a joking tone, "How could she not be mine, Raphaela has my eyes..."

The neighbor then mumbled something about me being single and the assumption that maybe I had adopted, because Raphaela's skin tone is a little darker than mine.

I don't know if this qualifies as an Israeli experience speficially, or an encounter that might happen anywhere on the planet, where the idea of biological parenting by choice has not yet taken hold in the older generations.


Midlife Singlemum said...

Even if you had adopted, it's a very personal question to ask someone you've just met. So I don't know if it's generational, Israeli, or just plain rude. I keep meaning to write alist of responses to personal questions of this nature so that I'm ready for them. Trouble is, ther's alsways a question you didn't think of...

Sarah said...

I think it's everywhere.

It's not a choice between Raphaela being adopted or you being a SMBC; there is also the possibility that Raphaela was "an accident."

I think it's natural for people to be curious about other people's biological origins, but indeed it's too personal a question to ask someone you've just met. The most important thing is that you are a woman with a little girl, regardless of how she got to you. Later, if you get to know someone better, you can inquire about details.

I recently ran into a gay acquaintance and his partner, and they had a baby in a stroller. I was DYING to know whether she was biologically related to one of them, but all I said was "oh, she's so cute! Mazal tov! What good news!" and moved on. Some questions will have to be left unanswered until I get to the next world and all is revealed. :-)