Wednesday, January 24, 2007

To whom it may concern

Dear Santa Maria Post Office employee woman,

I realize you will probably not read this letter, because I don't think you read my blog. If you did, you would probably not have told me what you told me yesterday.

In case you don't recall, right around closing time last night my three children and I entered the post office. Two of them were riding nicely in their stroller, the little girl sweetly holding a package to be mailed. The third child was walking calmly and quietly beside me. They waited patiently as I mailed my package and adoption finalization documents, and as we were leaving you asked me if they were all "mine."

"Yes!" I said proudly as we proceeded to leave. That's when you looked at me and said without smiling, "You're crazy."

Now I really want to believe the best about you. Maybe you've had a bad experience with children in the past--maybe at the post office even. Or maybe you genuinely thought I look like I suffer from those delusions of grandeur I learned about in my Abnormal Psychology class in college--perhaps you'd even recently consulted your DSM-IV manual. (I wonder if that's where the term "going postal" originated?)

Either way, it seemed a little impolite to call me crazy, especially in front of all three of my children, none of whom are hard of hearing. I am an at-home mom and it's what I do each day, just like you spend your days working for the US Postal Service. In the future I hope to have a better in-person response to such comments than my standard, "They're great kids." But for now, this letter will have to do.



darci said...

poor girl, you seem to be running into all the idiots lately. :( Maybe you should send that letter..might make her think before she makes another thoughtless comment.
I'd rather be thought crazy though (or radical, better yet!) than apathetic, passionless, and stagnant. (you could add a p.s. to the letter..heehee.) hang in there, momma! darci

Anonymous said...

I don't think I've posted before...we are very different (I'm an agnostic for one! :)) but I do enjoy your entries so I visit often. My dauther is black and my husband and I are white looking hispanics and we all speak Spanish so you can just imagine the comments/looks we get (not all nice). People will feel entitled to make offensive remarks about the make-up of your family because of the fact that your family looks different and because you have a large family (I'm envious by the way...I wanted four but it looks like we'll be a family of only 3 :()when they wouldn't with a family that looks the same and/or has only 1 or 2 kids - people can be clueless or just plain mean.

Hang in will eventually find a good equilibrium in terms of responding (or not responding) or letting it just roll off your back...but it takes a while.

That was very offensive. You probably did the right thing by not responding but I would have told her "that is offensive...please keep your opinions to yourelf" and/or asked to speak to her manager. Just indignant for your sake...'tis all. ;)

Hang in there! You should hear some of the comments/questions people have made in front of my EIGHT year old daughter...reason why I've gotten really good w/ quick responses & have taught her a few too (her last one was which I stole from the Internet-LOL- was: "I don't discuss personal matters with strangers") - you should have seen their faces!LOL

Angela (so I can show off my little girl!LOL and because blogger is not letting me sign in!)

Angel said...

Wow. An crazy amount of people feel free to share their opinions with you IN FRONT of your kiddos. I am flabbergasted and so sorry you have to face that. What positive thing comes from saying something like that to a total stranger? I think your family is precious. You are not crazy. You are very brave. I honestly don't think I have been that brave. I adopted one 7 year old. Would I have been brave enough to do two toddlers???? Maybe... I don't know. You are very unselfish. You are willing to give more of yourself than many of us are willing to give. Am I willing to give up that much of myself? I don't know. I'm still in negotiations with myself.:0) Reading blogs of all sorts of wonderful people like you is good for me. I want to stare myself in the eyes and examine whether I am on the right path. MANY MANY people do not. Your life is a big red sign that says "WE ARE LIVING LIFE A DIFFERENT WAY!" That is a great, amazing thing. It can also be a scary thing for people who don't like to look at certain things. At least I am in the bible belt over here (Texas) where everybody seems to think kids are okay. When I lived in Seattle having kids was often treated like a plague to be avoided until you were getting so old you had to go ahead and pop out a couple before it was to late. Hee hee... NO I am not saying everyone in Seattle was like that. I lived there too. It just seemed like having children was not as valued as the environment I came from. It was much more centered around career and other things. Different choices and priorities and we would have stuck out like a big sore thumb. :0) Well, keep up the good work you brave momma. Angel

5KidMom said...

For goodness sakes!!! What is wrong with some people?! You're doing a great job, Briana. There are just a lot of screwy people in the world, that don't think before they speak (probably ever). Maybe it's because they feel convicted somewhere deep in their spirit about their own inaction. Maybe they came from a big family, and feel they didn't get enough attention as a child. Maybe this. Maybe that. I say, who cares. In truth, they are rude. Our "different" looking families are bound to attract attention, but their is no valid excuse for invasive, insensitive and inappropriate comments. Period. It is your job, just like every other parent, to look after your children and do what you need to do to protect them. That might include a curt comment, a letter to a manager, or various other things over the years. Unfortunately, due to the world we live in, that is an extra burden we signed on for when we chose to adopt trans-racially. I think women like this (and the one at the African Children's Choir concert), need to be told of their insensitivity. Our kids need to know we have their backs, and other families might be spared the same experience if you nip the rude behavior in the bud now. One can only hope.

I'm sorry you had this experience. I wish we could be sure that it would never happen again, but the opposite is true. So, from one "crazy" Mom to another, keep fighting the good fight!!

Erin O' said...

What a nasty thing to have happen! You're very understanding to give her the benefit of the doubt. I just wonder why people feel they have to share EVERYTHING in their heads. If she thinks raising 3 kids with one on the way is crazy, then she can choose not to do so and let other people make their own choices.

I don't think you're crazy, I think you're a great mom with wonderful kids.


kristen borland said...

way to sock it to her, brianna. you're the wo-man! :) tee, hee!

Jeannett Gibson said...

So, the million dollar question:

You gonna actually send this in?

(I think you should).

Brianna Heldt said...

Hmmm Jeannett, that IS the million dollar question! I don't know! It WOULD be a shame for such dripping sarcasm to go waste...

Anonymous said...

You're not crazy. You're wonderful. And your 4 children are wonderful, too.

Lara said...

Dear Brianna, I'm so sorry you have to deal with these things so often.
Maybe her comment was just made out of astonishment. The same way that I would say, "Whoa, Crazy!!" if you just told me you took a vacation in the alps and got to go to the top and look down on the world. ...Maybe?
Or maybe she was just being plain rude. Either way she obviously doesn't understand what you are about. Hopefully she'll get to experience the beauty of children someday.
p.s. Thanks for always giving me the benefit of the doubt when I speak before thinking.

Laura said...

Wow, between this and Morticia Adams you certainly have had your fill lately... You will find your voice. Did you ever watch Designing Women? I always imagine myself putting some ignorant person like that in their place the way Dixie Carter did with a killer Southern accent. Except that I am from Brooklyn and say cawfee and am really socially anxious. LOL I'll pray for both of us to find our voices WHEN it happens....


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