I’m a pro when it comes to running interference. P-r-o. Got a Nosy Nellie asking probing questions about one of the kids? I can nip that in the bud without breaking a sweat. Or a Meddlesome Mindy making (unintentionally) offensive comments? Yep, I can nip that sh*t, too. We’re talking NFL worthy skills, baby.
But the kids are getting older now, so my days of running interference are ticking down. More often than not T-man and Bear are out in the world, fielding offhand comments on their own. And they’re doing okay…I just wish they didn’t have to hone this skill so early.
You guys look so much alike.
Yeah, they get this one. A lot. Sometimes even from people who know they’re adopted. Like, separately. I’m not sure how they handle it when I’m not around (well, duh), but when I am? Can you say “awkward moment of silence”?
Wait. That’s your mom?
These days I pick up these vibes most often in the car rider line. I’ll pull up to the curb after school and occasionally catch the odd glimpse as T-man starts toward the car. It’s been awhile since I overheard it, but I know it’s still happening.
So, are you playing basketball?
This one elicits different answers, obviously, since Bear says yes while T-man says no…and it’s not so much about the question as people’s reaction to their answers. Everyone loves Bear’s because a) it gives them something interesting to talk about, and b) Bear really is passionate about the sport. But T-man catches a little flack when he comes back with a no. Listen. I get it. He’s tall, he’s black, he looks athletic, whatever. The kid doesn’t like basketball. Get over it.
It’s part of that whole helping baby birds learn how to fly thing, but man…it’s hard to retire this jersey. All I want to do is run blocks for these guys of mine. But the hard truth is that they probably don’t need my interference anymore. Not with the pests, anyway.