In retrospect, I should have seen the warning signs.
While my wife parked the car and unloaded the preschooler and our luggage, I headed into the hotel front lobby to check us in. We were driving home to Connecticut after spending the holidays with my family in Pennsylvania, and made a stop half-way to split up the 8-hour drive. It had been a long few hours in the car with two kids, and we were both tired. So it was lovely to be greeted by a smiling, friendly hotel clerk who oohed and aahed over my grinning 7-month-old as she checked us in.
“Mine’s two now,” she told me as she handed me our keys. “Let me come around and see that baby!”
Warning sign number one, in retrospect, but I saw nothing wrong with her friendliness in the moment.
“We’ve been thinking of having another one,” she told me as she crouched by my baby’s car seat. “But money’s so tight, and I had a really difficult pregnancy. And it took us like two years to even get pregnant.”
Okay, that seemed like a bit too much information to be sharing with a random stranger checking in to a hotel, but I was tired so maybe I was misreading her. I smiled. “Going from one to two has been a big adjustment,” I tried to make small talk.
Yeah, that was warning sign number two.
Then my wife came in, preschooler and luggage in tow. We smiled at the clerk and nodded our thanks. I picked up the baby’s car seat and we headed to our room.
A few minutes later, I headed out to the car to grab some things. And that’s when it happened.
“So…where did your kids come from?”
Screeeech. Turn. Polite smile. “I carried both of them.” Turn around. Exit quickly.
Nearly four years into motherhood – more than that, if you count my first pregnancy – I suppose I should be used to these comments from strangers. But the truth is, they still irritate me to no end.
Yes, we are a two-mom family. Yes, in rural America that still seems somewhat novel to many people. Yes, I’m grateful when all I encounter is curiosity rather than open hostility, especially in Trump’s America.
But when I get questions like this – especially from complete strangers who would (I hope) never ask an obviously straight couple something like, “Where did your kids come from?” I’m often torn between snapping, “None of your business!” and making a sarcastic comment about how a fairy brought us some magical flower seeds that we planted and prayed over.
More than anything, here’s what I really want to say: Where the hell do you THINK they came from? Didn’t you take 6th grade health?
I don’t know what response people actually expect when they ask questions like this. Some are more to the point. “Who’s the father?” Um, there isn’t one, thank you very much. My sons have a donor, not a dad, and my preschooler is perfectly capable of explaining this to you if you’re confused about how that works.
It’s 2017, America, and it’s time to wake the hell up. Stop asking about things that aren’t any of your damn business. Stop asking dating couples when they’ll get married. Stop asking married couples when they’ll have kids. Stop asking new parents when they plan to have another one.
And for the love of everything sweet and holy, stop asking LGBT parents where their kids came from. If we want you to know (and we probably don’t), we’ll tell you.