Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Are they all yours?

On Sunday we drove over an hour to attend the Latin Mass in Newcastle at St. Patrick's, the oldest Roman Catholic church in New England. The sanctuary is only capable of seating about 60, but its beautiful decorations draw the tourists as well as faithful Catholics. Large paintings of Jesus and Mary flank the altar and the Stations of the Cross are little masterpieces. Ours were the only children in Mass and keeping them quiet in the silent and stuffy room was extremely difficult. However, afterwards while they played in the woods and Mary caught a toad no larger than my thumb, a half dozen parishioners remarked on the beauty of our family and how good they were during Mass. (I won't let such things go to my head, since I see them all the time, not just in their Sunday best) One gentleman even asked Will if he would like to help serve Mass next month.

Later we stopped for lunch and a quick trip into Shaw's grocery store in Rockland for a loaf of bread. I don't like to shop on Sundays, but it was needed for supper and I had been told by a friend of the great deals she regularly gets there. Last week she mentioned saving 50% off her grocery bill, just from sale items so I wanted to take a peek.

While I was pushing a cart loaded with children and several more trailing behind, an elderly woman asked, "Are they all yours?"

"Yes," I replied with a smile, expecting another compliment.

"Are you sure?"

"Well I was there, so yes."

Her tone seemed to change and she said in a nasty voice, "I certainly hope your husband has a good paying job."

My mind seemed to go blank and then raced for an appropriate response. "Why yes, we do contribute to the tax base of Maine, rather well I might add." would imply that those who need state assistance don't deserve the gift of children. I could have lied and made her feel guilty by saying, "Yes, he is currently serving in Iraq." But he isn't and that would have dishonored those who's husbands are serving in harm's way. "I can't see why it is any of your business," didn't seem particularly nice directly after receiving Holy Communion. In the end I just mumbled, "Yes he does," and felt guilty over all the things I could have/should have said and that I shouldn't have been shopping on Sunday anyway.

What would you have said?


FosterAbba said...

The best answer: silence.

What I would have said: Something rude and nasty back.

What you said: just fine.

Michelle said...

"Are you sure?"

Huh? What kind of a question is that?

I don't know if I would have gotten to her rude comment, since I would have still been blubbering in confusion over that question.

Otherwise, I would have just shaken my head and walked away.

When my husband was deployed and I was pregnant with #4, a woman asked me if I was on WIC. When I said no, she asked me why. I stared at her for a bit, having never ever had someone assume that I should be on any sort of assistance program before, and said, "I really don't think I qualify!" "Oh, too much income..." she kind of muttered in a sympathetic sort of way...as if we were barely living above the poverty level and what a shame it was...I was just flabbergasted. But...whatever...I can't get wrapped around the axle over ignorant people.

Milehimama said...

I'd have been very reassuring and said...

"Why yes, he does. You'll be happy to know we are teaching our children euthanizing old people is wrong, as well".

Hmm...that's probably not the best response either.

Perhaps something like "God provides for all of His children" would have been better.

scmom said...

I think I've answered that question a few times, and I usually limit it to something simple like, "We get by, thank you," or "We do fine, thank you." It never ceases to amaze me why people like that think it is their business. I suppose you would have gotten a lecture for having those children if you were on welfare.

Anonymous said...

Ann Landers (RIP) used to say that the best answer to an obnoxious question such as one you got is either, MYOB (politely) or another question such as, "Now why in the world would you want to know that?" .... FWIW, I think you did fine. I would've felt like decking her. What nerve! Not a Christian response, I suppose, but people like that get to me -- my Mom was one of eleven, my Dad one of four. But back in the day, NO ONE ever had the gall to ask questions like that. WHen I meet someome with a large bunch of kids, I sometimes ask if they're all from the same family, then I say, "God bless you". I only had 2 -- married late. Guess that makes me a bad Catholic, LOL. Anyway, God bless you all!

Donna said...

Thoughtless people saying rude things---sheesh!

I think your answer was very charitable....please do not wish you had said something rude...

Miss Manners (AKA Judith Martin) would probably say, (in an astonished tone of voice), "I beg your pardon"!

God Bless you and your darlings!