She Who Must Not Be Named

By Frank Lowe

Originally published on Advocate.com February 18 2014 2:04 PM ET

In regard to being a gay parent, there have only been a couple of occasions when strangers have asked me off-putting questions. The most memorable was during a trip to the pumpkin patch a couple of years ago. Our son was 2, so he approached everything with excitement and clumsiness. We went to a real pumpkin patch where you ride a tractor full of hay and actually cut the pumpkin off the stalk. Not exactly my cup of vodka, but it made the family happy, so I played along. We found a glorious pumpkin, and my spouse did all the dirty work while I played with my iPhone. We grabbed our little man, who was wandering the patch, and boarded the tractor to go back and pay for it.

The tractor wasn’t very crowded — there was room for maybe 20 or so people, and there were three families total. I noticed out of the corner of my eye, a mother was staring me down. I did what I always do in that situation — stare back. I always have shades on, so it typically only takes a couple of seconds for the person to break the stare and turn away, defeated. Well, she didn’t. She then opened her mouth and asked the most idiotic question possible: “Where is his mother?” This is so wrong on so many levels that I was truly taken aback and speechless, for once. There was a long, awkward pause, and then I replied. “I haven’t the slightest clue where she is. Our son was adopted.” I kept it simple and concise. Since children were present, I wasn’t about to say what I really wanted to say: “Are you fucking kidding me? Take me aside and ask me this if you really feel as though it’s your business, which it isn’t, but never say that in front of my child.”

I can’t imagine what was going through that woman’s mind. Try as I might, I just am not able to empathize with her to understand why she asked that. She just said “Oh,” and that was the end of that. Fortunately, our son was too young to start asking questions. Now he is old enough to know everything about his upbringing, and there are no mysteries. I would like to think if we were in the same situation again, he would interrupt and reply to her, “My mommy lives somewhere else, and I live with my two daddies and I love them.”

Parents — have you ever been asked something inappropriate in front of your child? If so, how did you handle it? Respond in the comments section below.

FRANK LOWE is The Advocate’s parenting writer. Follow Frank on Twitter @GayAtHomeDad and on Instagram at gayathomedad.

Contributor: 
Frank Lowe