The Assumption Aisle

Exhausted and weary, I pushed my full grocery cart towards the checkout at the store. The day with the baby had been a long one of feed-change-repeat, and on two weeks without shopping, we were badly in need of some fresh food. I entered a checkout line and started piling the cartons and boxes of food onto the narrow conveyor belt, and the thirty-something cashier gave me a warm smile as she started scanning my items.

“You look tired. Long day?” Small talk as she scanned my cereal box.

I laughed and affirmed her assumption, but focused on the ever-mounting price total on the little scanning screen.

“Did you work?” Scanning canned tomatoes.

“Taking care of the baby all day, yeah.” I was thinking hard about my budget, hoping the 2 for $3 applied to my frozen veggies.

“Oh I see. Was your baby planned?

That got my attention. I looked at this woman as she scanned my frozen broccoli, sparing me only short glances, the word yes automatically formed on my lips… but before I could lie, I stopped myself.

Why would she ask that question? What about me screams Hester Prynne? And most importantly, why was I about to lie about it?

It was the first time anyone asked me about the origins of my baby since he had been born. I had thought the judgement was over after he arrived- people are usually too distracted by those chubby thighs and bright blue eyes to spare much rudeness- but it continues to follow me still, even without the baby with me. For a while I had forgotten to feel bad for myself as a young mom.

Maybe I look young. Maybe I look like I don’t know what I’m doing. And maybe I feel like I should tattoo my forehead with I HAVE A COLLEGE DEGREE, DON’T LABEL ME. 

But as I stood there at the grocery store, facing this cashier, and two really small words came to mind.

Who cares?

Brady is here now. It doesn’t matter to me where he came from- planned or unplanned, adopted or conceived, mistake or success- nothing could impact how much I love him. And though it might make some good gossip or an interesting twist on a TV show, the fact that I got pregnant my senior year of college doesn’t really concern anyone else. And it’s not something I am willing to guilt myself about anymore. So I smiled at the cashier and owned up.

“He was a surprise. A very handsome one.”

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7 thoughts on “The Assumption Aisle

      1. I’m a single mom and a man I don’t know at all asked where my daughters father is. When I told him “its just us,” he said “oh so he is what the state would call a deadbeat?” I replied with “thats really none of your business” and that did just fine. It might seem a little rude, but it honestly is NONE of their business. And maybe saying it will make them think twice the next time they see a young or single mother or any family that doesn’t look like what they believe a family looks like.

      2. Wow, I can’t believe he would be so rude! It’s true that the family is changing- society needs to realize that a young woman with a child doesn’t mean an uneducated pity case. Younger moms are empowered, independent & intelligent nowadays, and the world better get used to it!

  1. Perfect response Mandy! You’re so mature and are definitely going much farther in life than a 30- something working behind the conveyer belt at a grocery store! I can’t imagine a better surprise than Brady and I’ve only seen pictures! 🙂 I just found your blog, soo excited to keep up with you and Brady! I need to come meet him soon ❤

  2. Honestly I am appalled! If you decide against the forehead tattoo I am signing up now to be your cheerleader to walk around holding your framed college degree behind you. The nerve of some people. So proud of you and the woman you have become!

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