Thanks. No thanks.

Sometimes I want to punch someone in the face (sometimes I am an angry and impatient person. I am working on this. I am getting much better. I haven’t hit anyone in over a day)

Let me just start from the beginning. I feel you judging me.

Kendi was not feeling well in the weekend so we packed up and went to the hospital just near our house. Coughing, for me, is a source of alarm so I wanted to make sure it wasn’t anything worse. Anyway, the emergency waiting room was crowded (it was one of only two days in the week that parents could take their babies to the ‘well baby’ clinic) so I knew that we had a long wait ahead of us. We got two seats near the wall and sat down to wait.

As we’re sitting there, minding our own business (well, Kendi was minding everyone else’s business- There was a baby with a balloon, another one was crying and fighting with their mother, one had just started pulling my hair, there was one running up and down the corridor- and to be honest, I was minding Kendi’s business), some lady who was offering food to her child (or the child she was with, how am I to know if they were related? There goes my impatience again), saw Kendi watching them- as two year olds will often do-and decided to share. She pulled out what appeared to be a sausage (I couldn’t tell, I was about 2 feet away and anyone who knows me, knows I am as blind as a bat without my glasses), and offered it to Kendi.

Before Kendi grabbed it, I jumped over my husband who was napping in the seat beside me, and grabbed Kendi’s hand saying (maybe now I can admit that it was louder than I probably intended) ,’no no please don’t, no thank you.’

She appeared surprised and asked, ‘she doesn’t eat?’

To which I answered, ‘no, thanks though’.

Now, this is what I didn’t say (I am learning to speak in a way that is supportive to people and I genuinely care about people so it would have probably come out friendly):

“Listen, I have no idea who you are or where you’ve been. I don’t know if you’ve washed your hands or not- I don’t mind either way, it’s your life. Also, I don’t know what sausages those are and where they are from. I would rather my daughter didn’t eat food from strangers. I’m sure you understand where I’m coming from. I just don’t know you. Then, next time, please ask the parent or guardian of the child you are offering food to, if its alright to offer them food. Some children are deathly allergic to things and you don’t want to be the one standing in the corner, wringing your hands going, ‘Imagine I didn’t know. I didn’t even know he couldn’t have nuts. Gosh, I was just feeding my child and when I saw him looking at us, I was just trying to be kind you know? In Africa we share everything, especially with children. I’m so sorry mama, I didn’t know’. You know?”

I left without saying all that. I pray someone she loves and respects has the courage to tell her one day.

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