My dad and I celebrating my birthday, 2014
We hopped in the truck early morning and decided to drive as far as we could. Somewhere in South Dakota we pulled over for the night. The first weird incident was the hotel. The hotel had a single bed and they were confused why I needed my own bed. My dad has was tired from the drive and it became heated fast that the room was not what he had requested. One roll-away bed later, everything seemed fine. The next morning we woke up to a flat tire. This was annoying but fixed pretty fast and we made it to Wyoming that evening. My dad was trying to make the trip enjoyable so he asked if we wanted to go shopping. He wanted to get my mom something as well so we went to a local jewelry store. The sales person there started talking with my father and my dad explained he wanted to get something for his wife. The sales person assumed that was me. Instantly, I felt naked. I felt disgust and uncomfortable. How could someone think that I was my dad's wife. EWE! My dad is not the emotional type. He was like no that is my daughter and moved on. I was so upset and very unclear why I looked like I could be his wife. I was around the age of 14... Ewe.
The trip was 7-8 days long. The rest of the trip I stayed in the truck. My dad did not understand why I excluded myself. I would not go shopping, or hiking or anywhere. I literally sat in the truck while he visited all of the sites. It is still unclear to me why I did not tell my dad how uncomfortable I was. I am not sure why I could not get over the sale's persons mistake. All I knew was people saw me and my dad as some sick relationship. I was crushed. My dad became annoyed by my lack of participation. I really wanted this trip to be something fun but I could not fix it. I know in the end it was silly and a mistake but it was how I was perceived by the outside.
Writing about this experience helps me with clarity and understanding. I too have a son and he is not adopted. However, he is fair skinned and I am darker. People ask me about the difference especially when we lived in the South. However, I address it when it happens and explain to my son people can be naive and cruel without intentions. For example, while getting my son from after school another child asked if I was his mom. He said I don't look like him. I explained I am his mom and we do look like just not the same skin color. I do not want my son to have the negative experience I had and I feel the best way to prevent an issue is by addressing the problem and talking through it. At this point, my little man does not seem to care. I hope he continues to feel that way.
A side by side photo of my son and I at roughly the same age
(I think we look pretty similar)