Sunday, October 24, 2010


A few years ago, when my daughters were little, we were at the oldest's first soccer game of the season and I started chatting with a man who was there with a smaller girl. I asked him if he was the grandfather, and he replied, somewhat offended, that he was the dad! Boy did I ever feel like I had my whole foot in my mouth! (From then on, my friend and I referred to him as "Grandpa", lol, but no to his face!)

Another time, I was picking my daughter up at a school chum's house. I knew the Mom vaguely and on that day, she was standing in the driveway with another lady. I said hi, then I said to her, "Oh, this is undoubtedly your mother, you two look so much alike!"

Well, the other lady replied in a very vexed tone ( and I don't blame her): "Mother?!!!? I'm her sister!!!"

Again, I had another taste of my foot...

Anyway, I was thinking about those hard learned lessons recently one day on my way to the animal shelter where I volunteer, and how it is simply better not to assume anything until you know more about someone or a situation.

It is strange how I recalled these two incidents that morning, because as life would have it, that hard-learned lesson would come in handy that very day.

A seemingly middle-aged lady walked in with a little toddler. She was interested in adopting a cat. My first impression was that this was a retired lady babysitting her grandson. But with my "never assume" lesson freshly recalled, I went instead on the assumption that this was her son. The worst thing that could happen was I would have a very flattered grandmother.

Good thing I did. When I asked her how old her little boy was, she replied "18 months" and didn't correct me by saying, "Oh, he's my grandson, not my son. But thank you!" I was very proud of myself.

As my daughter is fond of saying, "Never assume. It makes an ass of "u" and "me."

Life lesson well learned.