Mom rarely went out for fun--having eight kids pretty much dictated that--and when she did her dates usually picked her up at our house. It was a good way to save time.
Also, it was such fun for us!! We felt included and curious!
The doorbell would ring and we'd all gather like circus show onlookers in the foyer. A nice change, considering how often we crazy kids--colorfully mismatched and wildly special--were the object of gawkers and curious questioners.
And regardless of age, color, gender, or body type, some things could always be relied upon. Mom's dates would for sure be fun and open to learning about us without overwhelming judgments.
Through the years we learned by example how to insist on that, believe in it, and see it regardless of the package it came in.
I remember clearly one date my mom had who didn't entirely match the others. She was sweet and seemingly accepting, but lacking in anything "wild" or "fun".
Waiting for my mom to finish saying goodnight to my younger brothers, the quiet lady whispered to me, "Can I please use your restroom, please? If you don't mind."
Comfortably I guided her to our bathroom and made a little chit-chat, trying to create a more comfortable vibe. She seemed so timid and nervous. I then headed to the living room to gossip with my sisters about this quiet lady.
Not long after she'd been in the bathroom, mom's lady friend crept softly toward us and whisper asked, "I'm sorry, but do you have, like, a little baggy or something? A little piece of my poop won't flush, so I think I'll just bring it home with me."
My sisters and I looked fleetingly at each other. As the oldest I felt a responsibility to help this lovely quiet shy lady feel comfortable. "Oh, no, don't worry about it!" I insisted. "That toilet never flushes real well, but eventually it'll go down. We don't mind."
The lady seemed almost more uncomfortable with the idea of leaving it for us to see. "But it's my poop," she whisper insisted, "I should take care of it."
"No, no, don't worry about it! It's alright." I smiled. But she truly looked as though leaving the poop floating in our toilet was less comfortable for her than fishing it out and putting it in a baggy to take home and flush in her own, more powerful, toilet. So, I looked for a baggy.
At that point my mom came out of my brother's bedroom and with kind acceptance and a caress on her cheek, she helped her date relax. I'm not sure whether she left the itty bitty floating poop, or took it with her.
What I do remember is that my sisters and I found her fascinating!