Monday, April 16, 2012

I don't think this would ever happen in the U.S.

I was sitting at a table in the Family Food Court at the mall, waiting for half of my children and my husband to return with their food. While I sat, I noticed a group of Saudi women, heavily veiled, as is normal, covered in black abayas. They were chatting while wrangling little children. One woman was holding her little baby--probably about 4 months old, and talking to her friends. The baby was exceptionally pretty with dark, abundant curls and beautiful dark eyes. I smiled at the mother and using a form of signs, told her how pretty I thought her baby was. The mother smiled in return, enjoying my obvious adoration of her baby. The women left, carrying the children away.

Five minutes later, the women returned to my table, where the mother held out her extremely pretty baby and motioned for me to hold the baby. Initially I was reluctant as you just don't hand your baby over to strangers, at least not in the U.S. I couldn't resist the lure of the baby though and opened my arms to accept her. I cooed at her and enjoyed her for a couple of minutes. Then I returned her to her mother. I was rewarded with an enormous smile from the mother. And then the group of women left.

I was a little shocked by the whole exchange, but enjoyed it anyway.

I do appreciate going out in public with my family because no one frowns at me for my large family. On the contrary, I frequently hear compliments about being a mother to 5 kids. The only people who are ever disparaging about my large family are other expats. Oh well. 


  1. Beautiful experience. Thanks for sharing! This is the thing I love about other cultures - experiencing things that you would never experience if you were stuck in the same culture your whole life. Beautiful experiences like this one.

  2. That is seriously awesome. I need to link to this post. I remember nursing my first baby at stake conference in the mother's room. A Hispanic woman came up to me and in her rough English asked if she could see me nurse. I can't remember if I was covered while sitting there or not, but I thought it was weird how she was getting so close to me. Although I felt a bit awkward, I let her peek down at the baby nurse. She thought it was the sweetest thing.

  3. What a wonderful 'shocking' experience. This woman must have a good heart, letting a completely stranger to touch her child.