I’m realizing that three out of these four stories involve me being in high school. Hmmmm. Something I really never thought about or connected. Oh well.

In high school, one of Krissy’ friends, Helen (not her real name), and a classmate, June (not her real name), were sitting at a two-person table in a science class. For whatever reason, Krissy walked into the classroom to pick something up or do something in the nearby lab.

June asked Helen, “Who’s that?”

Helen replied, “That’s Krissy Winelater (totally misspelling our last name on purpose).”

June carefully thought about the answer and then asked, “Is she related to Jenny Winelater?”

June knew me through her twin sisters — April and May (so not their real names) — who were in my grade. I think I played summer softball with April and May, and June, who was several years younger than them, usually tagged along at the home games.

Anyway, Helen said, “Yes. They’re sisters.”

“But they don’t look like anything alike!” June exclaimed in disbelief.

“Because Jenny is adopted,” Helen said slowly and carefully.

Dots connected.

My sister, Krissy, and her lovely family: Jason, Tova, Ethan, and Gavin. I totally stole the photo from her Facebook album.

Speaking of looking like each other, I just remembered another humorous story. A long, long, long, long time ago, I had an engagement photo of Krissy and Jason framed and hung on my apartment wall. When any new friend stopped by my place, they looked at all the framed photos of my friends and family. However, the engagement picture stood out above the rest and sparked the same conversation over and over with different people.

A new friend, looking at the engagement picture of Jason and Krissy: “Oh, is this your brother and sister?”

Me, wrinkling my eyebrows in disbelief, replied: “No. That’s my sister, Krissy, and her fiance.”

Maybe Krissy and Jason have the same features and could be mistaken for siblings. Maybe. And that’s fine — it’s an easy mistake, I guess. However, take a moment to think about the question before saying it out loud. If Jason was actually my brother, why in the world would I have a professional photo of JUST my brother and sister? Shouldn’t I be in that photo, too? Did my friends think my parents were that cruel? “Oh, we just want a family photo of our biological children. Adopted kids don’t count.”

Every time I think about that conversation, I just smile and shake my head. Admittedly, I’ve put my foot in my mouth more than I would like to admit. Sometimes I really do need to think about what I say before I say it out loud.

Categories: Jennifer Elliott

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