“Is this your son?”
“Yes, they’re mine! I’m their mom and I’m so blessed!”
I remember I was at a party and holding my son, when a woman asked me if Alex was mine. Shocked and hurt by the comment and quickly, answered her by saying, "why woul dhe not be?" turning the rude questions back on her, havingher look deep inside at how her questions was rude and iggnorant. I felt sorry for her that her world view was so narrow that she could not imagine that love come in all forms.
When you’re a multi-racial family, you get used to having interactions like this one. My then husband is white and I am multi-ethnic and our beautiful son is are mixxed. People sometimes ask intrusive questions, but I have learned not to take it personally. I recognize that they have just as much learning and growing to do as anyone else, especially when it comes to raising children of a mixed heritage. Yet, when we listen to our children, we learn that the most important part of being a family is loving and caring for one another, not having the same skin color.
When people see a “black” mom walking around with a fair child(ren) sometimes people will ask rude questions right in front of the kids. “Do you have any children of your own?” “Are they adopted?” “Are you their babysitter?” People don’t realize that these intrusive questions are hurtful. I have explained to my son that, in general, people do not have ill intentions when they ask these questions. We have a choice in how we respond. We can choose not to take it personally. Rather than responding with something shaming, we have the opportunity to respond with kindness. My response to these questions is usually something along the lines of, “Yes, we are so blessed that love is colorblind! I’m the luckiest mom in the world!” A response like this makes my son smile every time I say it. It honors and protects his feelings, first and foremost, while also gently answering the stranger’s questions.
He feels secure—even if we still get a rude question every once in a while. I always hope my response teaches the stranger, but more than that, I hope it teaches my son that we can offer people grace. It is the same grace we are so thankful to receive when we make mistakes.
It’s a bit of a balancing act, acknowledging racial and cultural differences while being careful to teach our son that what truly matters most is loving G-d loving one another, and having high moral character. Thankfully children understand this instinctively. For children it is that simple. Children see what is most important. They see past skin color. Beyond that, they will also see the commonalities that unite us. I remember reading a book to our then four-year-old son. The book was discussing physical differences and how G-d loves everyone including those with light skin and dark skin. I took the opportunity to point to my skin and show him that I have light skin and that he has dark skin. My son looked at our arms side by side and exclaimed, “And we all have skin!” To him having different skin colors doesn’t matter at all, we all have skin, we’re the same.
While we are a multi-racial family and we may have a few more awkward interactions with strangers than non-multi-racial families do, we have a lot in common with other families too. Like other parents, our laundry piles up and my son refuses to eat their vegetables. Like other parents, we love our son deeply. What I can say is this.. Love comes in all forms, all colors, all ethnicities, from love, beautiful children are born.