Hi Meltingpot Readers,
It is with great relief and joy that I officially announce right here on the Meltingpot, that babygirl’s hair finally seems to be achieving a level of kink. Right in the back of her head. You know, that spot we often refer to as ‘the kitchen.’ The front of her head is still a mass of big, loopy curls, but judging by the rate of new curls per day, I’d say she will eventually have a head full of kinky-curly hair.
Why does this matter? Shouldn’t I just be happy that my child has hair? And good health? Believe me, I am. I seriously thank God every single night that my kids are healthy and happy, but I’d be a liar if I didn’t admit that I don’t examine babygirl almost every day for a hint of me in her outward appearance. I’ve decided I have Imitation of Life syndrome, that is, some deep, down, dirty fear that my pale, pale daughter might grow up to reject me because I’m Black and she’s not. There I said it. And make no mistake, this is not a chronic mania. I don’t worry on it all day long. I just can’t figure out why else I need babygirl to be kind of colored. I guess like my son, on some level, I just want everyone in the family to kind of ‘be Black.’
Maybe I’m writing this now because I just came inside from a walk with babygirl in our hip, multi-culti neighborhood. I was talking to this very nice Black woman who smiled at babygirl and then asked me politely, “Is she yours?” I answered ‘yes,’ without a second’s hesitation because looking at babygirl in her stroller, you’d have no reason to believe she was mine. I get it. I really do. But that doesn’t mean I’m okay with the disconnect. That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t prefer that people could clearly tell that babygirl was mine. That she belongs to me and that she came out of me. I fear that when babygirl becomes big-girl and folks still ask that question, “Is she yours?” what effect that will have on her. And we’re looping back to Imitation of Life Syndrome. Honestly, I don’t really fear that my children will reject me because I’m Black and they are kind of brownish beige, there’s too much love in this Kinky Gazpacho family for that. But I do know that perception, identity politics and color can
effect ruin the psyche of a child. So, here’s to those kinks in the kitchen. May they continue to flourish and grow.
What about you, dear readers. Is there a part of you that you fear your children will not know or experience because you married someone ‘different?’ Your religion? Your language? Do you mourn that? Fight against it somehow? I’m listening.
(And please note, I am not unaware that families with trans-racially adopted children must deal with similar feelings all the time and I do not mean to belittle or disrespect their journey with my complaints. I respect and honor that experience.)