May 2, 2011

Who’s Your Mama

Summer was in full bloom.  The sun was high in the sky, birds were singing their songs; flowers were dancing in the wind.  The world seemed vibrant with new life, hope, and beauty.  It was six weeks after I had given birth to my son JD and I couldn’t wait to go to the park and meet up with my mommy friends.  It had been weeks since I had seen them all at Brie’s friend’s second birthday party.  It had gone on for almost five straight hours so it’s not surprising that my labour started a few hours later (I partied that hard).  Anyway, this was the first time I was seeing everyone again and I took extra care getting me and the kids dressed.  When all of the bows were tied, hair clips were in and matching the outfit, sunglasses were perched on our noses and hats were set at jaunty angles…we were off.  I was excited because this was my first time using my brand new double stroller.  My friend came down the street to pick us up and then we were on our way to the park. 

As we strolled into the pre-schoolers section I was surrounded by all of my mommy friends, nannies, caregivers, grandmas, and their kids.  Everyone wanted to meet the new baby!  As I greeted them all I realized there was a woman who I hadn’t met sitting on a bench watching us talking.  After the meet and greet died down a bit, I went over to introduce myself to her.  Imagine my surprise when she asked me “who’s their mom?”   “Pardon me?” I replied.  Then she repeated, “Her hair is so straight, who’s her mom?”  Instead of taking offense I decided to introduce us, “This is my daughter Brie, she’s two…”  “Nooo!” was the response.  Before I could continue with the introduction she was already intimating that I must be watching the baby for someone else because he looks so white (this was before Jds colour had come in and his eyes were still blue).  To this I patiently replied that he was my six week old son.  Anyway, I then told her it was nice to meet her and went back over to my friends.  A few minutes later, she came up to me and asked if she could take a picture of me and my son.  I politely said “No!  I wouldn’t feel comfortable doing that.”   At this point I was fuming inside.  How dare she pester me about how incredulous she finds it that these are my kids?  Now don’t get me wrong, I am aware that our kids don’t entirely look like either me or my husband.  And I think their features showcase the best of us.  I have a sense of humour about the kids not looking exactly like me.  After all, my friends have been continually teasing me since my daughter was born about her ‘lack’ of curls, and my Filipina girlfriends have told my kids to call them Tita (auntie) because they look more like them than me or my husband.  The hard part about this for me was that I didn’t know this woman at all but she felt like she could challenge me and insinuate that I’m the nanny posing as their mother. 

If I had a do over, I still would have been polite to her but sometimes a girl’s got to vent.  So here’s the deal lady…I carried both of those babies, I felt them kick, I saw my body grow bigger and bigger with new life and watched both of those babies slide from my body.  They are my kids.  So we don’t look exactly the same, welcome to the 21st century; we’re an interracial family and this is what we look like.  The next time you decide to marginalize a mother and tell her that her kids don’t look enough like her, remember that modern families no longer fit into the 1950s nuclear family archetype.  We don’t have to be carbon copies of each other to carry the title “family”.  And for the record, I will answer her question one final time, “Who’s their mom?”  Lady, I am their mother… you better recognize!

Comments

  1. I feel you! I have 4 bi-racial grandchildren and I love them all. My son has been through a lot of ish with over the years. Some ppl just have small minds! Your family is beautiful!. All of my grandchildren have the curly hair, but I was not aware of there being a rule as to what texture hair bi-racial children has to have. Hair comes in many textures in all races.
    Living F.A.B.ulously on Purpose

  2. I’m visiting from the UBP 2013 and saw this link and had to come read. My cousin married a beautiful African American man and they have two children, a girl and boy also. Their oldest Vanessa looks like her mom with her father’s darker skin tone and their baby Alex looks like his dad with his mom’s lighter skin tone. They are absolutely the most beautiful children I have ever laid eyes on. It’s so sad that there are people in this country who still get so beat up about interracial children. They don’t all look alike, and neither do all Caucasian or all African American or all Latino children. Get with it people and stop being so ignorant!

    • Well said Kari! Thank you so much for weighing in. I truly believe character is so much more important than colour and it’s nice to encounter others who also believe in this truth.

  3. Pardon her for ignorance. Its been along while since she got out from her cave.

  4. Sometimes people just don’t think when they talk! Thanks for sharing your experience.

  5. Hi. I am your newest follower via GFC & Facebook. I found you on the Blog Hop. I would love if you would stop by my blog and check out my newest post on the horrific Alabama Tornado Disaster that happened in my home town. It goes into detail about what happened and how we can all HELP by giving back. PLEASE check this out at http://pricecrusher.blogspot.com/2011/05/help-alabama-tornado-victims.html

    Thanks!
    God Bless!

    Heather H.
    The Price Crusher

  6. Lioness says:

    Thank you for stopping by my blog. I really appreciate your visit.

    Lioness-Your newest follower

    http://lionessrebirthorg.blogspot.com

  7. Ohhh welcome to my life… We are a transracial family through adoption. I did not carry our son Malachi for 9 months, never felt him kick, or any of those things… but I too am equally a mother and I will admit it is very hard to deal with some of the questioning, looks, and comments. Malachi is almost 13 months old so I would say the first 6 months were VERY hard because I was not as secure and EVERY time we went out we were stopped a minimum of once… now I typically laugh or make a joke… and move on… anyway I enjoyed your blog and I look forward to reading more! I’m a new follower!

    • Awww, Malachi is super dooper adorable. I guess we just have to continue ignoring the looks and try to educate others about our families when given the chance. It’s a challenge but it’s also a chance to shine our light. After all, our families give a glimpse of what heaven is like.

  8. Tech Ed 4 Kids joining you for the Wednesday Blog Hop! http://teched4kids.com

  9. I found you through the Carnival and I am so glad I did! It is amazing how often people say things without thinking about the impact it will have. So rude! I’ve had some similar experiences to you and Donna (in comments) with people asking if my children are mine. Once my (former) allergist asked me if they all have the same father! I couldn’t believe he had the nerve to ask something like that! It is why he has been my FORMER allergist for many years now. Thank you for sharing your story!

  10. Hi, lovely blog! Am now following from the blog hop 🙂
    http://www.mommyadventures.net

  11. What is wrong with people?! I’ve heard some pretty rude remarks, but to go so far as to want to take a picture. What’s up with that? You handled yourself with poise and class in a situation that would’ve turned me inside-out. You know, I wonder sometimes if people are really, really “that” ignorant, careless, or just plain old stupid. No wonder there’s so much hate in this world. Your children are beautiful, by the way. Thank you for sharing your experience.

  12. Alison says:

    Awww Char, that was so rude of her! I think I remember you telling me that story. I can’t believe she wanted to take a picture of you guys. It’s so strange, when I have Brie or JD people always assume they are my kids even though we don’t look a like. They again people always think Denise’s kid is mine too. Weird… guess people see what they want to see. You were really polite to that lady and I think you should be proud of yourself for that.

  13. Sometimes the most beautiful products come from a combination of ingredients. 🙂

    I cannot believe that woman. That is just insulting and rude. My best friend in fourth grade was blacker than black and her mother had long blonde hair and looked like she just stepped off the boat from Sweden. I imagine they had the same problems, people probably thought she was adopted. I hope for you that you do not have any more such encounters in your life, but if you do, you are given the strength to overcome those who are uneducated.

  14. Great post! Thanks for coming by mine too! I once had a dermatologist, do you hear me?!, a DERMATOLOGIST ask me if Dee Dee was adopted. Grant it, he was an old fart but still…No, she came out of me. As with the other four, my body worked it out for nine whole months and I got the stretch marks and varicose veins to prove it! Seriously though, I just smiled and let him know. Crazy thing is that she is my mini-me…just a tan version, lol. No mistaking we’re related (I thought).

    • A dermatologist…that’s ridiculous! Girl, your family is absolutely stunning and you’ve handled so many challenges with ignorant people with grace. Keep your head up and continue doing what you’re doing…it’s working. You’re an inspiration to us newbie mommys in interracial relationships out here.

  15. Oh! I don’t know if I could’ve held it in girl! After these types of incidences we always wish we could have had a do over. Trust me when I say, someone out there will give it to her and give it to her good!

    People amaze me at their boldness and how comfortable they feel asking ridiculous questions.

    I’m a firm believer in what goes around comes around. I’ve seen it with my own eyes.

    Thanks for sharing your experience, feelings, and thoughts. I enjoyed your post! I’ll be back! You’ve got a new fan!

    • I also agree that what goes around comes around. That’s why when I’m faced with these situations I try to let it go because it’s not worth it.

  16. Following you back now for sure!!!!!! Loved your post (obviously)! I have very much felt the urge to tell someone that they “better recognize” on numerous instances. It is just so rude to ask someone if she is the child’s mom. Why is it their business and does it really matter to their life. Great, great post!!!!

    XO

  17. Michelle says:

    I am your newest follower from the finding new friends blog hop. I am tring to play catch up from the weekend! 🙂 I am one of the hosts! Stopping by to say hi! Hope to see ya on all my blogs 🙂 I have giveaways going on my my grocery game and my Fire butterfly Jewels blog! 🙂

    http://myowngrocerygame.blogspot.com/

    http://firebutterflyjewels.blogspot.com/

    http://mommysmenuplanning.blogspot.com/

  18. What nerve! A photo? I think you were much more polite than I would have been able to muster. And while no one has asked to take my picture yet, I can relate. My little one’s looks are definitely a mix between my husband (dark skinned, brown eyes, black hair) and me (fair skinned, blue eyes, blond hair) and we get those ‘who’s your family’ mixups, too. It’s “funny” how my husband’s family think he’s soooo guero (fair skinned) and my family say his complexion is soooo dark. Who cares? He perfect the way he is! Great post — thanks for sharing!

    • Isn’t it interesting how shadeism is relative, depending on who’s looking? My family and community of friends are filled with people from all shades so I’ve decided to try and encourage my kids to discover people’s character as opposed to the shade of their skin. But that’s easier said than done with all of the influences outside of our little bubble!

  19. Thank you for stopping by. What an awesome tribute to motherhood 🙂
    http://memoirs-of-2-wicked-chefs.blogspot.com

  20. Wow! The nerve! Charlene, I’m so glad that you joined the blog carnival and I can’t wait to read more of your blog. I know that so many families can really relate to your story…I know that I can! Thanks so much for sharing this and for connecting with us. You’re right on…this is what a multicultural family looks like!

    • Thanks a bunch Chantilly. I think it’s important to be candid and share our experiences, after all, it’s an opportunity to learn about others and grow within ourselves!

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