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!