Thursday, March 19, 2009

A lesson in 2nd grade...

Well, it happened. Volunteering in my 8 year old's class, someone said it. One of her classmates actually went where no man (ok, 2nd grader) has gone before: He pointed out that I am white and Meg is black.

He simply stated the obvious: "You're Meg's mom? You don't match."

Wait, he's right. We don't "match".
In the very long 10 seconds, before I could form a sentence, a flood of thoughts and emotions rushed through my system. I felt my face and neck flush and maybe even a hint of a lip quiver. My thoughts raced wildly from "You rude kid. Have you no manners?" to "Ya think? Yeah, we don't match." or "Yes we do! We match! We match!" and even "Fine! I'll tell you the whole story. You see...we couldn't get pregnant for so long .... and then..."

Then the song from the old Sesame Street show seemed to play in my head... "One of these things is not like the other..."

And while I was stewing in my own mind, Meg saved the day. She took the words right out of my mouth. Even though I didn't have them there quite yet.

She said, "Duh. I have brown skin and my mom has white skin."
That was it. No explanation. Just a simple, direct response to a simple observation. And back to their 2nd grade work they went. Together.
I was a proud mom - with a big smile that wiped away the quivering lip.
And the bottom line is, most people don't make comments to be rude, even though some comments feel rude - and dare I say? Even a bit racist?
Often, as adults, we make a mountain out of a molehill. In that moment in time, I had taken a child's simple statement and planned to respond with 100 different ways to educate this innocent 2nd grader on the joys of transracial adoption, and there are lots of different kinds of families, and everyone is special, with perhaps a sprinkling of "all men are created equal".

But a child states the obvious, no matter how uncomfortable it may seem. It was just an honest observation; not a slam, not a put down, not even a question. To that boy, this was as simple as:

"The sky is blue"
"I like pizza"
"You don't match"

I learned from Meg that just re-stating the obvious is the best "answer". Meg knows we do match. Our skin doesn't, but our hearts do. Our minds do. And because we match, our family is complete. And it's a match made in heaven.



  1. Beautiful! Made me cry. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Thanks for making me cry! That is really such a sweet and basic life principle. I love it and thanks for sharing! By the way we miss all of you guys. Give love and hugs to everyone for us. It is getting lonely down here! Love ya!