|Me & Bee at 5 months|
Tonight Bee and I had another conversation about skin color, about how we are alike and how we are different. It’s funny how these conversations seem to happen at bedtime, while we are curled up together in his rocking chair in the dark. These conversations with him are different from the ones Zip and I had when he was younger, when he would tell me things like, “Daddy is brown like an M&M” and I would nod and agree. Bee, on the other hand, is noticing his brown skin and already he is noticing our differences. And while our conversations aren’t about race yet, in some ways they are, or at least they someday will be.
I could say that the difference in our skin colors is no more significant than a parent and child having different hair colors, but I know it is much more significant because someday he is going to go out into a world that tells him skin color matters and it matters more to people than hair color does. He is going to go out into a world that divides people based on skin color – although maybe the exponential rate at which the multiracial population is growing and color lines are being blurred will throw that on its head. I hope so.
He tells me he wants green eyes, like me. I know that is simply a 3-year-old wanting to be like his momma, just like he announced the other day, while pointing at my breasts, “I like those! I want to have some like that when I get big!” For now my job is to let him wish and imagine in the way that preschoolers do, while letting him know he is perfect just the way he is (and assuming he will eventually outgrow his desire for big boobs).
The conversations flows gracefully, effortlessly between us. I hope it is always this way. It begins so simply, my 3-year-old telling me, “Someone in my class has different color hair.”
Well, hair and eyes and skin all come in lots of different colors.
You and me have different color skin. What color are your eyes, Momma?
My eyes are green.
I want green eyes.
You want us to have the same eyes.
Yes. Can God paint my eyes green?
No. Your eyes are brown. God picked that color for you when you were still in my belly. He knew that was juuuuust the right color for Bee’s eyes to be.
What color are you? Me and Daddy are the same color. Zip is the same as you.
Zippy’s skin looks tan like mine, but you and Zip are both me and Daddy mixed together. You are both tan and brown mixed together.
(He grins and peers under his shirt, all adorable.) I have tan but you can’t see it!
That’s right. You have tan, but it’s inside you. And you know what? Our eyes and skin are different colors, but we have something that is the same – we both have dimples! Do you remember what dimples are? Look – here are mine, and here are yours.
How much do you love me, Momma?
I love you thiiiiiiiis much, buddy.