Sunday, January 9, 2011
My Modern Family
I was looking at family photos the other day and it occurred to me that my oldest son was black. I know it sounds like an odd thing to say. But it really just doesn't occur to me. He's just my child. My husband has been raising him since he was in diapers so I rarely even think about the fact that my husband is not his biological father. We are just a family. They are just my children.
So much so that when I delivered my second baby I was in shock when they handed him to me. Because he was blonde haired blue eyed. See, I never stop and think about the fact that my oldest son is mixed. I don't introduce him as my mixed kid. Therefore I just kind of, on a subconscious level, assumed that all my kids would look like him. Even after I married my husband and carried his baby for 9 months. I just never considered that my newest addition would look any different than the one we'd raised together for 11 years. So when they handed me this little blonde haired, blue eyed baby I was in a bit of shock.
We have never raised our children to see skin color as something that makes you any more different than the color of your hair or the color of your eyeballs. Our oldest obviously lives the reality that others may see him as different. But he understands that that is their issue and not his. Who people are consists of who they choose to be and the character they carry and deliver into this world.
It is because of this belief that I feel people see us as just a regular modern family. In all of our years as a family I have only ever had one person ask if my son was adopted. He didn't even have kids at school ask questions until his dad started volunteering in the classroom. But he is secure and happy with the family he has so it has never been a source of confusion for him.
The truth is that families come in all colors, shades, mixed religions, 1 parent, 2 parents, grandparents, adopted, straight or gay. The make up isn't as important as the quality. If children are loved and cared for by whomever is in charge of them then they will feel secure.
I was raised by my mother. My father lived several states away with his family. But I don't think I ever wanted for a daddy per se. (Let's forget the teen years where I threatened to move in with my dad!) My mother filled that "void" perfectly. We got her father's day gifts and cards and she loved us enough for 2 people. This was just our family make up. I always say that I have the 2 best parents in the world. They are perfect- just as long as they are apart. They didn't work well together but they each loved us enough for that not to matter.
I guess my kids are lucky to grow up in this new millennium where the face of the modern family doesn't have to be mom+dad+1 boy+ 1 girl+ 1 dog, blah, blah, blah. It's not perfection but it's progress. For me and my family we will continue to love each other for who we are and will be. We will see each other as people and not as colors. And we will continue to foster this in as many other people as possible.