This morning, and I mean early hours this morning, in between Woody tossing Buzz Lightyear out the window and Mr Potato Head getting a new wife, Emma stated that her and Ben are brown and I’m white. It wasn’t a question and she wasn’t wanting an answer, she was simply saying what she sees.
Earlier in the week she had commented that we three, Ben, me and her, have brown eyes and brown hair. And she added that we were all ‘same same’. Dad was ‘different’ because he has lighter hair and green eyes. And that was that.
But I have to be honest, this morning’s comment caught me a little off guard. I know the time’s coming where she’ll ask why we’re not the same colour as her and her ‘cute baby brother Benny’ but I thought it would be another year or two down the line. There certainly wasn’t any concern in her voice when she pointed out that we have a delightful top deck family, as yummy and delicious as the real thing, but what happens when there is that question, with a tone of not just feeling different, but feeling different in a bad way?
Emma is super confident. Too much sometimes. And Mark and I tell her how beautiful-gorgeous-smart-funny-clever-cute-adorable-precious-lovable-ray-of-sunshininess-loved she is. every day. Five, six, ten times a day, at least. But what if a comment overheard or said straight to her face makes her feel inferior? How do I tell my angel child that other is not ugly, it’s not bad, it’s not yucky, it’s just, well, it’s just other.
Last weekend we bumped into the lovely Margot from Jou Ma Se Blerrie Blog at Serendipity. Ben and I were sitting under a tree and Emma was off playing. Out of nowhere she appeared, a little cautiously, asking if I was Melinda. She introduced herself and pointed to her two gorgeous boys, breakfasting at a table nearby. We chatted for a while and then she said she hopes she doesn’t sound strange saying this but, Emma and I look alike. And she’s not the first. And to be honest Margot, it was the best compliment I had received all week.
Because Emma does ‘lool’ like me. She has the same mannerisms and weird little habits. We both scrunch our nose when we laugh. We both use our hands A LOT when we talk, and recently I’ve realised that my hand movements are even more animated than before, thanks to Emma. Emma and I always leave the crust behind. Whether it’s pizza or a sandwich, you can spot our plates from a mile away. Emma and I are also VERY dramatic. Queens of drama, we are.
Emma compliments people on things. Little things. Like me, she wants to make people feel special. So she’ll tell me she likes my boots, even though she’s seen me in them a hundred times. Yesterday, she, unlike her dad, noticed I had had a haircut, and told me she ‘loved it’. She then went on to ‘check out the cut’. “Hmmmm,” she said, looking at the backs and sides, “Very nice Mamma, this is a nice hair cut!”
I’m hoping that the way we’re building her up now will keep her grounded and secure in who she is, for what she is. Not because she’s black and not because she’s not white. And that when the day arrives and she wants to know why we’re not ‘same same’ it’ll be out of interest and not out of uncertainty.