I found myself this week reflecting on the words shared during the adoption panel last week. A man shared a story of putting his young daughter to bed. While he kissed her good-night she stated, "Daddy, I don't want to have brown skin anymore."
Every parent in a transracial family knows that one day the conversation is coming. Your child will notice that you two have different skin color and that you don't match like the other families around you. You worry that you will find the right words to say. Did you read the right books to prepare you? Will you say the right words in the right order that make my child both proud of their race and your family? Since this conversation comes without warning, will you been in the right frame of mind to handle this situation?
Most days, I will be honest, I don't worry. My son is going on 19 months old. He loves all things Elmo, chickens, water, graham crackers and sticks. Sometimes when he holds my arm while he is fading off to sleep, I stare at the combination of our skin tones. He has this lovely dark-honey brown complexion and I have white skin with dabbles of pink with assorted age spots and freckles. It's so lovely to see how our skin tones bring out the best in one another's complexions. People are the same way. Our personalities and likes are different, but together we can bring out the best in one another. I just hope when that conversation comes up with Jules that I can help him understand this.
Back to that father putting his daughter to bed.....Well, he thought, "Oh no, here it is. Here is that conversation." He replied, "Oh honey, what color do you want to be?" She replied, "Blue, I want to be a smurf."
Children will realize their race. They will rely on their parents, the world around them and in the end, themselves to sort through the issues and make their own choices about their race. As parents, all you can do is be honest with grace and let the child guide the conversation so that it meets his/her needs. Because sometimes, the child just wants to be a smurf.