Who’s Your Daddy?

For the purposes of this blog post I’m going to call my husband out on his super secret addiction to the Maury Show. If he’s ever home from work during the week, he simply can’t help but tune in to hear Maury say, “You ARE the Father!” or “You are NOT the father!” I don’t know if he watched the show before we had kids, hell, I can’t recall life before kids at all, but since we had our children I think it’s become a supreme fascination. Many men on the show deny their paternity because they think the child doesn’t look like them, especially in the case of biracial children. Before meeting my husband, I never really thought about race.

The Nod

After falling in love with my husband, I’ve been clued in to the world of race that has always existed in its many shades and undertones. I’ve even learned to watch for “the black man nod”- the subtle greeting two men exchange when they happen to be the only two black men in the vicinity. I truly want to come up with a similar “mommy nod” or look that says to other moms, “Hey, it’s alright. I’ve been there too.” especially when it looks like they’re having a rough day, but let’s save that for another post. Since becoming pregnant with my first child, the guessing game of what my kids would look like began. For those that don’t follow my posts regularly, I’m white and my husband is half white/half black though some have mistaken him for Puerto Rican or Dominican.

My father-in-law Willie Johnson, Sr. (Skip) with baby Hannah.

My father-in-law Willie Johnson, Sr. (Skip) with baby Hannah.

She Ain’t Got No Pointy Nose

I’ll never forget my father-in-law’s first words when he held my first-born Hannah in the hospital, “She ain’t got no pointy nose.” The memory still makes me laugh because my father-in-law’s thick Alabama accent was all jovial and joy when he said it. My father-in-law was a lot darker than my husband and when he saw my daughter white as can be, he sought out the one part that seemed to confirm her lineage to him. When I take my kids out in public people always ask/guess what my kids’ race is and you know what, not only do I NOT mind, I actually welcome it.

Korean? Italian? What Are They?

When my husband took my kids to a doctor’s appointment right after my gallbladder surgery a lady in the waiting room guessed I was Korean. A lady at a birthday party guessed/asked if my husband was Italian. Numerous people flat out ask me what their father is, always following my reply with “oh that’s where they get their lovely color from.” I don’t know if that’s meant to soften the question in case I mind, but it makes me smile inwardly that they can’t tell at first glance. In the beginning, my husband worried people would think he was the step-dad instead of their real dad because they’re fair compared to him. Hence his Maury fascination with the many black men on the show who deny paternity because “it can’t be my kid; that kid is white.”

I couldn't imagine I'd ever have a blond child.

I couldn’t imagine I’d ever have a blond child.

Blond Hair Anecdotes

If you would have told me six years ago I’d have a child with blond hair, I would have laughed in your face. My kids are fair, but not quite white in people’s eyes and so they are curious.

Black Enough?

Being of mixed race himself, my husband has often expressed a feeling of not being black enough, yet not white either. Earlier this month at the fair, a carnival game worker tried to entice him to play by offering him “a light skinned discount.” I was taken aback until my husband laughed and said, “he’s light skinned too; he get’s it.”  Instead of being offended he was delighted because as he explained to me the guy understood his struggle.

Hope For The World

So does it make me worried that my kids don’t fit the picture of black or white? NO, not at all. If anything, it makes me immensely proud because they are the living examples of how love is truly color blind. Their very existence gives me profound HOPE for the world. I know that people will never stop guessing what their race is. I welcome it. I LOVE that strangers don’t automatically know because it means that they can’t automatically ASSUME anything about them. It forces the world to get to know Hannah, Jayden and Sydney as individuals FIRST with questions of race coming AFTERWARDS.

I personally LOVE that my kids go to a school and church with kids of all different backgrounds, a lot of them of mixed race as well. I LOVE that they are growing up color blind. Till recently my daughter thought that our family was white because she doesn’t see any differences between us. When talking to Hannah recently she revealed that some kids at school asked her to choose between two kids who she wanted to be friends with and she responded that she wants to be friends with everyone. There is no picking and choosing in her eyes and I COULDN’T be more proud of that. As I said in my earlier post, she’s an all or nothing kid and when it comes to friendship and love she is most definitely ALL IN.

A Generation Of Color Blind Kids

So go ahead and ask me if you see me out in public. It reminds me that we don’t all have to fit in a check box. I always check the black and white boxes on forms for my kids. I want people to know that they are black AND white, BUT more importantly I want them to REMEMBER that they are simply Hannah, Jayden and Sydney; the most precious blessings of my life and my hope for future generations of color blind children and the world.