Is She Mixed?
We took a short trip to a nearby park tonight for a little jogging. Mike and I switched off watching Mae while the other one ran laps around the playground, trying not to inhale the fumes coming from the teens smoking pot in their car just a few feet away. Got to love city parks in the suburbs.
Anyway, I took my turn (yes, I’m back to jogging!) and then traded off with Mike. As I was watching Mae, there were four other kids on the playground, all siblings, and all mixed-race, playing alongside her. Their ages ranged from probably 9 to 4, and they were like any other kids: extremely friendly. After I busted out the bubbles, I suddenly wasn’t a complete stranger and began fielding questions like where I lived and what I ordered at Golden Corral. We were buddies.
As familiarly set in over a few minutes, the oldest sister, 8, point-blank asked me, “Why is she mixed?” I wrinkled my face for a second, amazed at such a blunt question. She then stared up and down at me, then looked across the field at Mike, and then narrowed her eyes back on me to show the origin of her question. “Why is she mixed?”
I suddenly realized she had 1) noticed Mae is biracial and 2) noticed Mike nor I are black. I casually explained we had adopted her, and after she needed more explanation, I told her that her birth mother was my color and that her birth father was dark… so that’s why she was mixed. That answer seemed to appease her.
She walked away as if it was nothing, but the conversation stuck with me. For over a year, we’ve been waiting for the questions and funny looks while we go out in public, but we’ve not received even one awkward glance. I don’t know if it’s because summer is coming and she’s getting darker or because her beautiful curly locks are staring to really fill in (or as I like to say, “fro out”) – but it’s becoming obvious that we are a family of two white parents and a mixed little girl. And I love it that the kids, so innocent and curious, are the ones bringing it up.
I couldn’t have ever imagined that the short trip to the park for a little jogging tonight would have become such a big day in our adoption story for me, but I cherish the questions I was asked by fellow mixed kids who noticed my daughter was “one of them.” I’m thankful for the strides that have been made to where we’ve not received rudeness at any level, but only openness and acceptance of our differences. And what I love the most is that I’m fielding the questions not from rude adults turning their noses up, but from an innocent, beautiful mixed little girl who sees someone else like her and speaks openly about it. Progress I’d say, progress indeed.