There was a moment I'll never forget when Tre was a baby. His eyes were just starting to turn and I showed a friend the dot of stained-glass brown in the circle of cloudy dark blue he was born with. She looked, then said something I couldn't believe. Since she had blue eyes, and her boyfriend had blue eyes, she'd recently realized that if they had kids, they would HAVE to have blue eyes.
"We'd be GUARANTEED a blue-eyed baby!" she said, clearly delighted. I stared at her, stunned. Was she actually saying that blue eyes were preferred - somehow better than this, my perfectly brown-hued baby boy?
I'm afraid that day something of an attitude was born.
My sons' biological father is Mexican, and they have inherited from him a rainbow of browns. I stare at them, drink in all the different shades. Their eyelashes looks like lacquered slivers of mahogany. Their hair is glossy dark, spun strands of copper and bronze. Their eyes are the clearest pools of strong coffee. Their skin is a warm tan heavily favored by Eddie Bauer.
And then their biological dad broke. I don't know how better to say it. There was before, and then there was after, and he was gone gone gone. He associated his weakness with being Mexican, and it infuriated me. I would not permit him to bequeath that to my sons. Addiction and selfishness are not Mexican traits, they are human traits to live with or live under. To be completely honest, I feared an ugliness inside me, that I could look at them through the anger I felt at their biological father. I grew fiercer in my appreciation of them, of their brownness, of their beauty. Not only were they perfect in my eyes, they were better than any other color.
Better than any other child.
And, of course, they were all boys. And people would roll their eyes and offer me sympathy that I had no daughters. I disdained their sympathy. How could I want anyone other than my sons? I shrugged off the whole concept of girl power. Not only did I not need a daughter, I didn't even WANT one.
She was born to us, a little girl, a study in peach and gold and blue.
For weeks I was startled to look at her and realize she was really my daughter.
Last night I was reading a magazine and in an article about skin care, there was a side bar that read, "Why are there so many different colors of skin?"
Oh, I thought, I know. Because it's lovely.
It wasn't until I saw her in their arms, peachy-pale skin against sturdy brown, that I finally understood. My sons are not diminished by their sister, by her girlness or her shade of beauty. It's not a better than/worse than proposition at all. It's not a competition.
It never was.
Happy Love Thursday.