Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Parental Understanding

While my mom was in town I got to indulge in a nice hour long wander through a book store. Against my better judgement, I found myself wandering into the "Child Development" section. I know, I know. I've resolved to let go of the "I need children immediately" mindset, but I've been so good lately. I had determined that I could look at all the parenting books, but couldn't pick any up. It's all about boundaries.

Of course, one caught my eye. It was called "Why does no one look like me?" and was about raising interracial children. It's written by a white woman who struggled through raising children with her Asian husband. It addressed all the fears I have about having interracial children. As much as people like to think racism is mostly gone from society and that interracial couples are commonplace, anyone in these circumstances can tell you otherwise. I was enthralled, standing in the middle of the aisle of a bookstore, devouring this book. I snapped back to reality once someone finally tapped me on the shoulder with a "*ahem*". Apparently, I was blocking the whole aisle. Nice.

I put the book down, reminded myself that I'm not going to drive myself crazy anymore and banish children from my mind. My mom wanders by and asks what I've been looking at. I showed her the book.
With love and grandbaby-lust in her eyes, she said "That's probably a good idea. You don't have a whole lot of experience with this, and neither do I. I find myself noticing kids from interracial backgrounds and thinking to myself 'my grandkids might look like that.'"

At that moment, I had never loved my mom more. And I realized how very lucky I am. If the whole world is going to be against Xtian and me, at least my family is there to support us. I'm so grateful that I never felt like I had to "prep" my parents when I started dating Xtian. I never felt like I had to make excuses, or be afraid of what my family might say.

I spent a lot of time wondering how my parents felt about our relationship. I know they like Xtian and they are glad that I'm happy.
But being happy for your daughter is one thing. I was afraid to ask my parents how they felt that their hypothetical grandchildren will be black. I was afraid they'd react the way a lot of people do when faced with interracial kids "you don't look anything like your mother!" or be unable to see the features they'll undoubtedly share with their grandkids.

My parents have now gotten a lot of questions from their friends and contemporaries about me and Xtian. Usually not so blunt. More in terms of "sooo. How do you feel about....that?" At first my parents thought people were asking about our living together. And would respond in ways that just seemed to confuse people. Eventually my parents realized what was being asked and were taken aback by the questions.

My parents don't always understand me. And I know they won't ever be happy about some of the life choices I've made. My disdain for all things religious perplexes them daily. But at least I don't have to worry about this anymore. No matter what ignorant shit some people say to us, at least I don't have to worry about it from my immediate family.


Feeling a little sappy today, sorry for the break from our regularly scheduled bitching. I'm sure I'll be back to my cynical old self shortly.

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