Tuesday, September 9, 2008
"Wow, What Great Tan!"
These words were uttered this summer about Iggy, quite in jest, as his melanin is a bit more pronounced than ours. I was in no way offended as the person was simply admiring his beautiful coppery caramel skin tone, but it got me thinking.
If it is in the Lord's plan for us to adopt Iggy we will probably be faced with this topic again. We have already faced several curious questions about where he is "from" (I would love to reply and say, "a uterus", but I have not gotten up the nerve. Yet.), what his nationality is, and what race he is.
They are all valid questions and nothing by which to be annoyed. Frankly, none of us in this little clan have the same skin tone. Xena looks like she stepped off a Viking ship, C'sa has a lighter, but similar copper shade of my father's skin, K.Z. is one big freckle, Mr. Clean is the captain of Xena's viking ship, with ruddy, sea tanned skin, while I am a crazy cross of an Indian father and a blonde mother, leaving me with dark hair and pale skin. We are all different.
But we are all the same as well. If we do adopt him (and we see it this way now anyway), we will be a family. First and foremost. All creations of the Lord and all a part of the Mr. Clean clan. We do not focus on a daily basis that our skin is a different hue or that Mr. Clean's Danish, German and Canadian genes are vastly different from my own Cherokee, Scot and English ones. Nor that Iggy's Latino genes are different from my own. I will be (am) Iggy's mother and that is all that will matter.
Don't get me wrong. I am not so naive to think that his genetics and heritage will not be important to him later. We all go through a period of wondering where we are from, what our ancestors did and who they were. I myself am thoroughly intrigued my own genealogy and we will do our best to help foster any interests he may have in that. We will not however, allow it to be his "idol". Culturally, my Iggy will be an American. After all, he was born in Pennsylvania. Home of the first Capitol City and where our country was officially "born". How more American can you get? Beside perhaps, eating apple pie while watching baseball?
I am proud of my heritage, but I decided long ago not to wear it as a badge of honor. Besides, carrying bag pipes and a peace pipe, all while wearing a buck skin kilt would be tough while doing the dishes and changing diapers. It's the same for Mr. Clean. Imagine our kids in the same scenario, except they'd have to wave St. Andrew's Cross, Union Jack, the Maple Leaf, Schwarz-Rot-Gold, Dannebrog and Old Glory, while balancing the Seal of the Cherokee Nation. It' s a heavy load to bear. Pride is one thing, obsession another. So we wrap it all up in a nice neat package and hang it on a peg hook. Underneath the Cross.
The fact of the matter is that while we are now a global society, we all still have allegences. To our God, to our countries and to our families. That comes long before our skin tones. I am just thrilled to be a part of such a diverse family. An American family.