A few weeks ago I was putting Emma to bed and we were chatting about school and family and life in general. We started talking about an incident with Finn and suddenly she sprang up and said “Mom, I know! Maybe Finn speaks Spanish and that’s why we can’t understand him!” I can’t remember if I laughed out right or was able to hold it in but I assured her he wasn’t speaking Spanish. This lead to an interesting conversation about our family and our heritage. We have Scottish and Irish roots with some German and Native American Indian thrown in but I could sense that she was feeling sad because she didn’t have anything that made her “special” like her friends who could speak two languages. Oh, goodness! What do you tell this sweet girl who wants to be a princess and live in a castle… I know, maybe that her ancestors may have been princesses (I don’t really think that’s quite the case which we talked about), lived in castles and talk like Shrek? Umm, yes, I think that’ll do, Donkey, that’ll do… In fact, I’ve heard clans on my side of the family were at odds with clans on Jeff’s side of the family. Doesn’t that just beat all?
Fast forward to Emma’s class Halloween party. I made her costume and could tell she felt fabulous in it. When we got to school we put her costume on and away she and Finn went scurrying into the throng of 20 other kids. We sang songs, shared treats, participated in a parade of sorts through the school halls, read stories and celebrated a birthday. And then it happened… One of the mom’s wanted Emma to sit next to her daughter because “she is so pretty”. In the moment I helped get Emma’s attention to sit for a photo, etc. But as the children sat eating their cupcakes and I reflected on what had occurred and it seemed odd to me. Other such scenarios played in my mind as I thought through why my kids garner so much attention. I know Emma is one of two “white” kids in her class. I know we are in one of the most diverse communities in the nation. And now this community is shaping and changing us in ways I would have never imagined. Emma doesn’t miss much. She sees and hears the differences between her and her classmates.
I don’t have a nice bow to put around what I’ve learned from these situations. I’m struggling to put my finger on what to take to heart, what to stand up for and what to let roll off my back. My mind is a muddle. So, I’ll leave you to think and pray with me. As we walk further and deeper into what and where God is calling us I pray for an open mind and open heart, for stamina to run this new race for which I feel ill-equipped, for wisdom when there are no words to explain and the peace that passes all understanding to prevail in our family. Amen.