Ever since I was a little girl, I always dreamed about my future: what ballet company would hire me as their prima ballerina, what my wedding would be like, what my future husband would look like, and how many kids we'd have (after I stopped dancing as a prima ballerina, of course). In my mind, my kids always looked like me: dark hair, dark eyes, cafe-con-leche skin. They would be little Hispanic mini-me kiddos.
And then I met Billy, and fell in love, and got pregnant. I started obsessing about the possible genetic combinations that could happen. Billy's ancestors were mostly English, German, and Finnish. As you could probably guess, he's white white (to paraphrase my dear friend, and brother-in-law's girlfriend, Abhi): he has blue eyes and blonde hair, eyebrows, and eyelashes. I fantasized about having dark-skinned, dark-haired, light-eyed little girls that looked just like me running around our house. I was excited for that possibility.
During our daytime excursions to the museum or Gymboree, I would often get asked by other moms if I was Des's nanny (OK, I was asked 3 times). I would just smile, laugh a bit, and tell her that "no, I'm the mom. He looks like his dad." But inside, I would be crushed. Putting aside the cultural/racial implications of being called a nanny just because I'm darker complected, I was sad that there were no vestiges of myself in my son. The only thing he had inherited from me was the color of my eyes, which I had always sort of despised: dark brown, almost black. Boring.
I wonder if the way he looked was part of the reason why it took me a while to really bond with him. I wonder if I had held on, for so long, to an image of a mini-Scarlett little girl that it set me up for disappointment the second my son deviated physically from that image.
As he grew older, I started seeing more of myself in him. Besides the color of his eyes, he had inherited my skin tone, the shape of my face, and my stubborn, pissed-off, strong personality. Strangers in line at the grocery store would remark that he looked "exactly like his dad" but that he had somewhat of me in him, too. I smiled and looked down at my blonde little guy with his beautiful brown eyes. I couldn't love him any more even if he did look like a mini-me.
As luck would have it, I had another boy. Same blonde hair, same brown eyes, but with the whitest/pinkest skin that has ever been made this side of the family. He is absolutely perfect in every way. Both my kids are. And to those who look at me and my kids and think that I may be the nanny, start getting used to it. Interracial/Intercultural families now make up 15% of our American population and growing and we make absolutely beautiful children. Check out www.wearethe15percent.com to see more beautiful pictures of interracial families and check out how we were featured on We Are the 15 Percent HERE.