This post goes out to all the moms who never post pictures of their child with a picture of themselves at the same age with the caption, “He looks just like me.” This one is for the mom whose child is NOT their look alike.
This is for the mom of a child with different skin, different hair, different eyes.
When my kids were very little, I tried to determine how they looked like me. I scoured my daughter’s face, looking for my eyes or my nose, for a look in her eyes that reflected me. I searched my son’s features for something that was mine, for a glimpse of myself in him.
When other people met my kids for the first time, I could feel them doing the same thing. Family members stretched to find some sort of resemblance. They were looking for proof of belonging. Having twins made it even more intense. Not only did my children not look like me, but they also did not look like each other. When I mentioned they were twins to strangers, they always responded in shock, “They don’t look alike!”
Not much has changed since then, except my attitude about it.
I realized it isn’t looking alike that makes people family.
It isn’t having the same skin or the same eyes. That may work for Lily and Harry Potter, but it’s not true for me. In my family of five, none of us match. People in crowded rooms do not assume my children are mine at first glance. My daughter thinks her Hispanic father has black skin. My son thinks my green eyes are weird. I am slightly jealous of the beautiful brown skin my children wear, then often forget our differences altogether.
When I was planning to get married and before I had children, my father asked me to consider how other people might treat my children (since they would be bi-racial). My response then was, “We live in New Mexico! It’s normal here.” And, it is! I think it’s pretty great that we live in a place where it is common to have many colors and combinations of people in one family.
When I think of celebrating our differences, it’s not skin color or other features I see. Instead, I think of character traits such as creativity, humility, honesty, leadership, or charisma. I think of how people make me feel, not of how we look.
But I can’t help it, when I see the gorgeous mom posting pictures of her equally gorgeous child who looks absolutely nothing like her, it makes me SO happy.
Way to celebrate diversity! Way to bring it into your family and make it YOU! That’s what my New Mexico looks like. That’s the home I’m happy to be part of!