Me: Hi, what's your name?
Me: I'm Laura; this is Christina; and this is Sabine.
Ximena: Oh. Are you guys babysitting her or something?
Me: No. I'm her mom.
Me: Did you ask me that because we look different?
Me: Her dad is black.
Ximena: So she's part you and part him? Oh now that you said that I think she looks like you a little bit on her face. Her face is lighter. Around her eyes, it looks like you.
Christina: What do you think is darker, her face or her legs?
Me: Her legs get darker just like yours do from playing outside in the sun.
Ximena (to me): What are you drinking? (I had wine in a plastic cup--which sounds really bad but it was a long, holiday weekend and the courtyard is mostly concrete.)
Christina: My mom drinks wine every day.
Ximena: What's wine?
Me: It's an adult drink. Like beer.
Ximena: Oh my mom doesn't drink beer because she's trying to be on a diet. She's kind of fat. But my dad drinks anything that will make him drunk. Lots of beer and other drinks. And he smokes everything, too. Cigarettes and pipes. He just tried a pipe for the first time ever and he really liked it. It smelled disgusting.
All I have to say is, thank goodness Sabine can't speak yet. I can remember my parents sitting us down every time we went certain places, telling us it wasn't okay to talk about private things in public or to strangers. I always thought they were paranoid, but I followed their direction. Now I think they were brilliant--and justifiably paranoid.
The assumption that I am babysitting or have adopted Sabine is somehow getting easier to take. I think when you hear something all the time, you start to become immune. A little wine helps, too.
Hopefully by the time Sabine is older, we will live in a place where there are more mixed families and she won't hear about how different she or we look as much as I do. And if she does, I hope her skin will grow as thick as skin can be so that it doesn't hurt after awhile.
|Image by Mitch Diamond|