“Are you OK,” Patrick asked as I buckled Joey into her car seat.
“Yeah, it didn’t bother me at all. I would have wondered the same thing. It made me smile, actually,” I responded with a laugh, more out of relief than anything. It finally had happened. I had wondered how I would react…
You guys, after 9 months of watching TV and staring down other mixed-race families, in a game called “Guess Which Shade of Tan Our Baby Will Be,” we have a baby that is a shade of white a bit more milky and porcelain than Patrick’s skin. We had not anticipated that…at all. During our pregnancy, Patrick kept reminding me that we weren’t mixing paint, there were a variety of possibilities. But, even “anything is possible” Patrick admits being more than a little surprised by our baby’s skin tone and overall strong likeness to her dad.
I may have mentioned that I am biracial and adopted in a previous post or two. Even though I was adopted into a mixed-racial home, my skin tone is noticeably darker than the varied tones of my immediate family. It is safe to say at this point, I have never experienced bearing any resemblance to my family.
That being said… While I was pregnant, did a part of me revel in the thought that I would have a family member that looked like me? Yes, definitely. Was I anticipating a little girl with tan skin and wild curly hair like her mama? Yes, indeed-y. Did Patrick and I excitedly hold our collective breaths, expecting an olive complexion to make its way to the surface as our newborn daughter went from white, to yellow (thanks, jaundice), and…back to white again? Yup! Did we expect Joey’s eyes to turn brown by now? Oh, yes. Do we think our daughter is perfect and the most beautiful girl, exactly the way she is. Undoubtably!
Day-to-day, minute-to-minute, hour-to-hour, I do not notice my daughter’s skin, unless a rash turns up. (Reoccurring belly rash is no match for me!) I’m used to being in a family that is bound by…whatever it is that links a family–love, sense of “us,” same detergent smell–that is not genetics or looks. So this isn’t exactly new territory. But I always wondered if other people could shake my confidence and my strong sense of family-connectedness now that I’m a *mom* to a baby that does not, at first glance, look like me. Turns out, not so much.
As we were gathering all of our belongings to leave a restaurant–coats, diaper bag, toys, baby–I overheard a girl say to her friend, “I’m trying to figure out if she is the baby’s mom…” She said more, but I didn’t catch it. I smiled as I thought, “Yes, I am the mom! Lucky me!” And that was it. As Patrick and I walked to the car, I told him what I had overheard and he asked me if I was OK.
Am I OK? I have a healthy and beautiful baby girl; a loving, supportive, and present husband; and the best job ever–a full-time nanny to my own daughter. Yeah, I’d say I’m more than OK! But thanks for asking.