Yesterday, I went for a walk around the Big Lake at City Park with Tin’s godfather, Evan Christopher. Over a year ago, a friend who had had a child through a sperm donation and was raising her as a single mother told me that it was important to pick a man in our lives who would be a role model and a mentor for our son. There was no question of who that would be, Tin had been charmed by Evan’s music before he could even speak. And for Tin’s first birthday party, I asked Evan if he would play his clarinet and he offered to do it at no charge because he too identified with Tin because he had been adopted as well.
Evan and I were walking and talking about the recent events that were happening in Tin’s life such as his third adoption birthday that was coming up that he was saying he didn’t want to celebrate, about his labeling another boy “that black boy”, about his asking to see a photograph of his natural mother (that we had been showing him as part of his adoption story since he was an infant). Evan has a calm manner of speaking and he told me, “For me, at the end of the day, the drama is only in the details. Facts are facts, like nature. People accept truths in their own time.”
We ran into friends as we were walking, who are also a big part of Tin’s life, and who are both African American. Later, when they stopped by the house and I told them what has been going on, one of them said that we need to have more exposure to black people in our lives. And then she suggested that I might consider bronzing. What? Yes, instead of a tanning booth, most athletes are bronzing and that might help me get closer to Tin’s skin color. I laughed, but she was serious.
I looked at Tin later and said to him bluntly, “I may not be your African American mother, but I am your mother and I’m not going to change my skin color. We are a family that comes in many shades.”
How would you have responded to your friend who meant well in offering you advice to bronze?