What did he say?

The summer before my son Jonathan started kindergarten was very important. His father and I started getting him ready and teaching him everything he needed to know for school. We purchased a couple leapfrog DVD’s, some flashcards and a kiddie laptop. My golden boy was learning at warp speed. I was so excited because he looked just like his dad and finally he had something of mine…my brain. Not to say that his dad is not smart, but his dad has never really liked school and the fact that Jonathan was learning everything that we threw at him, gave me hope that he’d be just as interested in school as I was when I was a kid.

Over the years I always wondered what people thought of me when I was in public with this cherub like little boy. My son had golden ringlets in his hair and plump little lips; he was just adorable. His father is Puerto Rican but he looks like a Caucasian American with hazel eyes. I on the other hand look very ethnic. I favor many different cultures from Indian, to Native American, Cuban, Dominican, and African American but never once have I been asked if I was, “white.” So in all the years in traveling around the town with my son I often wondered if people questioned if he was mine. It was more of a curiosity than ever insecurity but I must admit that every time someone said, “he looks just like you,” my heart smiled a little. Yet my temporary joy was quashed when people saw his father and suddenly said, “Oh no honey, I’m sorry he looks just like his daddy.” So now that my son was learning, people said, “He is so smart, just like you Johanna.”

Yes!!!!! I finally won one!

Did I really? Well my son was sounding out words and it was just lovely. He knew how to spell his name, he knew he was a boy and now he was learning colors.

“Mommy is a girl. Daddy is a boy and he is peach.”

It was so cute and really his dad was kind of peach. We invested a good amount of time into getting him prepped for school but we had a few things to get done.

One afternoon we went in to the doctor’s office. He needed a physical before he started school. Jonathan and I were sitting in the waiting room. There was another little boy just bouncing all around playing with Jonathan, as I was sitting there looking up at the TV the little boy said something to Jonathan. Jon says to me, “what did he say?” I said, “Who honey?” In his loudest voice Jon points and says, “The brown kid!”

Oh shit! I go into damage control, “no no honey, you don’t call him the brown kid, he is a little boy just like you.” It was already too late, my white as-day little boy just called another child, “the brown kid,” in public. I of course understood and would have otherwise been excited because he remembered a color. On this afternoon, I was mortified. That kids mother looked at me like I was raising a supremacist of sorts and what made it worse was that it was summer time in Florida, not only was the kid brown but so was I. . .and I wondered did they know I was his momma or did they think I was a nanny?

This taught me a very big lesson. . .never use people as lessons. Mommy and Daddy are people, not peach and brown. Colors are colors not people. . .


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