Comfort in Sameness

7

July 12, 2007 by multiracialsky

Yesterday we spent the day as a family at the big lakes. The kids loved the swimming, writing and digging in the sand, making nests and recipes with smooth lake rocks, climbing up and jumping down sand dunes, and trying to catch minnows in their hands.

There were no people of color at either lake (besides our family). We walked along the edge of one lake to get to our spot, my husband far in front carrying Teri, then Jaja, then me carrying Gretel, and finally Rico. As Jaja passed this older guy drinking a beer, he said to her (pointing to Teri), Your little sister’s way up there. And my other little sister’s there, Jaja said without a pause, pointing right behind her to Gretel in my arms.

He sure did a double take then. He had put Jaja and Teri together as sisters because of their skin-tones, but he wasn’t so sure about Gretel. We actually got that a couple of times, people not wanting to believe all four of the children were ours. The girls are wearing matching bathing suits, I wanted to yell; all three of the older kids had matching fleeces and baseball hats. Somehow the physical cues that would normally indicate family are completely overshadowed by our widely varying skin-tones.

After dinner we wandered around, migrating towards some live music we could hear. We came around a corner and there was a three-piece band and a woman singing–and a large multiracial family (or 2?) sitting in the crowd of 30 listening to the music. The family group appeared to include biological and adopted children, multiracial and monoracial people. The mothers and their older children smiled at our kids and pointed out Teri, who was dancing to the tunes. We settled ourselves in the grass and listened to several songs, until our ice cream cones had melted and it was time to go home.

In the car driving back to the cottage, I said to my husband, Okay, so it’s not all in my imagination. Sitting there next to that family, while listening to the music, made it that much better. I was able to relax knowing there was another family sitting just behind us who believed in some of the same (some of the most important) things we believe.

I can only imagine how it will be when every time we go out, there will be families of color, and likely other multiracial families, present.

Multiracial community, here we come.

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7 thoughts on “Comfort in Sameness

  1. Theresa says:

    Hi! We were the family sitting next to you at the Leland Courtyard and we would have said “hello” if we all hadn’t been running around after our kids! My partner and I have 6 kids ages 16, 14, 11, 9, 4, and 1. We are a blend of birth and adoptive joinings to the family. We have been coming up to Leland for the last 15 years. Every year my children comment on how there seem to be more and more faces of color and this year they have seen even Middle Eastern and Indian families which really give them faith that the world is becoming more expansive. I do wish we could have talked. It is always comforting to see other families like ours. Maybe we will cross paths again!

  2. missprofe says:

    I enjoy the photo. It is very precious. What is little Teri doing?

    I can relate on one level. Whenever my dear brother and I attend events where we don’t expect to see other Black people, we are *stil*l surprised and amazed when we are the “only ones!” While we feel very comfortable wherever we are, having grown up and around Caucasians our entire lives, we wonder to each other, “Where *are* the Black folks?” “Are we the only ones who like Van Gogh, or European vacations?”

    Yes, I agree that there is comfort in sameness, and, somehow, seeing other Black Americans where one would least expect, such as on a tour of England and Scotland, or at a Van Gogh exhibit is affirming somehow for my brother and me. But, we keep hoping that we *will* see more Black folks in those places which we don’t seem to frequent to the same degree as the majority population. I

  3. Kohana says:

    So you’re moving then? I don’t remember hearing the details about this. Are you choosing a place to relocate based primarily on the community makeup or does a job factor in as well? We’re planning a huge move soon as well and while the presence of families of color and multiracial families isn’t the #1 reason, it’s really high up on the list!

  4. shelli says:

    So are you coming to NYC? 😉

  5. cloudscome says:

    Almost every time we go to the playground or the pool we see other multiracial families. It does make a big difference. It is comforting and friendly and makes me relax. Tell us more about your moving plans!

  6. suzannamama says:

    Hi Natasha-

    I have always thought that your family is one of the most cohesive and connected that I know. I have only ever been able to see all your children as one family. Maybe its because I’ve seen them growing along with you and your husband. Let’s get together soon!

    Suzanne

  7. You should consider a family vacation here in Seychelles someday, Natasha. I’ve traveled a lot and lived in multiracial communities in California and Britain, but I’ve never known a place as truly integrated as this country is. Almost every family is a blend, and it is so common to see mothers with kids of different colors that no one even gives a second look, aside to notice how cute the kids are. It’s not a case of color blindness, as talk of race is constant as unloaded descriptive terms, and people have no qualms about asking, “Is he about my color?” … almost always showing their arm as they ask, when trying to figure out who’s being discussed.

    I’ve been here 11 years now, and am taken aback when I travel these days and see reactions to me with my kids. I’m just not used to people reacting at all.

    I think you’d like it here. The beaches are nice, too, and the water crystal clear and about 75F.

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© 2007-2014 All rights reserved by Natasha Sky. Posts, essays, photographs, and art may not be republished, reprinted, or repurposed without permission.
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