So, if you have read my other posts, by now you know I just blurt out whatever is in my head. I take a chance that people will understand that this is therapy for me - a way to sort out my thoughts and possibly get feedback to set me straight. I have said before - I am not perfect, and I am totally ignorant to so much, but I'm open to learn - and if anything I write makes you want to shake me - SHAKE ME - for God's sake I need enlightenment!!! Which is what I got today.
When we all try to learn something - we struggle with the learning curve. Sometimes we get frustrated, fight the change, or just plain give up. I remember the day I learned to ride a bike - vividly. Not because I was so proud - I was scared out of my mind. My brother, who I am sure was sick of his little sister whining "I can't do it" over and over, took me to the top of a hill at a local parking lot. I remember it being steep and long and so so scary. He sat me on my bike, told me to pedal, and pushed me down the hill. Now, I don't think he really thought this through to the point he realised that my fear would force instinct to kick in and I would just pedal, and learn - almost immediately. I think he just wanted to see me wipe out and stop whining. Whatever he thought - I learned. Since then so many things, after a brief struggle have been like that - learning to ski - one day it just "clicked" on how to cut into the snow just right to make the turn, swimming: "click" RELAX and you will float and be a better swimmer, Calculus - ummm.... yeah - maybe that isn't a good example....
All that said - I had a "click" today - a sort of epiphany thanks to a friend. Since meeting my husband, I have struggled with race issues. My pasty white skin just plain doesn't match his chocolate brown in some peoples eyes. I usually don't give a crap about what others think so it didn't bother me for a long time, that is, until we had our daughter. I started to worry about her, how she will be treated, how she will be treated differently from her sister, the things she will have to live through that I have not lived through. My husband has been so nonchalant about all of this it made me crazy. How can he not WORRY about this?
To be brutally honest, my in-laws have made this even more difficult. My entire life I have had the unconditional support of my Mom. When I need advice I go to her, and she is the first one to straighten me out, or send me to someone who can. Many times she has been at a loss and couldn't guide me, but knowing she would support me always got me through. Isn't this how everyone's family is? I will admit, I am dumb enough to think this is true. That everyone's family is just like mine - dysfunctional in a good way - sometimes. (ha!) But sadly, this is not the case with my in-laws - with the exception of one. At one point I was shocked that they had such racist views when I thought they would be the ones to enlighten me - to straighten me out, to teach me about the things my daughter may face. I just ASSUMED this would be the way. But, I never expected what I got which was quite the opposite of what I hoped for, and I suppose still hope can be, but for now - I go it alone.
So here I am - blogging away about these issues hoping that one day I would have a bit of clarity - that I would have all the answers - that someone would tell me the secrets that have been kept from me. Today I got just that.
A friend made a comment to me about his parents. He said "If my parents taught me anything it was through their own example. 'I am defined by what I do and how I treat others, and not by what I look like'".
Now you may want to say "Maria, haven't you heard that before?" Well sure. I have heard similar quotes for a long time. My own Husband tells me that what we look like doesn't define us. You read it in articles, you see it in movies, you hear people discussing it. And I have always heard the words, and understood their meaning.
What got me, today, was "If my parents taught me anything it was through their own example" and, the fact that this came from a man who IS biracial - a man I have met personally and have known to be a good person and someone I am proud to consider a friend. If my daughters have people say that about them when they are older I have done my job - and done it well.
All at once I had clarity. All of these websites I've searched, all of these questions I've asked, all of this knowledge I seek is a waste of my energy. What he taught me today is to be a good example to my kids. Now there is something else you may say - "well, no shit Maria", and I agree.
My epiphany is this: In my desperate search to be a better parent I was being selfish and a bad parent. All of the hours I have spent, all of the words I have written, all of the tears I have shed - a waste of the precious time I could have been spending on just plain loving my kids. Showing them how to love and be loved. How to love other people, how to be a good friend, a good person - and a loving family member. All I have to do is be the person MY Mother taught me to be - to be like her.
I love my Mom. She taught me by example.
My friends parents taught him by example and he turned out great.
It is so simple I am overwhelmed that I never saw this before.
All I need to do - is be me.