What can YOU say in six sentences?
Amy's Cakes has a white storefront, a small purple "Jesus Saves" sign in the right lower corner of the pane glass windows. I bought eight cupcakes for the speech therapy office two doors down: two vanilla cupcakes with vanilla frosting, two like them but with rainbow sprinkles, two chocolate with chocolate frosting, and two more chocolates with sprinkles. I added two chocolate brownies for fun, one with and one without nuts.
Sheba, one of the gifted therapists who taught my five year old to speak, thanked me when I brought in the large white box of sweets. She reached into the box with a long slender arm and said, "This made my day so much better -- I was having a really bad day. A parent told me her child doesn't like dark-skinned people."
She trusted me to say this, to express her feelings, and she has the depth to express them in their truest form, as an open wound on the spine of everyone, self-esteem leaking down our backs, hard to really see without a mirror.
Lisa is trying to adopt a baby to add to two other adopted children at home -- a four year old girl from Guatamala and a six year old boy from Lebanon. The agency called her last week to say a pregnant mother had chosen her to adopt her baby due in June, but when Lisa excitedly broke the news to her mother and siblings, they expressed concerns about her "family of many colors".
"What does it eat, and how black is it?" her mother asked.
"Mom, I'm not adopting a squirrel."
There were several tearful phone conversations, a few hang-ups and sleepless nights before Lisa called the adoption agency to say it would be unfair to put this little boy in a conflicted family situation.
The agency agreed.
My sister and I both have children who are half Hispanic. When her oldest son was in elementary school he was mistreated by a teacher, called a "stupid Mexican". The teacher didn't realize he'd heard her, was surprised when the boy's milk white mother glided into the classroom the following week for a firm discussion.
My nephew is now in his thirties, a physician in Dallas, a success by anyone's standards. But when I brought up the school incident he quickly changed the subject.
There is never a complete recovery.