One of the fun things about having a bi-racial family is listening to the kids talk about their heritage. My youngest son (now age 7) hails from Guatemalan ancestry. Tonight at the dinner table he announced that he was born able to understand and speak Guatemalan.
“Show us,” one of his sisters encouraged.
“Guackalita causalita Kaleakilauqukita wackima chicho meeko. Aleeche toto, kay toto,” he said. “But don’t ask me to spell it. I can’t even spell in English yet.”
“Cool,” she said. “I’m from African/Irish heritage so I’ll demonstrate African first.” She cleared her throat, thrust her hands into the air (holding an imaginary lion cub, I guess) shouted, “Cowabunga!” and proceeded to sing The Circle of Life. After some research, I think the actual lyric is “Ingonyama!” but hey, whatever.
“That’s English,” her Irish/Italian sister said. “If you really want to sound African, do a bunch of clicking sounds with your tongue.” They all proceed to click with their mouths full and laugh. It was nauseating.
Because three (?)–I can’t remember–of the five are adopted, ‘adoption’ is another subject they don’t tiptoe around. “Hey,” youngest son shouted after being provoked half to death by his brother as we drove down the road one day, “why don’t you go back to the people that borned you?”
Before I could jump in and smooth things over, my older son nearly died laughing and said, “After you go back to the ones that borned you.” That cracked them both up and they wrestled the rest of the way home.
I love that there is no political incorrectness or fear in the things they can discuss. They know that they are physically different and not born from my womb, but my heart (which makes them super-cool). They talk about it, point it out, laugh about it, admire it, but mainly don’t notice/care about it. They see family.
So beautiful. So free.