“I Gray?”

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Photo: picklebums.com

 

His maman is from Haiti. His “so called papa” is “no one you’d want to remember” (as per his maman and grand-maman) because he has “no color in his eyes or heart.”

The boy has soft waves of honey brown hair. Cupid lips. Deep brown eyes. Light caramel skin. Freckles on his nose.

He’s recently discovered the magic of combining colors. He finds it entrancing. He is especially moved by the alchemy of what happens when you add white.

“You have black?” he asks, pointing to the Play-doe containers on my shelf.

“No,” I note, “I ran out. But I have brown.”

“Let me see.”

I hand him a container and he pulls the lid off and inspects the contents. “It in the wrong place,” he states, pointing to the yellow lid.

“I know. I just used a container I already had. It didn’t come that way. We made the brown from mixing different colors.”

“Who make it?”

“One of the other kids I work with made it. You want to try and make brown, too?”

He frowns, considers, shakes his head. “But I want some.”

“You want to use some of it? Sure. Go ahead.”

He pinches a bit of the dough and rolls in pensively between his fingers. “You have white?”

“I do!” I give him the white-topped container. He peeks in. After the yellow-topped one holding brown, one never knows …

He pulls out a chunk and begins kneading the white piece into the brown. A moment passes, then another. He’s quiet. He’s got something on his mind.

“Brown people are called black,” he notes.

“Hmm…” I nod. I wonder if he’d say more.

He glances at the yellow lid and I wonder if he’s wondering if it is one more of those “in the wrong place” designations. He sighs.

“I black but I also white,” he raises his eyes to me. “That mean I gray?”

 

 

For The Daily Post

 

 

How Will I Know?

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“How will I know?” the girl hung spectacled green eyes on me. Teeth aglitter with pastel-colored braces bit her lower lip. “What if I wait till it’s too late?”

It was decision time for Summer Camp and she was fretting.

Should she go to the same camp she’d gone to twice already, the camp her cousin goes to, and where several of her classmates will be? She loved it there. It was familiar. It was only three hours away from home. There was a lake and zip-lines and horseback riding. She was going to choose her best friend from last summer as a bunk-mate. It felt like another home.

Or … should she go to the other camp … the one she’d heard of last year but by then already had no openings? The science camp sounded like everything she’d ever want … but now the choice – and possible consequences – became real. That camp was half-way across the continent. It was on a campus, not in a forest. There’d be no one there she knows.

“My friends say I’m crazy because who wants school when there’s finally no school,” she sighed. Her finger twirled the edge of an auburn lock. Twist, hold, release; twist, hold, release. I thought of how the movement mirrored her dilemma … To hold on or to let go, to keep close or to let loose.

A difficult concept at any age, let alone at eleven.

“Hmm …” I noted. It wasn’t my input this child needed, just my ear.

“It’s not like school!” she stressed, a bit defensively. “It’s interesting! Also, they have summer camp activities. A pool, and trips, even arts and crafts. … Well, the crafts are more like, robotics and such, but that’s still crafting stuff, isn’t it?”

I nodded.

She took a deeper breath. “And I like science … They have a whole week about space. We’ll even get to visit a real observatory!” Her eyes shone as if they were already reflecting several constellations, and she sat straighter. Then she sagged. “But I don’t know anyone.”

“Not yet,” I noted. “I gather this won’t last.”

The auburn curl twirled, corked, released. “Yeah … There were a lot of kids I didn’t know in the other camp, especially the first time. But …” the big green eyes widened as the core of doubt unmasked. “What if everyone there is, you know, dorks and nerds and such?”

My eyebrows rose, amused. “And if they are? …”

She frowned but then a pastel-braces grin appeared. “Well … then I’ll fit right in…”

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For The Daily Post

 

A mirror-mirror moment

It is always good to be … in good company …

Recognize the miracle that we each are …

A teaching mirror-mirror moment, by an adorable 3 months old.

Photo by: Smadar Epstein

Photo by: Smadar Halperin-Epshtein

Beautiful Like Me!

She came dancing up the stairs, ecstatic, barely able to contain her smile. And she was a sight to behold:

Pastel rainbow tutu skirt over purple denim and red t-shirt with a sparkly princess on it (and a few star stickers), pink tennis shoes (with rainbow laces), green and yellow polka-dot socks (with frilly tops), rainbow-loom bracelets on both wrists, three plastic beads necklaces (one with 1/2 inch hearts interspersed), five hair pins (with various glittery bits and in various states of sliding off), shimmery hair ties holding two droopy pigtails of dark brown corkscrew curls. A smile as wide as the ocean. And a periwinkle clutch, princess stamped and glitter splattered.

Joy incarnated.

She went directly to the long mirror, struck a pose. Her mother chuckled–the last thing her daughter looked at before leaving home was their mirror. The girl stops to admire her reflection in store windows, too.

“I’m so beautiful!” the little one noted in delight.

She was not referring to her features or her body–chubby cheeked, dimpled, lisping, and lovable all over. The beauty was in the gestalt effect of her composition. Hers is aesthetic enjoyment rather than self-adoration.

Her ensemble changes week to week, varied shades of glorious. Never her elation. The wells of her joy are bottomless, oh, the endless possibilities of pleasing presentations!

She’s a walking fashion statement. She’s as happy in oversize overalls and chunky boots (with sparkly necklaces and mismatched socks). No one would be surprised if she ends up an artist, designer, or otherwise eclectic. She’s her own being already. Absolutely comfortable in her skin. Contagiously delighting in her creations.

Yesterday, she twirled around before of my mirror. Swung her arms, touched her necklaces, straightened an errant rainbow lace, wrapped a ringlet around a finger. She grinned throughout.

“I’m so beautiful,” she sighed, satisfied, “I am beautiful like me!”

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