A long time ago, my father was complaining about a family member who was causing him no end of grief. I remember him saying to me, "Remember, Trix, you can choose your friends, but you can't choose your family." This is one time I'll disagree with him, and last evening proved why.
I went to a birthday party last night for the four year-old daughter of a close friend. I had sort of dreaded going, knowing I'd run in to an ex there (a story for another day), but in the end, I'm glad I went. I suppose I should give you a little background information, though, before I continue.
K-Bear, as I like to call her, is the child of a Caucasian mother and Jamaican and Nigerian father. Of course, she's beautiful, as most interracial children tend to be, and she's much smarter than your average 4 year old. Mom is a vegan, politically active (do I even need to tell you which party she belongs to?) and very involved in the community. Dad, on the other hand, is rather conservative, definitely NOT vegan, and prefers watching TV to protest rallies.
Mom's family is out West, and Dad's, well, let's just say that his family chose not to be in the picture. That being the case, they've created their own little family right here in Chicago. Comprised mostly of co-workers past and present, they've formed a pretty tight-knit, if not highly unlikely, little unit. We may not be blood relatives, but each and every one of us is K-Bear's aunt and uncle.
So, how to describe our motley crew, this makeshift group she calls her family? Well, let's see. There are vegan gay & lesbian couples, left-wing activists, "Joey Bagadonuts"-type nightclub managers with their silicone-breasted girlfriends, and a person of pretty much every race and spiritual belief under the sun. Basically, we're a bunch of people who wouldn't, under most circumstances, probably EVER be caught dead under the same roof. Yet there we were, getting along because we all have one thing in common...we love that little girl.
I envy K-Bear. She's growing up where the "abnormal" (as far as society sees it) is part of her every day life. She doesn't see skin color. She doesn't look away uncomfortably when she sees two women kissing. At four, she understands that love is love, no matter what nationality you are or whom you choose to commit yourself to. She already comprehends the meaning of the words acceptance and diversity.
She pulled all of us together, which is why my present to her (below), in the end, seemed so appropriate. She's our Rainbow Girl.
Ok, sure, it's a bit cheesy. Sue me.