The ‘Race’ issue ….

Well in case you hadn’t noticed we are a mixed race family:D:D:D …..I hate the notion of ‘Race’ I hate the notion of ANYTHING which creates a seperation …division ….BUT there it is.   I long for the day where their won’t be ….where people are just people judged by their character rather than the color of their skin to quote Martin Luther King …..We’re a long way from that yet tho and indeed are at a point where things seem to be going backwards rather than foreward. It is therefore imperative to be intolerant of intolerance WHEREVER it resides:)

SO … my family ….lets start with my sons as they are the most important … me anyway:D:D:D. Let’s start with Matt as he is the one having the trickiest ride.

When Matt was a baby he was the most gorgeous looking child ….yes ….yes ….I know ALL parents say that ….but we would be stopped in the street by strangers to say so and were once even approached by a modelling agency but I was having NONE of that:D:D:D

After having Matt I wanted to give up work for a while ….be a stay at home Mum untill he started school ….but number one I would have had to pay bay back maternity pay received whilst on leave …and number two I was persuaded otherwise by my then husband who felt we couldn’t afford it and that it would drive someone like myself insane:D:D:D      I think he underestimated how childbirth changes a woman’s perspective tho ….your priorities …..or it did mine:D:D:D  ANYWAY so poor little Matt was packed off to a day care nursery at the tender age of 6 months old ……I HATED it …..felt ripped apart and bereft ……something I hated and regretted for a LONG time ( and I think looking back caused the first unease in our marriage) untill I finally came to the conclusion that I couldn’t change the past and needed to focus on the here and now and making the most of the ‘moments’ but I digress

So ….at 3 years old I remember Matt asking me ‘Why is no’one my color?’ ……he used to ask ALL kinds of questions as 3 year olds do:D:D:D ……but I distinctly remember this one ….they had apparantly been painting pictures of themselves at nursery and there was just pink paint to use requiring the staff to mix a different color just for him

I remember telling him …

‘Well …..if you get Daddy’s color and my color …just like paint you mix them together and get your color ….a beautiful golden brown ……and ANYWAY it’s just at nursery ….there are lots of people your color …..think of some of your cousins’

‘Oh yes ‘ said he and seemed happy with that …..phew!!!

Needless to say ….when it came to looking for a primary school ….as an only child at the time it was a priority for me to ensure he went to a school with a healthy mix of kids from a range of backgrounds …..I wanted him to be confident in mixing with others … …poor … …..white ……skybluepink with yellow dots on … easy task ….as believe me ….even in relatively mixed communities you find schools populations are NOT …..BUT if there was one thing I feel  I DID get right as a parent was getting my boys into an EXCELLANT primary school with a really switched on headteacher and largely young, creative and dynamic staff team:):):):):):) ………and YES it always got ‘Outstanding’ ofsted reports but in truth that wasn’t what I was going for ….more the overall ‘feel’ of the place

So then Sam came along …….I can honestly say this was a really happy, settled period as far as the boys were concerned …..I took a full year maternity leave with Sam ( the law had changed allowing longer time ) so I was at home during Matts first year of primary school too….before I went back to work I had also managed to find day care which accommodated them BOTH ( even school pick ups …Sam only left this time last year) …this was also EXCELLANT …..the woman who owned and ran it with her husband was the same age as myself ALSO mixed race ( but didn’t look it) and had given up her career in nursing as she had been unable to find childcare she was comfortable with following the birth of her son a number of years previously. She knew EXACTLY where I was coming from and was passionate about providing quality care and education along Montesouri lines:):):):):)

Alas ……high school proved more tricky for Matt ….partly fuelled by the boys dad and myself seperating when he was just 2 weeks in …….AGAIN something I have felt TERRIBLE about but accepted you can’t change the past and it takes 2 to ensure a relationship is pulling in the same direction ….riding any storms the test is in pulling together NOT apart ……….but I digress:)

So …Matt started high school ….a different one to the majority of his primary school chums …..his family was falling apart ….and he was having to make his own way home across town by bus and let himself in …..

Needless to say I had a confused and angry kid on my hands …..angry at his father AND myself ….a heartbreaking and difficult situation …..and sadly at THAT time …..because Matt was REFUSiNG to see his Dad …it was to quote ….my problem to deal with on my own:)

So all in all its been a bit of a roller coaster ride with Matt …I certainly do believe that black kids get into more serious trouble for things which would be worked with or considered teenage ‘high jinx’ for white kids ….I KNOW having experienced both sides of the fence …and ANYONE of color is viewed as black

Matt and myself have just had a chat about it …started by him …he said

‘You know Mum ….when you’re mixed race it’s pretty tough …..white folk see you as black, black folk think you’re too white and the Muslims seem to think you’re some kind of heathen that needs saving’

‘What do YOU think’ said I

‘I’m just mixed race ……I like both sides of my family …..yep I like being mixed race …it’s everyone else that seems to have the problem and I’m not sure where I fit in’

‘Yep …just remember it’s THEIR problem …but you WILL be judged …that’s why .although it might seem unfair …you have to try to be impeccable ….don’t play to some kind of perceived negative stereotype ‘

‘Hmmmm …yeah …think I’m getting it now Mum’

‘Oh …and it’s not just mixed race young people who struggle to wonder where they fit in ….they pretty much ALL do to a greater or lesser degree ….you’ll be ok in the end’

Hmmmm he’s gone to meet his girlfriends parents today ….they’re white …he’s got to ride his own ocean now tho …and makes it clear he wants to …….I’m putting the line down …he .can swim on back if and when he feels the need:)

PS ) Sam has just read thro this …he asked so I let him ….he said that there is another aspect he would add …and that we should learn about different races history ….the true history …then we get a better understanding of each other and why we are where we are

God he’s got a wise head on young shoulders sometimes

The Angler

I cast the line
and reel it in
Oh the pull …….with ALL my might
Oh the tug ……..with ALL your fight
Cut the slack

Pulling back
Let go a little further
Pull back a little less

You tell me it’s time
to put down the line
free to explore

the fun ….anticipations
trials …..tribulations
the bitter sweet journey to manhood

( To Matt ……with all my love ….Mum X )