She was at the top of the red swirly slide at our local park when she peered down at me.
“Look at me, Mommy!” said my two year old.
Clink. Clink. Clink.
My three year old’s feet pounded quickly across the playground’s bridge nearby.
I smiled at my daughters and continued tending to our youngest who was sitting at the picnic table eagerly waiting for another bite of banana.
That’s when a young girl ran over and plopped down next to me.
“Your baby’s cute,” she said as she gently rubbed her fingers across my daughter’s forearm. “Her skin is as soft as the clouds. Have you touched the clouds before?”
“No, I haven’t,” I said. “Have you?”
“Yep,” she said. “When I was in an airplane I did. They opened the door when we were up there.”
I smiled at her imagination, and my toddlers ran back to our picnic table for a sippy cup drink break.
The young girl who raved about my baby’s soft skin was now looking at all three of my daughters together.
She peered at my three year old–brown skin, deep brown eyes, and multi-colored beads dangling from dozens of braids on her head. She smiled. Her eyes scanned to my middle daughter whose cornrows were covered with a well-loved pink baseball cap. And then she looked back at me feeding my youngest, our biological daughter with light skin and thin brown hair blowing in the wind.
“So wait,” she said.
She paused for a minute.
“Are they all yours?”
“They sure are,” I smiled.
Behind my smile though, my mind flipped through hypothetical follow-up questions. How can I explain that two of my daughters came to me via adoption and another came to me via biology? Would this girl understand? Does she know that families can look different? That siblings don’t have to look alike? Will she wonder if we’re a real family? Or if they’re real sisters?
“Wow,” she said with wide eyes. “THAT’S SO COOL!”
Then she instantly went into asking my daughters if they’d ever touched the clouds before.
That was it.
No follow-up questions. No additional explanation needed. She just thought it was cool.
As a transracial family we’ve faced a gamut of questions from strangers. We’ve been caught off guard at the grocery store; we’ve seen the second and third (and sometimes fourth) glances at our family in the mall.
But this young girl, who couldn’t have been older than 7 or 8, was a breath of fresh air at the park that day. She set the bar high with her response to discovering our transracial family. And I have to agree: Our family is pretty cool.