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Getting It

Ever since the big race talk last December, I’ve been waiting for some sign that Simon “got it”, by which I mean that Simon saw physical differences in people and understood it was OK to notice and ask about these differences but wasn’t ascribing any deep meaning to them. Several more months of his insisting that Anieya and Jillian, the two unrelated black girls in his class, were twins did not instill confidence. Nor, for that matter, did my insistence that they look NOTHING alike, only to mistake one for the other in a school photo. (sigh) In my defense, the child was wearing a hat, and the picture was dark and a bit blurry. They really don’t look alike.

For the next few months, I tried to nonchalantly discuss hair, eye, and skin color whenever the chance came up. Some cute moments came from these chats. One was trying to explain why our cat Tristan has orange hair and is therefore an “orange tabby”, but that his classmate Isabel also has orange hair and is therefore a …. redhead? Why is orange red on people, anyway? Then there was the time he told me that he has “my Zadie’s eyes”, paused, and then asked if Zadie needed them back.

We finally knew he was getting it a bit when he went to Willow Park last weekend with Matt. He met a little girl named Ruby on the playground, which made Simon think of the main Ruby in his life, the little girl who goes to KIP with him, is his best friend at summer camp this year, and until a week ago was also his next door neighbor. After being introduced to this new Ruby, Simon looked up at Matt and nonchalantly asked:

Where’s dark brown Ruby?

Ruby was adopted from Guatemala and does, in fact, have dark brown skin. Well, in summer anyway…  So there it was at long last, a sign that Simon is making note of the colors of us but isn’t letting the differences color his opinions of anyone.

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