Yesterday was a looooong day. Ice storms hit our area and covered everything with a nice inch or so of ice. So we weren’t just stuck inside, we were literally stuck inside. All day. Together. Even on days when it’s really cold I make them go outside for a few minutes. Fresh air does wonders for people. I also have a huge aversion to kids just watching TV, playing the Leapster or playing the Wii most of the day. So we randomly broke out in dance every hour. In summary, it was the longest day I’ve had in a very long time.
But today, well it was a different day entirely. I got exercise, so did the kids. They were perfect, I was not…but as close as I can be. Tonight I picked them up after my last class. The boys told me a story.
It was a story about a caucasian kid telling my boys they couldn’t be brothers because Trysten was white and Tariku was black. Then this happened.
Trysten said: “Yes he is my brother, we adopted him from Ethiopia, Africa.”
Stupid kid: “There is no such place as Ethiopia.”
Tariku: “Yes there is, that’s where I’m from. I flew on a plane to come to America.”
Stupid kid: “I’m in 4th grade, I know there’s no Ethiopia. If you were brothers you would have to be white (pointing at Tariku) or you would have to be black (pointing at Trysten).”
Tariku: “No, because I’m from Ethiopia and Ethiopians are black and my family is from America and there are white people in America.”
Trysten: “He’s my brother, so stop saying that.”
Tariku: “And he’s my brother.”
Trysten: “How about you and Tariku race and whoever wins is right?” (yeah, that probably came from me, racing used to be my favorite form of competition too).
Well Tariku being the superb runner he is kicks the older kids’ booty. The kid tries to say he won and then ran off.
When talking about it later, Trysten says, “It just made me mad that he is older than me and doesn’t even know about the world.”
Oh buddy, it only gets worse from here.
Then, just to prove he’s been paying attention, as I was laying Trysten down to sleep he said.
“I guess that kid doesn’t even think Martin Luther King, Jr even gave his speech yet. Because if he knew about his speech he would know that black people and white people can do things together, like be in a family.”
Then we talked about how things didn’t change completely since Dr. King. How some white people still hate themselves enough to throw that hate on whichever minority is closest. That this is just the beginning of sticking up for his brother and for our family.
It’s just the beginning of having each other’s backs. Of defending each other against the ignorant and the hateful.
It might be a long road for them but I saw them tonight after their “battle”. They were closer, they loved each other more, there was something there that wasn’t before.
And it was simply beautiful.