The Beginning

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.

14 thoughts on “The Beginning

  1. I could have written a similar post after an open house at Cullen's school. It's heartbreaking to watch them defend each other and their place in our family, but they do an amazing job. I can't help to be so proud of who these little people are becoming!You should be so proud of your kids. I'm glad "stupid kid" got his butt kicked:)

  2. Beautiful post, Tesi. We've had similar conversations in our house, and when a deepening of love occurs as a result of a painful comment, there is redemption, and it is precious.(Thanks for being my new FB friend!)

  3. Oh, honey, how sad that the boys already have to deal with this kind of ignorance at such a young age. I'd say they handled themselves brilliantly! They must have some awesome parents!

  4. Such an ugly conversation that led to such a beautiful experience between two loving brothers. You guys are doing it right Tesi!! Sorry to hear they had to endure it though.

  5. Matthew 5:5-10 God blesses those who are gentle and lowly, for the whole earth will belong to them. God blesses those who are merciful for they will be shown mercy. God blesses those whose hearts are pure, for they will see God. God blesses those who work for peace for they will be called the children of God. God blesses those who are persecuted because they live for God, for the kingdom of heaven is theirs. Tesi, I couldn't say it any better than it was said by Matthew! Our little guys are SO blessed!

  6. Beautiful and brought tears to my eyes. What a great story about standing up for each other. We haven't run into "stupid kid" yet, but I'm sure we'll have our turn.

  7. This is one of my FAVORiTE posts of yours yet! What an interesting perspective & BEAUTiFUL responses by both boys…& what he said later to you…wow. You guys have done well. It's so nice to know our future will have these sweet boys leading it… 🙂

  8. I am so impressed (but not surprised) by your boys showing their true relationship as brothers. Sometimes, it takes having to defend your situation and beliefs before you really know what you feel or what you have in your life. Hopefully, stupid kid can go home and explain it to someone else. Too prideful to do it in front of T & T, but maybe he learned something from them!

  9. oh my. oh my. i so needed to read this. not b/c of stupid kid, but b/c of the sibling bond and mlk and mixed race families and all that good stuff. i love it.

  10. I think it's great that the brothers stood up for each other! I'm sure they'll have to explain many times in their lives how they became a family!I have to admit, I'm a little concerned by people calling this other child "stupid." My very young children have not been exposed to any biracial families (not because I don't want to…it's just because it hasn't happened) and I'm afraid that when they get a little older they might question something like this, which is completely logical for a child! The child is thinking "a black kid and a white kid can't be brothers, they don't look alike" Of course we know they can be brothers…we are adults and we understand adoption! That child just didn't know about it. And to call him "stupid" isn't fair. Remember, these are childern we're talking about….not adults!!

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