Odd title, I know – but trust me there will be great stuff in this post. I figured there is not a better topic for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. day.
Tucker will be a crusader for human rights. I have no doubt. From an early age he didn’t see differences in people. Yes, some of this is due to the home he was raised in – but, most of it is his failure to see the ‘spectrum’ of people. People are just that, people. He doesn’t recognize clothes – so he doesn’t get rich or poor. He doesn’t recognize who is smart. He doesn’t recognize color.
So much so that in 2nd grade during Black History Month he exclaimed to me, “Mom, I don’t understand all of this black and white talk.”
I raised my children reading all types of children’s literature including stories like…
The True Story of Ruby Bridges and
Who is Jackie Robinson?
So I didn’t really understand his statement. As usual, with Tucker I try to get more information before I attempt to make meaning of what he said. So, I replied, “Tell me more.”
“Well, I’ve never seen a black person.”
Okay, we do live in small-town, rural Iowa – but I KNEW this was not true…but again, I just went with it so I replied, “Oh, yeah?”
“Yeah, and I’ve never seen a white person.”
Now I’m having a real moment – did he look in the mirror this morning? What in the world?!?!?
I replied, “Tucker – I don’t understand. I know you have seen all kinds of people and talked to all kinds of people. Help me.”
He proceeds to grab a piece of typing paper out of the desk drawer. He holds it up and points to it, “Mom, I have never seen someone this color. The color white.”
He points to our black refrigerator, “Mom, I have never seen someone that color. The color black.”
I’m a bit amazed…and he continues on. “Like you, you’re not white – you’re actually kind of peach. Dad’s skin is more reddish. Grandpa is like tan or really light brown – especially in the summer. I don’t understand all of this talk because I don’t think black people or white people exist.”
That’s MY son…a genius.
The more I’m around children like Tucker – and children who have more special needs than Tucker the more I recognize the irony. They don’t recognize the differences in others. I don’t know if it’s because their brain is so busy just trying to keep their own life going that they don’t have time to think about it or…well, honestly I don’t know. The thing I know is that our most special children don’t judge.
The irony is heartbreaking though. He doesn’t recognize this when it comes to others – but others certainly recognize this when it comes to him. Last year we hosted a back to school party for his 6th grade class. Two students showed up. He was heartbroken and said, “See Mom, I told you no one likes me – they think I’m weird.”
These are the true tears of motherhood. I held it together until those two children left – I thanked their parents profusely. See – I had a bit of a manipulative motivation when it came to that party. I wanted this new class of students to meet Tucker, to see him in his own environment. I wanted them to see the Tucker I see every day.
When Tucker went to bed that night I cried. I cried a lot. I cried because he doesn’t judge. I cried because others do. Mostly though? Mostly I cried because he would stick up for and take care of every student in that class – regardless of what they said or thought about him. He also doesn’t understand retribution.
Because people are people, and we forgive – because we are forgiven.