Tuesday, September 22, 2009

You Have Straight Hair, Your Brother Has Curly Hair


I want to say it doesn't bother me that my daughter appears to have straight hair. Let me correct myself. It doesn't bother me. I see those tiny spikes, those little prickles of light brown hair shooting from her ever white scalp, and I think, she's all Daddy. And that's fine. Of course it's fine. My Irish friend is married to a Chinese man and they have three kids who resemble their Asian decent more than their straight-outta-Dublin decent. "Come on," she says, when I complain that Elke and I don't look related. "You think my kids look anything like me?"

So what that Elke looks more like her dad. Elke's dad has great hair.


But it's not about the hair. And it's not about the kids not looking alike. My struggle is about them having different fathers. My struggle is about explaining to my daughter why her brother has to stay at his father's house sometimes. I know she will ask about it when she's old enough to talk. She'll want to go with him, I imagine. Just as Jake wants to be home with his sister. "I don't want to leave," he told me this morning. Then again on the playground. Then again just before he left. And then he went. And he was fine. As he always is.

Sometimes I worry that out of anger, one of them will say something awful. You're not my real brother. You're not my real sister. Though maybe exploring that kind of anger is normal. Who knows? This is all coming from a person who tried to convince her younger brother that he was adopted. Numerous times! Because he had blonde straight hair!


I look at these children. I see the almond shape of their eyes. I see the round tips of their youthful noses. The arch of their brows. Even with different hair, they are siblings. They are both of my gene pool, even if their fathers are different. They are my children. And God, they love each other already. She'll be seven months in a couple of days, and her smile is like nothing else when she sees him, even if he's throwing a pair of sweatpants in the air, and it makes me want to cry every time.

So when Elke says one day, "Oh, Mommy, I wish I had curly hair like you and Jake."

I'll say, "My darling, if you only knew the burns I inflicted on my fingers from straightening my hair with chemicals in my 20's."

And if she says, "But, still..."

So I'll say, "Let's get out the crimping iron."

1 comment:

  1. Worries that are completely normal for a mom in your position. I love how you are going to deal with it. Perfect.

    ReplyDelete

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