Last night Liza and I went out to eat at one of our favorite restaurants – Bonefish. These days we don’t go out much; the job of a full-time blogger is never done (and as such, the job of the assistant of the full-time blogger is also never done). But with a free Bang-Bang Shrimp appetizer threatening us with its expiration date, we decided a date night was in order.
As we walked into the restaurant, we noticed a young girl – probably 8 or 9 – in a flowery, flowing dress and beautiful mocha skin looking back at her mom. The closer we came, we realized the mom was as white as my pasty skin, and immediately we both thought….is she adopted? We didn’t need to say anything to know what the other was thinking – that’s what happens after 10 years of married life. Just the thought that she could be a carbon-copy of my future daughter was enough to bring a little mist to the edges of my eyes. No tears; just mist.
Sitting in this nice restaurant enjoying some delicious food, I couldn’t help but wonder what people would be thinking/saying/thinking-about-saying if our two little black children were next to us. I’m sure many would avoid the conversation altogether. But how many would venture forth a comment bereft of all sensitivity and gentleness? Even more importantly, what would my response be?
On the one hand, if some punk made a racist slur directed towards my kid, I’d want to pump every last bit of the scrawny 170 lbs I have into his cheek bone or gut. That would be my instinct – protect my son, protect my daughter. And yet I could see myself instead using words to batter my opponent; sarcasm can be very effective. But what would that teach my children? Fight one set of bad words with another? And how will they feel about being singled out anyhow? Will they feel like they’re the cause of our problems? Will they feel insecure? Unwanted? Unneeded? Will they will feel like something’s “wrong” with them?
No, I don’t want to depend on my natural inclinations to teach them, protect them, and honor them the way God wants me to. I think that’s part of the problem. So many people feel they have the right to react however they want because they’ve been wronged. But considering how much we’ve wronged God, can we really hold others accountable for a standard we can’t even keep ourselves?
Liza and I spent much of the evening talking with our server about what she thought. It’s funny to get other’s thoughts, especially when you know they’ve never thought of the subject before. By the end of the night, however, she was ready for us to bring them back to Bonefish as soon as we brought them home. We told her it would be a while.
She even gave us a free “chocolate and vanilla” dessert for my birthday, in honor of our future family. How appropriate.