Monday, 22 February 2016

Our Big Fat Biracial Family

In eight weeks, give or take, we will be welcoming our second grandchild, another girl, who is giving my daughter more than a little trouble these days. Kennedy is growing like fescue grass on a Scottish golf course and that's caused problems.

My daughter Marissa learned a few weeks ago that she has gestational diabetes and now has to test her blood sugar and give herself insulin shots. Thankfully, this kind of diabetes is treatable and won't hang around after the birth, but it's created a tricky living situations for Marissa who was hoping to experience the pre-natal gorge of all the food groups she's denied herself over the past few years.

I've admired her discipline, and it hurts me to see her these days all blown up like Gwyneth Paltrow in a fat suit. She is swollen from head to toe -- even her tiny perfect nose has grown three sizes. She's virtually unrecognizable!

But she's happy, and that's all that counts.

Yesterday, I attended her baby shower and I was amazed at the standing room only crowd that came out to honor her. She's been a great friend to a lot of amazing young women, and it showed yesterday. There were only two oldsters in attendance, me and the grandma of one of her friends. We sat together and found we had much in common. That's not too hard, living in Ottawa, where there is a large group of people who have worked on and around politics and the Hill. I honestly had the best time.

The room was filled with the fragrance of Haitian food prepared lovingly by Jeff's sisters. There were mounds of rice and beans, little meaty cigars, chicken, even Haitian pizza. There were also sandwiches and crudites for those who didn't want to savor the wonderful homemade island food, but most of that sat idly as people wolfed down the feast prepared by the Homere sisters.

I am proud to be part of family that is black, white, French, English -- we are, indeed, a multicultural Canadian family and community. And we are all waiting impatiently to welcome our first "cocoa" baby, as Jeff's sister calls Kennedy.

I'm also loving that Kennedy will grow up with Skylar, her blond blue-eyed first cousin who will happily show her the ropes -- and keep her safe from the haters.

If I'm to be perfectly honest, I worry that she will grow up in a society that "cards" and profiles people just because of the color of their skin. As a grandmother, I will fiercely protect her, and help her take advantage of all the opportunities our society offers.

Sadly, I admit that I didn't think much about race before. I've always been supportive of people from other cultures, I've always been open minded. I was just never a participant in the dialogue.

I think if there was more inter-marriage, and inter-friendship, people would see for themselves what they miss when they cordon themselves off from other cultures and make snap judgments about them. Unfortunately, the prejudice goes both ways.

So I thank Marissa and Jeff for giving us the opportunity to get to know their little bundle, and for allowing me to be one of her most loving protectors and boosters.

April can't come soon enough for any of us.

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