The children have off of school on Monday to celebrate the birth of Martin Luther King Jr. When Libby was in kindergarten she learned about this wonderful American Hero, and the great things he accomplished. It was also around this time that she decided that, she too, was African-American.
I don't know how she came to this realization, nor did I know what to do with it. My Dad is from England, and the family has been for generations. My Mom is Irish, and Ukrainian, but with both her parents born in the U.S.A. Sam's Dad is Italian, with I believe at least the last two generations born here. Sam's Mom was Canadian. So my children's genealogy is diverse, but not diverse enough I guess. So Libby decided to change it, or add to it. I didn't correct her.... She was so very proud of her new heritage, and her new hero.
We began having a heart to hearts about what principals MLK believed in, and how every person is equal, how boring life would be if we all looked exactly the same. She would bring the subject up daily.
One afternoon while coloring, Libby told me that she wished she could go back in time....
I'm thinking, to when ?
Last summer when we were in Disney?
October to have her birthday party again?
Last night so she could finish her desert?
She said that she wanted to go back in time and tell all the people that they just need to be nice. That everything would be okay if we could all just be nice. She was so so sad that people wouldn't treat other African-Americans nicely. She just knew that if she could go back in time, she could make them understand.
I felt so proud, and so sad for her at the same time. I wanted to tell her that things are different now, and to a large extent they are. But there is still prejudice in this world. Not only against people of a different color skin, but also people with different religions, economic statuses, and sexual orientations.
Gradually her obsession with MLK faded. And even sadder, someone (I don't know who) broke the news to her that she wasn't African-American.
Then came the Obama elections ! She was in her glory ! And I was happy thinking she had rekindled her interest in diversity! Then came that moment again, just like in kindergarten when she wanted to change the world.........
We were in the car, just after President Obama was sworn in, and she was telling me about how he was the first African-American president, told me that she really wished that she could be president. Of course I told her that one day she could.....
And I started smiling to myself just imagining the wonderful pearls of wisdom that were about to come out of my six year old's mouth..... was it going to be about equality ? about the poor ? about changing the world?
She told me that when she became president she would make it a law that everyone who had a pool would get a slide for it, and people who didn't have pools would get a pool, AND a slide.
Ahhhhhhhh, to be six.
There's time for her to worry about the moral compass of the world. For now I'm glad she's worried about swimming pools......