At 4, Jonathan was all heart and green snot.  His eyes were huge and brown, his voice muffled by the constant congestion he suffered. We all suffered.  I think every person that knew J-Bud carried an extra kleenex in those days.  Jay was an instant mascot, carried on shoulders by Young Life boys and constantly proposed to by Young Life girls with a twinkle in their eye.  Within minutes of meeting Curt for the first time, Jonathan told him frankly, “I have 84 girlfriends.”

Jay’s dad is tall, pale, and (forgive me, John) closer to bald than thick-n-wavy.  He is also a Calvin grad, though it would take me another 5 years and a move to Grand Rapids to appreciate that quality.  Renee is so very much shorter than John, fair-skinned, light brown hair.  Jonathan, child number 3, was little… little with thick, curly, dark hair, a huge smile, and brown skin. He was, you see, adopted at birth.  Very much John and Renee’s… but nothing, in essence, like them… save the charming personality.

One morning, Jay burst through their door and attacked his mom, Renee, still in bed.  “Mom!” he yelled (because Jay is not quiet).  “Mom! Guess what?!”

“What, Jonathan?  WHAT.”

“I do not look like you,” he declared triumphantly.  Four-year olds are so triumphant.

In an instant, Renee realized that the time had come to talk about this whole adoption thing.  That Jay had finally realized he was different than the rest of the family.  That his hair was different, his skin was different, his life had started very different than the rest of the family.  She was not prepared to have this discussion with sleep still in her eyes and the boys just coming back from haircuts in town.

“No,” she said, “You don’t look like me.”

And Jonathan interrupted (because Jay interrupts), “I look just like Daddy.”

Renee looked at his freshly shaved head… a summer haircut to ease the afro craziness.  And she looked at her tall, lanky, bald husband…

And she realized Jay was right.

Those flowers up there…

they’re technically weeds.

I didn’t plant them, didn’t plan on them.

But, I love them.  They’re gorgeous.

It’s all in how you look at them.

About texasnorth

TexasNorth is a little farm in Western Michigan. It's home to 5 chickens, 25 longhorn cattle, a coonhound (Banjo), 1 barn cat, a husband, and 3 ridiculously funny children. The mom of this zoo has been known to mow the lawn in a skirt and roast marshmallows after dark. View all posts by texasnorth

4 responses to “perspective

  • margojames

    and suddenly my kitchen was filled with the aroma of appreciation. very nice, katie kate. love it.

    (did you know, I was adopted?)

  • Kim Aguilar

    Kids are hilarious. Clark told his friends (who are moving from here to Boise in Nov), “Why are you moving to Idaho when you have white skin?” What? Does he think Idaho is Indian country or something?? I have no idea. And by the way, it’s not like we haven’t had “the talk” about our differences/similarities, for heaven’s sake.

    p.s. Thinking about adoption. It scares me.

  • twindaughter

    Great post! We are of Scotch-Irish ancestry and adopted a 5-year-old girl from Haiti with very black skin over 15 years ago. Eventually, she began hating her hair, her skin color, the fact that she always had to slather on lotion or her knees and elbows would get “ashy.” She wanted long blonde hair and white skin and lips that weren’t so big. I explained that we all have things we wish we could change about ourselves: I wished I could make a beautiful braid without having to find a rubber band to keep the end from uncoiling (she never had that problem), or that I could wear yellows and oranges (her skin tone made yellows and oranges look fabulous), or that my lips were more than thin gashes on my face! 🙂 I think it helped her a little bit, but it’s difficult to feel “different.” 😛

  • tif

    yep… my heart smiled! Jay is right.

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