Joita, Nina, Cleo and I went to the park around the corner from our house. Jo brought her basketball. Nina brought sidewalk chalk. And I brought Cleo and the chuck-it. The park has a basketball court, a small playground and a large field with a baseball diamond. Everyone was happy doing their own thing in plain sight of one another. Family parallel play as it were.
A family of 4 entered the park and each of them gravitated toward our individual family members. The parents approached me with outstretched hands, introducing themselves, their children and identifying their home as “right around the corner” (3 houses down from ours as it turns out). They seemed warm and welcoming and eager to make new acquaintances in their neighborhood. Because we moved in the middle of the summer and spent most of the next few months trying to recover from the trauma of our move, we didn’t get out much to meet many of our new neighbors.
Anyway, they seemed lovely and inviting. Their older son (8) was following Joita around the basketball court and their younger son (3) was learning how to use the chuck-it (sort of) from Nina. I had a perfectly copacetic chat with the adults.
Over on the basketball court the conversation went something like this:
8 year old introducing himself, pointing to his parents and little brother, asks Jo where her family is. Joita points to me, Nina and Cleo on the field. The kid nods, apparently not fazed by the usual differences people tend to point out between me, Jo and Nina (skin color et al) then asks, “where’s your mom?” Joita stops dribbling her ball and points again at me. The kid nods comprehendingly and says, “Oh, yeah. So your dad’s your mom. Ok.”
After which they continued to shoot baskets together. Joita was still smiling as she recounted the conversation on our walk home a half hour later. Not because it was necessarily funny to her. But because she was tickled that someone actually got it, that someone saw her family and simply understood. Or at least let it be. And accepted. Her family. Interestingly, this boy also didn’t question Jo’s disability (something she gets all the time and finds awkward and irritating). He simply took her for who she is and just naturally accepted her as she is. I already like this kid.