The other day I found myself on a 45 minute bus ride with my 3 kids and 4 of their friends. We were all sat at the back.
Their conversations were fleeting, from the lyrics of the wheels on the bus to more serious subjects like what they might order at McDonalds.
At one point, one of the girls turned to the other and they were comparing skin colours- three 5 year olds arguing about who was lighter, hoping, each in turn that they were the darker one.
It was all so innocent but lovely. Lovely that they hadn’t been touched by any of our pollutant societal thoughts about skin colour bias. Lovely that they referred to skin colour as they might any other body feature- like they would the hair on their arms or whose hands might be bigger. And lovely that they were all insisting they were darker so they could match.
Within minutes, a woman on the bus turned to me, as I wiped their mouths, told them off and cuddled the littlest on my lap. “They must keep you busy”, she said.
I smiled. Grateful to hear that in 2016 a family of multiple different skin tones and races can exist in someone’s eyes and be normal.
And although I have somewhat frequent encounters with people who ask whether my children are my own because of our different skin tones, this experience has given me hope.
As I pondered the woman on the bus’ comment, I thought about correcting her. “Only three of them are mine”, I was going to say. But I stayed quiet, content in the knowledge, that the new ‘normal’ is us.