Long ago and far away, I married The Woman Who Would Become The Plaintiff. She brought two children with her, a son, hereinafter referred to as Adam, and a daughter, who we will refer to as Brenda. These children had two different fathers, Brenda’s being Of The African Persuasion, as an old medic partner of mine had termed it. TWWWBTP (“the plaintiff”) was, herself (as am I) of the white-bread heritage group.
This led, of course, to her mother referring to her brood as “My own little league of nations”.
Well, time passed, love bloomed (and, subsequently, withered), and my children (all four of them, notwithstanding that fact that two of them had my chromosomes, and two did not) all grew up, became adults, and set off to establish their own families.
Brenda had her own adventures, eventually settling down with a good man, who accepted her oldest daughter, treating her as his own. Brenda wound up having four children in total, ranging from melanin enhanced, to melanin deprived. (genetics can work out in surprising ways).
So, Brenda tells the story of having photographs of her mother (anglo), dad (anglo), oldest child (genes from 1/4 Africa, 1/2 Central America, and 1/4 Europe), and three youngest children (all of whom were paler, having no Central American genetics). You might imagine a picture gallery of “shades of gray”, if you wished.
Co-workers would wander past, and notice the chromatic array featured in her pictures, prominently displayed on my daughter’s (biracial her own self) desk.
“Who’s that?”, they would ask, gesturing at the children’s photos.
“Who’s that?” they would ask, pointing at my photo.
Who’s that?”, pointing at The Plaintiff’s photo.
In Brenda’s telling, there would follow a metaphorical “tennis match”, and her interlocutor’s eyes would go from photo “A”, to her own visage, to photo “B”, and back to her face, and back and forth, for a couple of iterations.
“Were you adopted?”
“Nope.” (I never started adoption proceedings for my two oldest children, a failure on my part.)
More gaze-tennis, as they attempted to process this. And failed.
Brenda finished her tale, grinning. “I really enjoy spinning up folks’ minds! Most never seem to make sense of it!”
Which tale reminds me of another yarn, circling around my story of Carmen’s (the oldest child) surgery. I accompanied my daughter to Carmen’s pre op visits, both because she (Brenda) kind of wanted to focus on her child (imagine that!), as well as, I surmise, Brenda thought that having nurse-and-midlevel-Dad at hand, might be comforting.
So, TINS©, There I Was, sitting in the interview room as the intake nurse was interviewing Brenda, regarding Carmen’s medical history. The nurse asked Brenda, “Is there any diabetes, heart disease, lung disease in your family?”
Brenda responded, “Uh, no, no there isn’t”.
I chimed in (pay attention to this: Brenda is my STEP-DAUGHTER, recall!), “Honey, don’t you want to mention my cardiac stents?”
So, my daughter turned her gaze my way, and, gently, admonished me. “Uh, Dad? I really do not think that *your* genetics are going to affect Carmen. Do you?”
Brenda then turned to the nurse, and clarified. “He’s my step dad, you know.”