A Valentine to My Grandkids by
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When my first child was a baby, people asked me if he was adopted. He was a blonde, fair-skinned child with light eyes who happened to have a dark-haired, olive-skinned, brown-eyed mom. Times were far less politically correct than they are now, so I patiently responded that he was my biological child who looked like his father. Looking back on it, how rude of them to ask. My grandkids are a beautiful and diverse assortment of children who look like … themselves. So, here’s my valentine to all eleven of them, each as unique and awesome as a snowflake.

Remember that little blonde boy who looked nothing like me? Well, he has two African-American sons who did join our family through adoption. So now come the PC version of the questions folks asked me about him. Clearly, they are adopted, so we can skip that one. Are they from Africa? Nope. Are they brothers? Definitely, but I know what you are really asking, so no, they do not have the same biological parents.

My first daughter married a Korean man and they have three daughters. I get the “Are they adopted?” question frequently with them as well. No, they aren’t, but why should that matter? They look like both parents and neither parent. I’ve had folks say one of them (generally the one I’m with) looks like me. They don’t really. Maybe it’s a mannerism or facial expression? At any rate, the comment never ceases to delight me.

My younger daughter, who does look like me, was married to a blonde, fair-skinned man. Two of her kids are blonde and look much more like their father. One looks exactly like her (and consequently like me). I guess when I go somewhere with him, I don’t have to answer any of those nosy questions. That marriage ended in divorce and she recently married a man with three children of his own. A Brady Bunch thing. When they go places with all six children, they get the question, “Are these all your kids?” Even though they are not related by blood, they are part of our family and I am delighted to have three new grandchildren join the crew.

When a baby is born, I’m as guilty as the next of saying the child looks like one of the parents. Or even worse, she has her mother’s eyes and her father’s mouth. How silly. I guess since most babies look somewhat similar, people are looking for that thing that connects the child to her parents. But here’s the thing. My grandson who “looks like me” also looked a lot like his African-American cousin in their newborn photos. My grandkids who just joined our family through marriage look enough like their step-siblings to assume they are all one family. It’s complicated, but yet simple. The thing that connects babies to their parents and children to their grandparents is love.

To my diverse collection of grandkids that I love so dearly, no matter how you came to be my grandchildren, I give you this valentine from my heart. Who do you look like? Who cares? You look like my grandchildren and I am so lucky to be your Gramma.

I invite you to read my book Terribly Strange and Wonderfully Real and join my Facebook community.

Profile photo of Laurie Levy Laurie Levy
Boomer. Educator. Advocate. Eclectic topics: grandkids, special needs, values, aging, loss, & whatever. Author: Terribly Strange and Wonderfully Real.

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Tags: grandparenting, diverse families

Comments

  1. Profile photo of Betsy Pfau Betsy Pfau says:

    I love the way you introduce us to your diverse brood, Laurie. 11 grandkids! How lucky…I can’t imagine. And how lucky they are to have someone as wonderful and imaginative as you as their grandmother. I bet it’s great when they are all together, your melting pot family. Thanks for introducing them to us.

  2. Profile photo of John Zussman John Zussman says:

    This is so refreshing. We need an attitude adjustment, don’t we? You’d think after watching “Modern Family” and “This is Us” we’d stop asking these rude personal questions. I salute your welcoming, inclusive perspective.

    That said, I’m part of a blended family, and we enjoy it when people see resemblances between siblings who aren’t related by blood. I also get a kick out of introducing my older brother—”by one month”—and watching people slowly piece it together.

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