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Monday, April 23, 2012

With the lights off

Liv had been telling me that she would like to write a blog post.  I encouraged her to do so.  I love to see her perspective and see a bit of her soul through her words.  This is her story in her words.  
And again another ordinary miracle... I am humbled that I have been blessed to be the mama to these children.
.     .     .     .     .     .     .     .     .     .     .     .     .     .     .     .     .     .     .     .     .     .  
From the mind of a crazy daughter...
I have a story to tell you.  A story about racism.
Starts out after bath time.
I love to take one of the littles after bath time, even when Mama insists on asking me several times "Do you want to take him?  Or do you feel like you have to take him?  Are you sure?" 
My answer is always the same.  
I want to take him because I love them!  And it also helps procrastinate my chore of cleaning the kitchen.
Today Jude got out of the bath first so I got him in his pj's, read him a story, said prayers, and told him Mom or Dad will be in soon to give him a kiss goodnight.  
That's when Jude asked me a question.
Jude:  looking at his arm next to my arm. "Why is my skin browner than yours, Sissy?"
me:  "Because you're from Vietnam, Jude"
Jude:  "Why are people from Vietnam browner?"
me:  explaining it the only way I knew how, "Because that's the way God made them."
I dimmed the lights and shut the door a bit, thinking that was the end of the conversation, but as I was cracking the door he decided to sum up his thoughts on the subject.
 Jude:  "Sissy, what if we turned off all the lights?  Everyone would be browner... right?"
 me:  "Yes, Jude.  Everyone would be the same color.  Goodnight, I love you."

That last comment that really caught me off guard.  How is it that my 4-year-old brother had captured the 
essence and understood the subject of differences in ethnicity?
Was it because he is a minority, and he knows what it feels like to be stared at?
Was it the ethics he's is being raised with?
Is it just his personality to see truth?
Had one of his classmates asked him about his "browner" skin?
Whatever it was that made him think about color as simply color, he understands a concept that many adults still might not understand completely.
We should all strive to be a little more like Jude, and try think about the people we meet on a daily basis with the lights off.
-- Livy the Unstoppable!


  1. Great post. Great things to think about. Out of the mouths of babes.

  2. You've got a daughter who is going to do something great in this world Nancy. I'm going to be 35 and I still struggle with a way to explain why my daughters classmates stare at her brown skin and make her continually ask if I'm her mama and if I love her.

    Sometimes the simple answer, the one right there in front of us, is the one that gives a child the most comfort.

  3. There's a Shel Silverstein poem that is something like that... maybe Jude would like it! No Difference in Where the Sidewalk Ends

  4. Matt & Maria-
    I LOVE that book! Used to read it all the time as a tween. Gonna go look it up right now and can't wait to share it with Livy and Jude! Thank you SO much!

  5. Had to post it here---

    No Difference

    Small as a peanut,
    Big as a giant,
    We’re all the same size
    When we turn off the light.

    Rich as a sultan,
    Poor as a mite,
    We’re all worth the same
    When we turn off the light.

    Red, black or orange,
    Yellow or white,
    We all look the same
    When we turn off the light.

    So maybe the way
    To make everything right
    Is for God to just reach out
    And turn off the light!

    – Shel Silverstein

  6. What an amazing story! My son (almost 11) loves to read his little sister her bedtime story. It makes my heart so happy to hear him reading to her and taking the time to answer her questions.

  7. Beautiful Livy! And such a great grasp little Jude has. If only more adults could grasp the a child does.

    Thank you for sharing this with us.

  8. Liv, you are beautiful and smart and loving and God loves you so much.

  9. Hi Nancy,

    I justed started following your blog before you headed to China and have just loved getting "to know" your beautiful family. I've been through the tough re-entry that you are now going through, and can remember thinking how am i going to get through this? But we did and although the house was a wreck and my brows went so long without waxing that they started to form into one uni... we made it as will you and your beautiful Mazie. So, the next time you are worried about laundry or the floors getting done, remember this post and the testament it is to your parenting. She is a beautiful and thoughtful young woman! Best,
    Antinette Mama to Hadley

  10. Beautiful post that shows two beautiful hearts. It is a blessing and encouragement to read your sweet words.

  11. thanks to all of you for the GREAT encouraging words, i was a little nervious to post this... how could anyone live up to the wise words of my crazy mama? I know I'm nowhere close to as good as her but if her blog friends liked it then I must be getting somewhere right?

  12. Luv you to the moon and back, baby girl! You come post here any time you like! I look forward to reading what you post next.
    You are truly gorgeous and unstoppable! I am am so lucky God blessed me with you as my daughter!

  13. I got teary eyed, beautiful story thanks for sharing girl! And Nancy, I am totally unstable right now so I couldn't even make it through the Shel poem. I just ran away. Love you both.

  14. Liv the UNSTOPPABLE! Just another story in the life you are a bright star in. Watching you and your family from the side lines gives me goose bumps. You all are amazing.
    Love you more then all the stars in the sky, Granna

  15. Liv - just a couple thoughts from a little different perspective - considering I'm about the only guy who comments here!

    Liv - you are, in fact, unstoppable!

    You are too - much like me - willing to do about anything to put off chores!

    And you are insightful and wise beyond your years...

    Liv, kids like you are what give guys like me hope for the future of our world...

    You will be a wonderful mom some day - but if that's not your "lot in life" (we are - in fact - not in control!) then...

    You'll make a wonderful President - and if not that...

    You will be (and are now) a wonderful person that brings greatness to whomever she meets...

    continue in a like and similar fashion!!

    hugs - aus and co.

  16. That was amazing! I loved reading this post!

  17. Liv this is a wonderful post!! You sound like an awesome young lady and even MORE awesome big sister!!

  18. This is such an awesome and inspiring post! Children really do have it all figured out.... *big smiles*


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