Friday, July 8, 2011


I love watching Aster play.
She is slow, gentle and strong. She goes across the monkey bars so gracefully. She moves carefully. So thin you can see every muscle in her back. She's beautiful. Aster likes the slide. She slowly climbs up and carefully sits as she's told. Feet first. I think the best is watching her swing. It's when she just seems free. No rules to follow.

There was only one other family at the park. A mom and three kids. And a billion sand toys. All huddled together.

Aster walked slowly over, careful as always. She sat down next to one of the kids. Barely louder than a whisper she said, "I'm going to make injera" and picked up one of the many shovels laying about.

Before I could even start to tell her about asking to borrow, the mother screamed, "Tell her to put it down or give it back!"
In shock from the urgency and horrid delivery, I paused.
She repeated her request.
I told Aster to please give the shovel to a child (not even knowing which one, because all of them had their hands full of toys and none seemed interested in what Aster had).
The mom instructed one of the children to take the shovel as my daughter sadly reached her arm out offering the shovel to whoever would take it.
Her children ignored her.
Again, she instructed and one of the children finally looked up and took the shovel.

Aster slowly walked back to the slide. I met her and tried my best to make the park fun as the strange lady and her kids stared at us.

My children felt it.
Judah whispered, "I want to go home."
Aster heard Judah and quickly joined in, "Me, too."

Once we were in the car Aster had an idea, "Tomorrow let's bring my sand toys I got from birthday party. I will share with any kids. I'm nice."

Yes, you are baby. Yes. You. Are.

It can easily be argued that the mother could have screamed over my child touching her children's toys if my child was white. That's the thing about racism, it's never completely clear. It's a feeling deep down in the gut. It's in the eyes. It's too easily dismissed. If you ask my children what happened today, they'd tell you they met "a mommy that was not good at sharing."
If they could express it, I think they may also tell you there was something way worse about it than just being shovel-selfish.


Debbie said...

I am crying as I read this. The whole situation is so sad. I pray that your beautiful children never go through that again.

one + one said...

This just makes me cringe. Been there. Never want to be there again. Hope you are never there again.

dcorey said...

So sorry to read this. We had a similar situation at a park recently. You're right, its easy to say that the same action would have occurred if Aster was white, but in your gut you know it feels different. Aster already knows she is better than the woman at the park though - she'll share with everyone. She sounds like a special girl.

msl said...

You are such a better person then me Danni cause I would have let her have it. NO excuse for what she did. NONE. It's common courtesy at parks that all kids will share sand toys regardless of who brought them. I can't tell you how many times we've shared ours. For that woman to have singled out sweet, gentle Aster absolutely infuriates me. And nice lessons she was teaching her own children today. I can't tell which was better, the concept of not sharing or racism. I'm so very tired of ignorant people like this.

Anonymous said...

I've been following your blog, but never commented...but this? Made me feel like I got punched in the gut. Me, who is reading about it on a computer, not having had the horrible experience first-hand. I'm so so sorry, Aster. Mean mommy clearly has no idea what a beautiful soul, inside AND out you are.


Nikki said...

First read your post yesterday, and I still can't get it out of my head. I found myself wanting to pray for that mother, for her heart which is so obviously needing to be opened to love, to acceptance. So I did. And I also prayed for your sweet, beautiful Aster, your precious Judah, and their momma who so clearly loves them to the moon and back.

Anonymous said...

Many thanks.