Out of my three youngest, I think Caleb has struggled the most with the fact that he was not born here. Micheline and Ben speak freely of their birth parents even though they do not know them. I have often said things such as “I bet your beautiful brown eyes are just like your Haitian mother’s”, or “Your gorgeous black hair came from your Chinese mother”, and they love hearing how some of their best features probably came from their birth parents.
Caleb, however, has asked, “I look like you, right Mama?” For some reason, he cannot even seem to identify what other Chinese people look like. He was on the university campus with Jeff and Jeff was pointing out other people who appeared to be Chinese. Caleb couldn’t pick them out himself.
This week, during an exercise, Caleb was supposed to name ways in which he was similar to his parents and ways in which he was different. He thought and thought, and then said, “Mama’s face and my face are not the same.” I thought he was finally “getting it” that in spite of his desires, his features do not closely resemble mine. As I opened my mouth to reply, however, he continued, “Because Mama wears glasses and I don’t.”