Saturday, August 22, 2009

We Carry On

Today, I spent an elightened afternoon with a group of women with whom I feel I have a deep connection: wanting the best upbringing for our children of color. The mothers of Jack and Jill of America's Santa Clarita/Antelope Valley chapter welcomed me, and several other moms, with open arms to a Prospective Members Tea. The ladies were clad in summertime tea dresses and some donned widebrimmed hats. We nibbled on scones and other tasties while sipping tea. But there was a lofty goal ever present in the house.

Before today, I had a small notion of why I would want to pursue membership -- comraderie with other black families, my children knowing they are not the "only ones" in the neighborhood or the classroom. But talking with the women today gave me a deeper understanding of why these types of organizations exist -- they know what it's like to have a daughter reject, with fury, the brown American Girl dolls in the middle of the aisle because they'd rather own the white one; they've experienced a tug of the heart when their children's faces light up at the sight of black children clustered at the park; and they understand what it is to nearly hunt down the only other black person in the supermarket just to have black families as friends in the undiverse suburbs.

These experiences were echoed over and again as these mothers shared why they joined the organization. And I felt like a human bobblehead doll with all the nodding I was doing. As various women shared their stories, and as I made my way around the room talking to each one, I felt like I was speaking to several versions of myself. I was unashamed to have these experiences or the feelings they produced. And the encounters solidified my reasons for attending.

I feel so fortunate to live in a community and have access to likeminded mothers. It feels great knowing my circumstances are not unique. I thank the mothers who had the audacity to birth this group. I can only wonder how my children will benefit from it and the limitless impact it will make on their lives.