Are You My Mother by P.D Eastman was one of my favorite books growing up because I loved how graciously and lovingly the mama bird at the end confirmed her son’s pleading for a sense of belonging. I am aware that I am not the only multi-ethnic person out there who has internally struggled with belonging because we can look like everything and nothing at all. However, my biggest emotional obstacle growing up regarding race/ethnicity had always been that I didn’t look like my mother. When I was four, a woman asked my olive-skinned, green-eyed mother, “Are you her nanny?” Like a true mama bird, mom chirped with a bit of Colombian fierceness that she was my mama. Would the lady like to see her c-section scar? Encountering more ladies and gents like that, I grew up pleading to the skin and hair gods to change me. Give me super curly hair with a side of ultra coarseness, please. I didn’t like people wondering if my mother and I were related; I wanted people to know it. It would take one too many fake bake sprays and a couple of black hair dye jobs to come to terms that automatic association with my mother will never happen because it takes two tropic birds to tango, and I clearly didn’t get enough Rojas genes. But the bond between a mother and her child is unconditionally strong, no matter how many skin shades apart the two may be. I am my mother’s daughter, confirmed and loved.
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