Sometimes it’s good to have a day off. I made a point to play “hooky” every once-in-a-while when I was a kid (with my mom’s blessing, since she wrote the notes or called my absence in) and as an adult.
I’m a believer in occasionally surprising my kids by taking them out of school, when they aren’t going to miss something substantial, like a quiz or test. Playing hooky beckons a surge of energy and begs that they (and me) be in the moment to embrace the unexpected, to get the most out of it.
And so it was that I pulled the younger two from school, just for the day. We went to an orchard and picked apples (twenty-two pounds of them), biked, went out to lunch, and ate delicious homemade ice cream outside in the sun at the local ice cream parlor.
We also talked. About really important things, like how my son doesn’t like it when a classmate thinks he’s from Africa, “I’m a Guatemalan, Mom. You know, Guatemala is in Central America.” (Yes, I do know that, sweetie…), or how my daughter thinks that the Chinese aren’t so wonderful since they pollute (Don’t we all?) and eat bugs (Most of the world does eat bugs. Actually, we ingest a lot of bug parts in our daily food sources. Oh, yum!). A red flag since she IS Chinese.
My kids are struggling with their multi-identities—having been adopted, being trans- and multiracial—of different races than their parents and their siblings. They are trying to embrace their races and ethnicities, while embracing being an American. And trying to fit in, to be like their peers. But of course, we’ve got to draw the line there, because, as my dear, wise daughter pointed out, “People think all of us Asians look alike.” Yes, I’ve heard that before and I’ve had people assume that my girls are alike, simply because they are sisters, or because they are Asian. Let me assure you, they are nothing alike. Please don’t make that mistake…
That comment moved us into the concept and discussion of assumptions, a human failing we all have. We examined examples of assumptions we have personally made, right and wrong. Then we delved deeper into when an assumption could create issues for ourselves and others and relationships. Enlightened, to the extent that you can be with eight and ten year-olds, we made our way home where I prepared about two-thirds of the apples for the applesauce that only lasted through mid-day the next day.