(Sorry, this post isn’t politically correct. Please don’t take offense.)
The kids were fighting. Gabe smacked Anna, and she was crying, milking it as usual. The tour guide, a grandmotherly black woman, came over, concerned.
“You don’t hit your sister like that,” she said, serious. “You’re the man,” she said to Gabe. A look of surprise passed his face, then he smirked at me, embarrassed.
Just as quick, the tour guide lightened up. “But I saw you messing with him,” she laughed, looking at Anna. It was obvious that she wasn’t angry, just admonishing. She turned to the baby in his stroller. “And you? Are you stayin’ out of it?” she asked. Nate grinned.
When I was little, my mom and I lived downstairs from a very kind black woman. She had a grown son and no grandkids of her own, so she sort of adopted me. I remember spending a lot of time with her. She was large and soft and often laughing. Black ladies like that just ooze love. But here’s the thing: There’s something in their size, their strong voices that commands respect.
Kids know this. They take one look, and they feel the dichotomy of fear and attraction. They want the laughter and they need the authority. They want the unequivocal love they find in her gaze, the soft squishiness of her hug, even the strictness of her directions.
A black grandma preaches it like it is. She doesn’t try to win favor and she’s demanding. Kids never get the better of her. But she always cuts her edge with a smile or a treat. She has a thing or two to teach the kids and she dives right in. Then she hugs, she kisses, she tickles. She’s an expert at bandaid application. She sings. She shows you God. She refuses to take any crap. She feeds your soul.
Do you have a black grandma?