It began with a Cabbage Patch Kid. They didn’t have one with Auburn hair, freckles and green eyes. I got Ashley Nicole, with brown hair and brown eyes, and settled for the fact my doll would never look like me.
When I found out I was pregnant, I just knew my baby would not look like me. I was a white woman, having a baby with a dark black man. After my ultrasounds I would have the most vivid dreams of a dark brown baby with brown eyes and curly black hair.
Flash forward, I went for a walk and my water broke. I waiting hours for my then boyfriend to get home, take me to the hospital and in 3 pushes and 30 minutes my beautiful daughter emerged. And she was white. With silky hair. And he left.
So I was alone, with a baby. She didn’t come with an instruction manual, and I had a lot to learn. It started when she was 6 months old. Her skin got black and scaly. Looked like a snake. I called our pediatrician and made her and appointment. Eczema, he said. But why does it look like that I asked? Because she is biracial. It is very common. And then I learned along the way. She was my best friend. We did everything together. I actually tried to bake for her 1st birthday. A carousel cake(before there was Pinterest!). I washed her hair and got her dressed and it started. At first it was a small wave. Over the next few months, it began. Her hair got curly, and kinky and dark. I had no clue how to take care of this hair.
Then I got pregnant again. And I was alone. I was a walking stigma. A single mom with 2 babies from 2 different guys. I vowed to be a better mom. I knew what I was doing this time. I was about to become a nurse. Then I found out I was having another girl and for some reason my confidence went out the window. I worried about another baby, not looking anything like me. I got sick, I had an emergency c section. I still had my 2 year old at my moms to go home to. Then I saw her.
She was darker than my other daughter. And she looked exactly like her dad, although my family kept telling me she looked like me. And she was a calm baby, always happy, always clinging to me. At first it drove me nuts, I would pee with my older daughter on my lap and shower with the little one in her carseat in the bathroom. The baby slept in a crib and the older one slept with me. And they stayed that way, always attached to me and always wanting to be with me. We became the 3 Musketeers.
Then people started saying things. Where did you get them? How long have you had them? And they got older, the baby kept growing and the older one stopped growing. People thought they were twins I laughed because they are 2.5 years apart and have different dads. I explained to the ignorant people, I didn’t get them, they are my kids. They seemed shocked I had such cute babies. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry but it consistently kept happening.
My parents bought a beach house that summer. I would lather my pale white skin with just as much sunscreen as my daughters but they would darken up quickly and the interrogation began again. Are there no biracial children with single moms in Maryland? Apparently not in Ocean City. And my older daughter became aware of it. She asked questions. She wanted to know was she black or white. My dad explained to her like Neopolitan Ice Cream is vanilla/chocolate/strawberry that she was black and white mixed, and called her Cosmopolitan. She loved it. She told everyone. And when she started school and was always dressed cute and I was the only mom at her awards assemblies and field days, I felt like I made it as a mom.
So you are looking at them, Summer 2012 after 1 early May trip to the beach for the weekend. They are my greatest accomplishment in life. Ironically enough, my oldest daughter came out and I hadn’t picked a name. I looked at her, with her brown hair and brown eyes, looking like a little doll and it came to me. Ashley Nicole, just like that Cabbage Patch Kid.