"Then you'll finally see the truth
that a hero lies in you."
~ Mariah Carey
Does anybody have the manual that came with their children? I'm just saying. . . if you do, can I please borrow it for . . .I don't know. . .the next eighteen years?
I promise. . . I don't make this stuff up. . . .
Yesterday in the car on the way home from school:
Isaiah: The legs broke on my Jake Justice and I really, really liked my Jake Justice.
Me: You'll have to be kinder to your toys in the future, bud.
Isaiah: Would you be able to get me another Jake Justice? We had him for a long, long time remember?
Me: You've got plenty of toys to play with. Maybe we can see about you getting another one when Christmas comes around.
Isaiah: Christmas! Christmas? (lip starts quivering.)
Me: Oh, come on, Isaiah. Really?
Isaiah: It's just that . . . I really, really liked my Jake Justice. I really, really did. (now crying)
Me: Come on, son. This is not something to get this upset over. Besides, you have tons of toys and this is not the first time one has broken.
Isaiah: (now whimpering/wailing) But this is different, Mom! He's the one that makes me not feel left out!
Me: I don't understand what you mean, Isaiah.
Isaiah: He has brown skin like me, Mommy. He's one of the only superhero guys with brown skin! Nobody has brown skin that's a superhero but him, Mom!
Isaiah: Mommy, not even Green Lantern. Remember? The Green Lantern in my bedtime book has brown skin but they changed him in the movie to have white skin.
Isaiah: Why did they change him, Mom? What was wrong with him having brown skin?
Isaiah: I just want another Jake Justice, that's all. (now a little whimpery whine.)
Me: Your skin is beautiful and so are you.
Isaiah: Yes, ma'am.
Me: And Isaiah?
Isaiah: Yes, Mom?
Me: A long time ago when they first drew the Green Lantern in a comic book he had white skin. And then they changed him and he had brown skin. And then they changed him again for the movie and he had white skin again. But the whole time he was still tough and a superhero and helped people. No matter what color his skin was.
(Okay, okay. . . I admit that I had Wikipedia-ed this question when the trailer first came out.)
Isaiah: But, Mom? Sometimes it makes me feel left out when none of the superheroes have brown skin like me. Not Superman, not Spiderman, not Batman, and not even Captain America. The only one was Green Lantern in my bedtime book. And my Jake Justice. But he's broke now.
Me: Broken. (habit, sorry.)
Isaiah: Bro-ken. And they changed the Green Lantern to not have brown skin anymore.
Isaiah: And sometimes. . . .sometimes. . . that kind of hurts my feelings and makes it seem like it's better to not have brown skin. Like the Green Lantern.
Oh Lawd. Somebody call Dr. Huxtable, for real.
Me: (stammering) Uhh. . .so. . . do you think that? Like . . .think that it's better if you didn't have brown skin?
Gripping steering wheel real, real tight. . . knuckles whiter than the new Green Lantern. . .
Isaiah: (thinking) No. . . . I like my skin. But that makes me feel like somebody else doesn't like it when they changed the Green Lantern like that. Like they liked him better if he didn't have brown skin.
Mom? Dad? Can I get a consult here?
Me: You know, Isaiah. . . .I'm not sure why they changed the Green Lantern. Maybe it wasn't even that big a decision when they did. But you know. . . there are some people who don't like other people for nonsense reasons. Like for having brown skin or being too short or being too tall or speaking another language or liking who they like. Really dumb reasons. So you just have to love how God made you no matter what anybody else thinks, you know? And then you just have to keep it moving.
Isaiah: What does 'keep it moving' mean, Mom?
Me: It means you look in the mirror and know that the way you were born was exactly right. You give yourself a thumbs up and then go on back to doing what you were doing. Like playing or coloring or doing karate chops. You remember that you are wonderfully made and once you know that you keep it moving.
Me: Hey Poops? You know what?
Me: Those guys are all make believe, you know. Those superheroes. And you can make believe anything you want in your own imagination. In your imagination, superheroes can be any color you want. Even blue-skinned with green hair.
Isaiah: Blue! (giggling)
Me: Oh, yeah. Blue with big blue muscles. Especially if they're make believe. But there are some real superheroes who do have brown skin just like you. In real life.
Isaiah: Like Obama?
Yaay. Yay, Yay, YAY.
Me: Obama? He's one of them. . .yeah.
Isaiah: And my dad. . .and my Papa. . . and my Uncle Shannon in Iraq.
Isaiah: Mom? You could say Martin Luther King, Jr., too. (now smiling)
Me: Yep, you sure could.
Isaiah: Can you think of any more?
Me: Yep, I've got one that you forgot.
Isaiah: Who, Mom?
I looked in my rearview mirror at Isaiah. He was looking out of the window smiling. At what? I do not know. But the sight of it still made me smile too. . . .
That night, I logged onto Amazon and ordered him another Jake Justice. And it wasn't even Christmas.
Now playing on my mental iPod. . . . India.Arie singing "Brown Skin". . .just sang a "Mom version" of this to my kids. :)