This past weekend, my family traveled to my hometown for a family reunion. We haven’t had a reunion… well as long as I can remember to be honest. It was great seeing cousins who I haven’t spent time with since I was little and it was really hard not to see them as little kids, but as adults and parents. My daughter had a blast playing with her 3nd cousins, most of whom, she just referred to as her “friends.” Hey, you try explaining the levels of cousins to a 3 year old! (Thank you, Wikipedia for the cousins equations!)
I come from a pretty stereotypical African-American family… we’re loud, pretty funny and love to eat! There was so much food there this weekend, that we are still recovering: Ribs, Chicken, Turkey, Baked Beans, Collard Greens, Cornbread, Salads, Fruit Pies and Cobblers… not to mention Aunt Rosie’s Famous Carrot Cake! However, my favorite part of the day was not the copious food or laughing with the family. My favorite part was when my three year old showed the whole family what normal is for her.
My daughter (The Bear) received a stuffed cat as a “Yay! You are a big sister!” present from one of my college friends. This stuffed cat has become her constant companion and she named him “Kitty Boy.” Early in the day of the reunion, The Bear carried Kitty Boy over to a folding chair in the midst of the older relatives of the family (and when I say older, I mean older; These are the matriarchs of my family, all in their 80s and 90s), climbed up on the chair, lifted her shirt and “latched” Kitty Boy on. When she was asked what she was doing, she looked up and said “I’m nursing kitty boy.” The matriarchs looked at each other, shrugged, kind of smiled and said “She’s nursing her kitty.”
My daughter has no idea how important and special her simple declaration was. Breastfeeding was not really encouraged in my family and for her to show everyone without fear or shame what it means to be a mother in her world, means I am doing something right.
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