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pass the ball

published: 2020-06-29

My son is now 14.

His father and I took him to Ghana when he was 4. He didn’t speak the same language as the kids and it frustrated him. So I suggested he try playing with a ball. And there he was, frantically running around villages with a ball, white-haired and red-faced from overexerting himself. passing the ball to kids that ran out to play with him, and back. They were united in their intent on kicking that ball into the goal.

His 4 year old brain concocted the following question: “mama, were you brown as a child?”

“No? Why do you ask?”

“Because you lived here as a child and all the children here are brown.”

A plain and non-judgemental observation. I tried to explain to him that no, I was born white, and that it stays that way, and that being white also means I can come and go as I please, while that’s not the case the other way around.

He takes this in and nods. He says, “that’s not fair.”

If only. If only we could stop trying to talk and hearing only ourselves when we can’t understand each other. If only we would then jump in and pass the ball on to each other. We could win, or we could lose. But that’s not the point.





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