Friday, December 9, 2016

river house #11... port-a-potties and transracial parenting...

to the River House!
Hello, old friends.  It's been too long, my apologies.

Care to come see the River House?  Hop on your new scooter because it's only a block away from our house.

You remember we've done the basement,
and then we added on...

...well, now we've got a new permit to begin work on the main house!  Woohoo!  Let's rock and roll.

You know it is serious business when the port-a-potty arrives for the contractors.  Let's get this thing rolling!  (haha, which is really a joke, because this stuff goes soooooooo sloooooooooww)

 First up, FRAMING and WINDOWS...

New kitchen window on the left.  That's the stairway addition on the right.

Current view of the kitchen.  Isn't it dreamy?  :)

 I'd say we've gotten ourselves into quite a project...
 But at least we can now safely get up into the attic.  I mean, first things first.
It's crazy to see your design come into real life.  Like, it's one thing to enter it in on my computer software and configure where walls will go on a screen, but it's a whole different ballgame to see the actual WALLS!
Adding in closets... it's crazy to think old homes didn't have them...

Jameson watching Mr. Larry cut out a window in his future room.
One of the most nerve-wracking things for me has been windows.  Half of the house (3 stories) was an addition from the original house, but they quit construction before adding windows.

Adding windows has been both a blessing and a curse...

A) I get to choose where I want windows and what size they should be.
B)  I have to figure out where I want windows and what size they should be.

This is where I'm really afraid I'm gonna screw it up, y'all.  The Great Room WITH THE VIEW OF THE JAMES RIVER.  This is the selling point of the house.  See how there's no windows yet?  Yikes!

I've gone back and forth in my mind with a few different designs... do I put the fireplace centered on the wall with huge windows on either side?  Or put the fireplace on the side wall with built-ins and just go for it with a wall of windows?

computer sketch of Great Room design

And at least for now, I'm thinking we'll go with the latter option.  HELLO VIEW.  I cannot WAIT to see it for the first time in that room.   Aaaaaaaaaaaahhhh!!!

return air unit going in under the staircase

In addition to framing, we're almost complete with HVAC (heating and air conditioning)!  Which is super expensive and putting us ever more into debt, but once the electrician comes and hooks it all up, working on the house in the winter won't be quite so frigid.

Sweet and sassy girl.  As smart and independent as you'll ever find.

My cute boy.  He's 4 now.  (Can time just slow down, please.)

On the way home the other day, I heard Jameson mumbling something to himself in the backseat.  "I like me just the way I am," he said, causing my ears to perk up.

"What's that, baby?" I asked, and then he explained.

A little girl had teased him about the color on his hand and feet being much lighter on one side than the other.   He had been consoling himself in the backseat as he studied his hands.

I know the girl didn't mean harm.  
I know she was only pointing out something she saw as different.  Kids do that.
She didn't know a thing about racism or racial microaggressions and stereotypes, or how her innocent little comments could plant seeds of racial inferiority into my son's heart this young.  
She didn't know.   

(Though perhaps if this little girl had more diverse friendships and relationships in her life, my son and his skin coloring wouldn't likely seem so "other" to her.)  

It's one thing for Jameson to hear his lily white mama tell him "you're perfect just the way you are."  "Mama, do your hands have a light side and a dark side?" he asked.  
It kinda broke my heart to show him my hand, evenly peachy pale on both sides.  

This is where transracial adoption is hard.  Because my son doesn't share my culture, or my color, I can be empathetic all day long about his experiences as a minority, but ultimately, I can't understand fully because I've never had to do it. 

That's when I desperately need the help of my brown-skinned brothers and sisters.  I can't do this transracial parenting thing without them.  So I called "Aunt Tiffany," my long-time childhood friend and Jameson's godmother and asked her if she'd be willing to talk to him on the phone.  

I teared up listening to Aunt Tiffany asking my son to repeat back the word "melanin" to her, teaching him why we need it.  


That's what my son needs to feel and know.  It's not just him.  He has a community of WE.

We made it back to the River House and told Mr. Larry, our contractor, about the little girl's comments.  Instantly, he pulled his sock off in solidarity to show Jameson that he, too, had a lighter colored foot on one side.

As a mom, it's humbling to know that I can't meet all of my kids' needs.  
But it's hands down amazing to watch my dear brothers and sisters step in to meet some of them for me.

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