“You have a beautiful family!”

Yesterday evening all three of us were restless and needed to get out of the house, so my husband and I decided to go for walk. When we go on these walks, it trips us out that we are almost always the only people walking, and its like we have the whole city to ourselves, because people don’t use the resources around them. We are especially thankful to be living in Dayton right now, because unlike Indianapolis, where we lived for two years, there are sidewalks almost everywhere. In Indy, there were no sidewalks past the edge of your subdivision, which was really depressing for us, but I digress.

We were also talking about how you never really see familys out together anymore. Generally, you’ll see a mom and her kids, and even more rarely, the dad and kids, but usually not the whole family out together doing simple things like going to the grocery store or riding bikes together, or even just hanging out. I often wondered whether or not it’s because there are fewer families that are still in-tact, but a quick check of the census bureau shows that in-tact families are still the majority (In 2006, 51% of Family households are married couple families, averaging 3.2 people per household). So, why is it that we are consistently the only family walking around and doing things together on a regular basis?

Anyway, on our walk, as we were crossing the street, there was an older gentleman impatiently waiting to cross the light who I was eyeballing to make sure that he didn’t hit my child, or me and Anthony. He kindly looked up and nodded his head, as if to let me know his foot was firmly secured on the brake. As we’re crossing the next street, he drives by, rolls his window down, and says, “you have a BEAUTIFUL family!”, and waved at us. We were stunned. Didn’t know what to say or how to react. By the time we’d thought of something, he was already gone. It puts a smile on my face just thinking about that, I mean, how random for someone to just scream out of their car how beautiful your family is. It was greatly appreciated because we know that man didn’t have to take the time to say it, but he did.

It’s crazy because it seems that everywhere we go, people are paying attention to us. I don’t mean that in the paranoid, “everybody is watching us” way, but we’ve noticed that people seem to notice us more than they do other people, and engage us in conversations far more often than they do other people. Not just that, but when we go to large events, its like photographers have heat seeking lenses that somehow always manage to find us, and as a result, we’ve been in the local paper twice and a local park system paper as a family just in the last four months. It’s like we are wearing some kind of beacon that just attracts people and makes them want to know who we are.

Its kind of weird, but it’s also really cool to know that people still love to see families together, out playing together and having fun. People stop us and ask us all kinds of things, from where we got Miles’ bike seat, helmet or sling, or just to let us know that they see us everywhere around town. Recently, people have been calling us The Bike Family, which is hilarious, but it means that people see us out and in some way feel connected to us, and are inspired to do things they wouldn’t ordinarily do.

As an African-American family, I know we can be considered an anomaly, but we’re hoping that people seeing us out often changed peoples perceptions about what a black family looks like.


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