Yesterday my eldest daughter and I took Immy to have some lunch and do a little shopping at their local shopping centre. Immy is such a social little person - every child and baby she sees she stops and talks to in her own baby language and then says 'bye' in that cute little sing song way of hers as we call her to walk on. She pays little attention to the adults she passes unless they talk to her directly.
After lunch we were walking to Target and Immy was skipping/running/stopping to chat/look - when all of a sudden she stopped dead with her eyes wide open looking up at a very tall African man - I realised that she probably had never seen a man with skin so black and teeth so white or one so tall. He reminded me of a Masai warrior. She just stood there and stared as he walked towards her - it was obvious to all that she was awe-struck. Rather than be offended, and how could you be with this little precious bundle, he stopped and spoke to her and she smiled at him and as he walked off she turned around to watch him depart and in her little sing song voice said 'bye' and waved.
I loved her sense of innocence and wonder, not yet being controlled by the polite society in which we live, not realising that she was staring and that it might make the man uncomfortable - no just this sense of stopping to see the difference and not to judge it but to understand it. We as adults forget or take for granted the many colours of the people of this world, but to a little girl who has just encountered her first really black man, it stopped her in her tracks. How wonderful that instead of being scared, she just wanted to look and talk to him, how she just accepted him for who he was once she had stored that image in her mind and worked out that he was just like her Dad but a different colour (her Dad is also very tall).