Are You My Mother?
On a sunny Friday morning in May 2008, my daughter and I walked into her preschool classroom. The first thing the children had to do was answer a “Question of the day.” It was Mother’s Day week and the question on the large sheet of white butcher paper was, “Do you look like your mother?”
When a child is born it naturally “imprints” or bonds with the mother. However, what happens when the child is adopted or if the parent is absent?
Relationships that develop between a parent and child are written about extensively in scientific journals, monthly magazines, and even in blogs! I like to keep things simple, however, so I direct families to beautifully-written children’s picture books that convey, through a well-crafted story, the importance of parent/child bonds regardless of how that family came to be.
“Are You My Mother,” by P.D. Eastman is one of my favorite books to read aloud to any age. You have probably read it or saw your child read it over the years. Published by Theodore Geisel’s company (Dr. Seuss, himself) in 1960, the book has remained a classic in classrooms worldwide. One theme that ties this charming story together is that families can come in any form as long as they are bound together by love. From the moment the main character, a baby bird, emerges from the egg he instinctually knows that he has a mother. Baby Bird dedicates himself to finding her throughout the book, never giving up hope or his love for his absent mother.
But back to my daughter’s preschool question of the day: “Do you look like your Mother?” I thought this was a great question and for once I kept quiet while I looked upon my daughter as she considered her answer. A few more parents entered the classroom gathering around the table where Ellie and I stood. “Do you look like your Mother?” echoed the question as parent after parent read it aloud to his/her child. Once Ellie decided on her answer, she picked up a bright blue marker in her tiny hand and wrote her name under the “Yes, I look like my Mother” column.
One of the parents must have disagreed with Ellie because she quickly raised her voice to say, “Ellie, you do not look like your mother!” Ellie turned her head to look up at me with eyes that showed extreme concern and confusion. I smiled and gently said, “Yes, Ellie you look like your mother. You look EXACTLY like your beautiful Chinese mother.”
You see Ellie is our adopted daughter from Fuling, China and while we do not share genetics, we do share the most prevalent of traits: love between a mother and a child.