A REAL American Girl!

by Teréza Eliasz-Solomon (HeiressMommy™)

Yesterday one of my dearest friends, Anna B. – a special go to gal pal and confidant – who is the adopted Nonna to my twin sons, told me a wonderful story about her beautiful five year old half Italian/half African American granddaughter [who I share a unique relationship with in that she calls me Aunt Princess Tereza & I call her Princess Danaya]. It seems that Princess Danaya won a Citizenship award in school – receiving a US flag, lapel pin & requisite certificate. That evening her grandmother appropriately set the dinner table with American history inspired place-mats. Our young female patriot looked down puzzled …when Anna was telling me about this, I assumed our little friend was going to ask her Nonna [as she often does concerning other situations] why no body looked like her in those scenes as far as color was concerned. However Danaya was not the least bit concerned with the idea that no people of color were involved in those founding national scenes …instead Danaya asked Nonna; “Why are there no women here in these pictures?”. To say the least, I was impressed and my feminist husband equally so – in fact he was nearly moved to tears and insisted I write about this amazing child.

My  beloved amazing Father, Abraham, was a civil rights activist …who proudly, among many other activities, marched on D.C. with Dr, King. When Barack Obama was elected President, I mourned the fact that my Father was not alive to see that which he dreamed would one day happen. My Father hoped and promised his children that one day race really would not matter – but of course, even with the U.S. electing its first biracial President, race sadly still does matter. And yet, young Danaya is in some way the fulfillment of my Father’s & MLK’s dream – in that this mixed race/multi ethnic darling child was only concerned with the fact that there were no female patriots represented in our nation’s founding story instead of being burdened by race. One must ask if  her seeing our beautiful current first family has not relieved Danaya of that burden in some way.

You should know that wise Nonna Anna responded to Danaya’s question with the truth by explaining that it took a very long time for women to have a real voice in the American story …struggling for the right to vote and hold public/political office. This wise grandmother also reminded Danaya to be sure to get in that voting booth at 18 and proudly participate in her nation’s future. My young friend, Princess Danaya, is surrounded by strong women [who, like myself, are deeply concerned about the current war on women involving our reproductive rights by extremists] and I take pride in saying that I  am a part of that group influencing her ..she has heard and seen me campaigning and often pontificate on issues concerning equal rights, etc.. Danya is our hope for a REAL America …one where, as MLK so poignantly said, we will not be judged by the color of our skin but by the content of our character and let us also hope it will be an America where we are also not judged by gender – perhaps where SCOTUS no longer has its members frequently described as the female Justices. Besides I am already signed up to be Danaya’s Presidential campaign manager and major $$$ contributor!

 P.S.   This child is truly an amazing mini feminist – when she learned that I was having twin sons, Danaya suggested that like her new baby boy cousin, they would cry a lot & therefore I  might want to rethink the gender.  But here I want to share with you  another Princess Danaya story that relates in a somewhat humorous tone to current US politics quite well. Recently I stayed with Danaya for a few hours while her grandparents took care of important business – I am a practicing Jew and Danaya & family are all Roman Catholic – as such, she attends a Catholic pre-school. My young friend & I frequently discuss & share  our faiths – in fact, one Xmas I showed up at 6am with red sweater & Santa Claus Hat, + large Star of David,  bringing gifts. During that “babysitting”  morning, I asked how school was going and Danaya recited her newly learned Catholic prayers. The first few lines were simply thanking G-d for life, nature, etc. but the last was a specific reference to Jesus Christ. When Danaya suggested I pray with her, I repeated the lines thanking G-d for all but explained that I would not/could not finish with the reference to Jesus Christ. Danaya insisted & I again explained that being Jewish that would be disrespectful to both our faiths – after a back & forth, I asked if I should telephone my husband/her adopted Uncle C. Michael, who is Catholic – so that he could do the full prayer with her. Danaya said that would not be necessary but that as long as I was in her home, she insisted I MUST pray as she wanted me to …to which I responded, No but she might have a future in the GOP – because lots of them running for office these days feel exactly that way too!!!

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One Comment to “A REAL American Girl!”

  1. What a wonderful story. It is beautiful when a child can be so aware of differences. When I taught, I also found that my students {ages 5-8 } also did not focus on race. In their eyes I was the same as them. If only we could raise our children that race does not determine who you are as a person. Princess Danaya sounds just like her name: Princess.
    And Tereza, your explanation to her about the prayer was handled so sensitively. The entire post was very moving.

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