As I walked past the bathroom in my narrow hallway that leads to my bedroom, I noticed my son checking himself out in the mirror. I stopped and watched him pick his mini-afro out perfectly and smile at himself in the mirror as if he were posing for GQ magazine. He just about caught me watching him as I almost choked on the cloud of Axe body spray that permeated the small bathroom.
But as I recovered, I was then overcome with sudden sadness; my son has no idea who he looks like.
He has never met his dad. And although he has an older brother that looks a lot like him, there was just something missing.
Although we are two black men, we don’t look anything alike. I wonder what it is like for him when people asks who I am and he tells them, “That’s my dad.” I’m sure he has gotten used to the side-eyed glances people use to quickly compare us in question to his response.
So one day I asked him how it makes him feel that he doesn’t know who he looks like. His answered floored me.
“I look like me. I look like God. He made me in his image.”
I can’t imagine not knowing what my dad looked like, my family looks like, or my extended family looks like. It’s something that I never questioned. As my son is now coming into his own, he identifies my family as his. I don’t think that it bothers him one bit that he doesn’t look like us. He is a part of TeamGoodson, and that is all that matters to him.