Indian Carpet Maker
When Arlo switched schools late in September he and I went in blind; we missed both the opportunity to meet his teacher and tour his classroom. Desperate to ease my tender child’s transition, I concocted several scenarios in which I might sneak in with him on his first day but somehow when the bell rang and the door opened, I instead asked the teacher if there was an older child who might act in my stead.
Enter Deidre, a sixth-grader with a friendly smile, an incredible sense of style and a giant key chain collection. Arlo took her hand that morning and every morning since. Deidre changed my child’s life. She took a moment to care for a smaller, vulnerable stranger and never stopped. I adore her.
I told her as much with a small gift and thank you note one day. Since she’s twelve I thought I’d better write her parents too. Her mother, who lives in another city and maybe having never received the note, happened to be at pick-up one day so I introduced myself and shared with her my feelings. “Gushed” is more appropriate.
Just then Deidre came bounding down the stairs. I told her I just sang her praises to her mom.
Her mom laughed and said to Deidre, “‘Yes! She’s going to adopt you and sell you to an Indian carpet maker!”
With a knife in my heart I touched this mother’s shoulder to make sure I had her attention.
“You know my husband is Indian, right?” As is the baby in my arms. My son whom your daughter cares for so genuinely.
I must have said it still smiling because she just smiled in return. It didn’t register.
Did I not get it? Was I overreacting? Was this a thing?
I went home and googled “sell you to an Indian carpet maker”.
It didn’t register.
Deirdre is not her real name. I won’t jeopardize our relationship with her or my child’s affection for her over one fleeting infraction by a visiting family member, but race is catching up with me and I’m trying to beat it before it nips at my children’s heels.