Thank God for Smahia.
The first time I met her and bumbled my heavily accented hellos, she took my little man in her arms and with a simple smile, made me feel at ease. She spoke slowly and never seemed to try and guess at what I was saying until I got to the point where I just couldn't charade it any more. It was obvious in her manner that even though I was butchering her native tongue, she respected me and didn't make me feel like an idiot. I was a parent dropping off her son, just like all the other mothers that morning. I could have kissed her.
Thing is, as I've come to learn over the years, Smahia was the best person to understand. She remembered all too well when her own mother would have difficulty trying to get by in French many years ago. Her mom was like me. Not from here, but raising her family here. Raising children who's nursery rhymes are songs we'd never heard before. Children who have the French manner of saying, "oh la, la, la, la" with the right hand gestures to go with it. Children who are French even though their parents are not.
I forget now where exactly in the Maghreb Smahia's mother is from, but it really doesn't matter. There are things that a mother with a North African background and a mother with an American one do share when they live here. At times we are lost, confused, unsure of ourselves, and missing "home." We also share this incredibly wonderful thing of having worldly children who, at tender young ages, get what it means to be multicultural.
It's a God send knowing Bubba-Love, and now little Rosie, get to be with someone like Smahia at the creche. She 'gets' them. And their mother.