About a month ago my 5th grader, Sophia, came home with the information on the school’s wax museum. She was to pick an American hero to impersonate. They gave her a list of great choices such as Eleanor Roosevelt, Helen Keller, and Rosa Parks. We talked the choices over and forgot about it.
A few weeks later, after a long night at work (I now work 4 nights a week to subsidize what we call the Obama tax/health care) I came home and helped LG with the delayed bedtime rituals. As we went through Sophia’s backpack, she remembered to tell me that she had chosen her wax museum hero that day because it was the deadline. (Way to be an absent mom! – And how I would pay) My excitement was immediately erased as she informed us that she had chosen….wait for it……
“Who the heck is Mae Jemison?” my hubby and I questioned simultaneously.
“The first female African-American astronaut,” Sophia answered innocently enough. (But I know that deep down inside she was really like, “I’ll show you, mom, for being at work.”
My mom radar immediately alarmed, “Did you say African-American?” as I carefully reanalyzed my 11 year old very blued eyed, very blonde haired, very Caucasian daughter.
It’s times like these that I am 100% convinced someone has hidden a secret “gotcha” camera somewhere in the couch cushions. And times like these happen every day at our house.
LeGrand couldn’t contain his overly exuberant smile headed in my direction with the subliminal message of, “Thank heavens I have the Y chromosome. It’s all you babe.”
Today I am proud to announce that I not only immediately committed, but embraced my daughter’s dream of being the first Caucasian girl dressed as the first African American female astronaut.
After 2 hours at the thrift store, 1 hour at the sewing machine, 5 hours at the computer, 1 hour printing, taping, and pinning (and re-washing and pinning after the other daughter’s judgement error of spilling a bottle of coke on the orange outfit waiting to be worn on top of the nightstand ), 1 hour of wig trimming, 2 hours overseeing the poster making, 1 hour of help with the speech, and 3 hours of searching for the right make-up, a stroke of genius with the snow boots that look like they belong on the moon, and 30 minutes of haggling (and losing) to the girl to let me do it before she went to school, I gladly share the end result.
And yes, she tore off the wig in less than
two seconds after I turned off the camera.
(I forgot to mention the special trip to Sally Beauty Supply
for what I learned is called a wig cap.)
And even then the wig was still too itchy.
White girls are so whimpy
about their beauty aides.
It’s at times like these that
homeschooling doesn’t sound so crazy.
And just in case you moms are ever
called upon for the same task,
here is everything you ever need to know
Dr. Mae Jemison
in the first person
I was born on October 17, 1956 (which would make me 57 now) in Decatur, Alabama. My parents were Charles and Dorothy Jemison and I was the youngest of three. I am still alive today and achieving many things.
I was raised in Chicago and graduated high school at age 16 and went to Stanford University on a scholarship. I graduated from Stanford with two degrees! One was a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering, the other an Associate Bachelor degree in African and Afro-American studies. I later attended Cornell medical school and achieved the requirements to become a medical doctor. I then went to West Africa with Peace Corps to be a medical doctor from 1983-1985.
I then came back to America and became a doctor in Los Angeles, California. I was also a dancer so at the time I was deciding which I should be. Should I be a dancer or a doctor? And I still wanted to achieve a childhood dream, a dream I had since kindergarten, I wanted to go to space. Many people told me that I couldn’t go to space because I was a woman. But I applied to NASA to become an astronaut and they accepted me.
On September 12, 1992, I blasted off into space becoming the very first African-American women ever to go to space. I went into orbit on the Space shuttle Endeavor and I was in space 7 days 2 hours and 30 minutes. My space mission was called STS-47. On that mission I was the science mission specialist. My mission was a joint operation between the U.S.A and Japan. My experiments dealt with bone cell research. With me I brought a picture of my old dance crew. I proved many people wrong that day. I also fulfilled my dream to be an astronaut.
Since getting back from space I quit working at NASA. For a while I was a professor of developing countries and advanced technology at Dartmouth College. I got to be the only person who has been to space to act on the TV show “StarTrek: The Next Generation”. I have created the Jemison Group which works to bring advanced technology to people worldwide and fosters a love for science in students. Now I speak at a lot of engagements, am the President of two technology companies, and love to spend time my cats in Houston, TX where I live.
Next year, I am hoping Bella will be wise enough to pick Bill Gates, like this smart neighbor.
Of course, we would have to chop off all her hair and dye it blonde.