Oh the holidays! Busy, busy, busy! I just wanted to take a moment to wish all of you a very merry Christmas and a truly happy New Year!!! May you find love and much happiness during this holiday season! I hope you all embrace the wonderful traditions from all sides of your beautiful families and relationships. Treasure the differences and learn from each other. It's pure joy when you take it all in! I will be back in 2010 with more stories from our 17 wild and wonderful years!!! From my family to yours merry, merry Christmas! Amy
I'm a little behind the eight ball in my blogging. Family, holiday festivities, and work don't leave much time for me to write during this busy season, but this one I had to share! To my surprise the client who I have written about twice on my blog, you remember...the racist one, well she came in the other day, put her hand on my arm and informed me that she went to apologize to a woman she knows that is black for some hurtful, racist comments she had made to her. I couldn't believe it! She said our talks had helped some, and she was trying to be more open to change just a little bit at a time. I told her I thought that was wonderful and I was so happy to see her trying to be more open minded. I thought I was wasting my breath with her but apparently she really listened. This makes my heart sing! So even though she still has a long way to go, sometimes all it takes is baby steps.
Flashback to Thanksgiving 1993.....Jamie and I had been married for a few months and we were going to our first "married Thanksgiving" at his Sister's house. His Sister asked me to bring a dish to share with everyone and I was so excited to be bringing something to Thanksgiving dinner. I was a little nervous because it was our first holiday as a married couple with his family. I decided to bring the staple dish that I had grown up with....green bean casserole with french onions on top. You all know it, you all love it, you've all had it...right!!?? Yes, no, maybe so? Well we got to his Sister's house and I proudly brought in my green bean casserole. I set it on the table, took off the foil, and waited for everyone to dig in. After we said a prayer everyone started to dish up all their food from the table.......everything but my casserole that is. =( So I thought hmmmm, why is nobody eating my green bean casserole? This is a favorite at my house...what's up? I was starting to get a little hurt as everyone dished up and walked right by my beans! Whatever...I proudly filled my plate and ate those beans up! However, I was the only one! Apparently black folk don't like green bean casserole. Who knew!? The funny thing is after that holiday meal, I was given the task of bringing the rolls and the soda going forward, yes you heard me...rolls and soda....pretty impossible to screw up right!? My green bean casserole has been the holiday funny ever since. Good thing I have a good sense of humor! At first it hurt my feelings but now I can really look back and laugh. One more thing to adjust to in a mixed marriage....getting used to each other's traditions big and small. This year we will be at my family's house for the holidays and you better believe I 'm going to eat some green bean casserole! =)
Relationships can be so tricky, especially in a mixed race marriage. In a world seen through rose colored glasses we all get along, but once the glasses come off that's not always the case. Jamie's Mom, otherwise known as Gigi, was to put it mildly not thrilled when I entered the picture. When her son chose to marry a white woman she was not a happy camper. For years her and I really had no relationship and sadly we didn't get "close" until she was literally on her death bed. She became ill while visiting from Atlanta and heartbreakingly she was never able to go home and passed away while she was still here. She was in the hospital for quite some time and Jamie and I went to visit her almost every single day. During those visits she witnessed our love and our family's closeness. She realized that her son and I were happy, and skin color and everything else aside, happiness is all that really matters. We were with her to the end, and I will never ever forget the heartbreak my husband went through on her very last day so many years ago. Pure and utter sadness at the loss of his Mother that he loved so much. Flash forward to present day......the other day we were volunteering at my Sister n Law's church and a "little piece" of Gigi appeared. Jamie's Sister said, "Oh, I found this the other day when I was cleaning out some boxes." She then handed us a card in an envelope. It was a Christmas card from the last Christmas that Gigi was alive. In the card she said, "She was sending her love to Jamie, to Me and to Tatiana." Jamie and I literally sat there and cried. For him his Mom came to life if only for a minute through her handwriting, and for me it was a little treasure of love sent to our family, after all this time. =)
ends up shocking me again! Now let me just say I truly thought I had gotten through to her and changed her racist thoughts just a little. I'm not naive (my husband might beg to differ on that one), and I know that it takes a lot more than a couple of conversations to change years of racists thoughts, but I have seen it happen little by little with many people in my life and I thought it was happening here as well. Apparently, not so much. So I guess now instead of talking to me about her racist beliefs she has decided to share these thoughts with others at my job. Does she not realize this is going to get back to me?! C'mon now. Yesterday it went a little like this.....somehow the topic of her children came up, who by the way she does not speak to, and she said the reason she doesn't to speak to one of her sons is because "He is married to a black." Yes "a black." Wow....really!? What year are we in? What century is she from? Oh wait, it gets much worse. Then she proceeds to share her "lovely" feelings about black people and how much she hates them. Oh I'm not done yet. It just keeps going downhill from there! Then she starts talking about the grandbaby in the equation, and she says, "Yes, and my son has a monkey baby from her too." Are you kidding me!!!!!!!??? That comment made me sick to my stomach. How on earth do you feel this way about your own grandchild? How, how, how!!?? The thought of someone even saying that about a child is quite possibly the saddest thing I have ever heard. Sad and sick. The irony of this entire conversation is, later in the day she called to thank me for all I do. Yes, thank me!!! Of course she has no idea that I'm aware of this earlier conversation. My first thought was to say bye bye to her forever but instead, this is what I'm going to do...I'm going to gently bring up the subject again and I'm going to keep talking to her, and I AM going to educate her. I am determined to change her hate to love or at least to acceptance. Old wounds can be healed and new relationships can be formed if she can just start seeing beneath the skin!
It's that time of year.....Homecoming time! Yesterday was our daughter's Homecoming dance. Dresses, jewelry, shoes, flowers, limos, nails, hair-do's and more! Part of the day of course was spent at the hair salon getting the "do" done for the big night! As you all know from one of my previous posts hair is not a simple thing in our house. =) It just got a little more complicated because the lady that used to do Tatiana's hair moved back home to Indiana! What to do!? You don't understand...this is a tragedy! Now you know girls, once you find someone to do the hair right, they are with you for life! Hopefully! Well luckily we got referred to someone else, so off we went to the new salon....Tatiana, cousin Alyssa, and Moi. We walked in and as usual I am the ONLY white person there. Not only was this a "black salon," it was also a "black barber shop." "Stick out.....sore thumb.....Me." =) However, after being with Jamie for all of these years I am very used to being the only white person in the room. So after the initial "awkwardness" when we first walked in, we then met the new stylist and took our seats. While sitting there, of course I got the curious glances, and polite half smiles. Then a little boy comes over and sits beside me and says, "What are you doing here?" Out of the mouths of babes! Just an innocent question from a kid. Obviously he was just wondering......kind of like, "One of these things is not like the other." =) So I proceeded to tell him that I was waiting for my daughter to finish getting her hair done. He then pointed to every female in the room and asked if any of them was my daughter. Young, old and in between. It was pretty funny! Tatiana was at the shampoo bowl so he never did point at her because he couldn't see her. I told him he needed to go behind the wall to see her. So up he got...over he went...and back he came. He said, "I saw your daughter, and I said hi!" Too freakin' cute. He kept going back and forth to say hi. =) Then a little girl that was in the salon decided I needed to be her friend too. So she came and sat by me and showed me her video game. I LOVE that kids can make friends with anyone! Even the odd "wo-man" out! After more time went by I started looking at the clock and was hoping we were going to have enough time to get home and get Tatiana ready for the dance. A lady that was also getting a perm by the same stylist heard me talk about the time. She asked what Tat was getting her hair done for and when we said homecoming she kindly let us finish before she started her perm. I thanked her a hundred times and made another new "friend"...this time one of the adults. When Tat finished I said goodbye to everyone in the salon and said, "See you next time." Everyone smiled and said good-bye. So by the time we left I was no longer the odd wo-man out, I was just another Mom getting her daughter's hair done....well, kind of. =)
The picture above was taken at a wedding we went to this past weekend. The significance of the picture and the wedding is pretty amazing considering today's post. Because I write a blog about interracial marriage I pay a lot of attention to things that are going on in regards to interracial relationships and race in general. However, somehow I missed this latest story until it showed up in my inbox from a friend of mine who is also in an interracial marriage. She is Hispanic and her Hubby is black. But first, back to the picture. The wedding that we went to in the picture was also for a mixed race couple. She is white and he is Hispanic. The wedding, and the day, was about a beautiful couple, getting married in a beautiful location, creating a beautiful family. The end. It wasn't about what race they are, it was just about love. Now, back to today's post. Sorry I'm all over the place today, but I think I'm in such shock, and the relevance of an interracial wedding is so ironic, that you will quickly get the picture.
The article below is about an interracial couple in Louisiana who went to apply for a marriage license. When the Justice of the Peace found out they were a mixed race couple he denied the license!!! Yes, you heard me.....denied!!! This is some of what he said....
Keith Bardwell, justice of the peace in Tangipahoa Parish, says, "It is his experience that most interracial marriages do not last long." Bardwell said he asks everyone who calls about marriage if they are a mixed race couple. If they are, he does not marry them, he said. Bardwell said he has discussed the topic with blacks and whites, along with witnessing some interracial marriages. He came to the conclusion that most of black society does not readily accept offspring of such relationships, and neither does white society, he said. "There is a problem with both groups accepting a child from such a marriage," Bardwell said. "I think those children suffer and I won't help put them through it."
Excuse me!!!???? Interracial marriages don't last that long??? The children suffer!!!?? Last I checked I have been married to my husband for 16 years and we are stronger than ever! He is my best friend and the love of my life! Did I not just recently write a post about "The Children" and how amazing it is to have such a diverse background? How embracing all of who you are makes you such a fabulous well rounded person? If that's suffering, well then bring it on! Um, isn't the President of the United States a "mixed race child?" Too bad he had such low aspirations and ended up doing nothing with his life! =) I wonder how he feels about this decision? Last I checked denying a marriage license based on race was outlawed in 1967....why is this man still allowed to marry people? Why isn't he in jail? He is breaking the law based on personal opinion. I'm sorry, how is that legal? I can't stop shaking my head, and have yet to pick my jaw up off the floor because I seriously can't believe this happened in 2009!!! It's one thing to be ignorant and we all know racism is out there, but THIS!!!? Ohhhh heck no! Not acceptable. Discrimination at it's worst. Okay I have ranted enough......soooo Mr. Keith Bardwell, so called Justice of the "Peace," first of all, you should not be allowed to use the word "peace" in your title, you are creating hate not peace. Second of all, next time maybe you should do a little research on interracial couples and you will find that we are all quite happy in our marriages! We might have to go through some things that most people in same race marriages don't, but the reason we have to go through these "things" is because of people like YOU who just keep the madness of racism alive. We are just couples, no different than anyone else. Me personally, I feel sorry for you that you haven't allowed yourself to experience the joy of marrying EVERYONE who is in love. Love doesn't discriminate, maybe you shouldn't either.
I was going through my blog this morning re-reading some of my old posts, reading some of the previous comments from people, and just looking at all of the different things I have written about. I started thinking, wow, we have gone through so much together......good, bad, crazy, ups, downs, funny stuff, scary stuff, happy times, sad times and on and on. It's so amazing that we are stronger and stronger through it all! So then I started thinking, is love enough? Is love all we need? Can love get us through it all? (Sounds like a song). =) I know all the things that we have gone through are just part of life, but I can guarantee we have gone through more than the norm because we are a mixed race couple. There are so many times that challenges get to everyone and people just give up. We have seen many of our friends go through divorce recently, and it just blows me away because these are people that I never would have imagined splitting up. So for them, was love not enough? We are the couple that everyone thought wouldn't make it because we are sooooo different and from such different backgrounds. Yet for us a challenge is really nothing because we have already been there done that in regards to "proving us." Not that we have anything to prove, so that wasn't the perfect choice of words, but I guess I mean the constant misconceptions that other people have of us. Back in the day it hurt me to hear anything negative about us, but now it makes me giggle because people have no idea the joy that we give each other. I WISH this joy on everyone, even the naysayers! It's awesome! Don't get me wrong, by no means are we perfect. There are days when we are ready to throttle each other....we had one of those days the other day...but the wonderful thing is, we always, and I mean always, talk it through, work it out, and start fresh. Our love is too important and too strong to let any argument or any issues get in the way. So hmmmm, once again, is love enough? In reading some of the comments about what people are going through in their new interracial relationships I just want to reach out and say....be strong, be true to who you are, treasure each other, don't ever give up, and in the end, through it all, LOVE WILL BE ENOUGH!
Always be aware of your surroundings......this is something that Jamie has ingrained in my brain since the day we met. He says that no matter what neighborhood you live in or where you are, you are subject for a "jacking" at any moment if you don't pay attention to what is around you. This thought process comes from years of experience and growing up in the "hood" (as he says). He and I grew up in totally different types of neighborhoods which gave us very different perspectives on what goes on around us. I "loosely" paid attention to his advice, and then one day, low and behold, I was the one who got "jacked." I was grocery shopping on a Sunday afternoon in our old neighborhood. As I was coming out of the grocery store I did look around, but as usual didn't pay a ton of attention to what was going on around me. I was standing at the back of my car loading my groceries and all of the sudden a young black man was standing next to me. He was so close that I figured he must know me to be acting soooo familiar. I looked at him to see if I recognized him as one of Jamie's friends. He looked really young so I thought maybe he was one of my nephew's friends. I just kept thinking, he must know me because he is so close to me that our hips are touching. Never, ever did it cross my mind that something really bad was about to go down. Clearly, I trust too easily. Mind you, this is all happening in a matter of minutes. Finally when I realized I didn't know who he was, I looked at the young "man" and said, "Can I help you?" He then lifted his jacket and pulled out a gun and said, "See this, don't move, and don't say a word, where is your purse?" I just stood there in shock thinking this can't be happening! I thought for a second and then said, "It's in the front seat." It wasn't, but I just needed him to get away from me, so I could have a minute to breathe. He then said again, "Don't move and don't say a word, while his eyes were "bulging" out of his head." He was not playing! All the while people are coming and going having know idea what was happening right in front of their eyes. When he didn't find the purse in the front seat he started getting very upset. He said, "Where is it, where is it?!" I could see he was losing it, and realized I just needed to give it to him or he might shoot me. I told him it was right by me and he grabbed it and said, "Don't you say anything!" Then off he ran to a waiting car. I just stood their for a second and then just started to cry and yelled, "Someone call 911!" A car pulled up to me that had seen the guy running and asked if I had just been robbed. I said, "Yes! Call the police!" I think the thought of a gun being involved and what could have happened just shook me to my core because I was just in shock. The police arrived and amazingly enough it was the SAME cop that told me at the infamous "Toys "R" Us arrest" themanyshadesoflove.blogspot.com/2009/07/false-arrest.html that "I would be on the ground with my husband if I didn't shut up." Really? What are the odds that of all the cops he would be the one to show up to "my robbery!?" So he took my statement, as I stood there shaking, and then I said, "Do you remember me?" Of course he didn't, so I quickly refreshed his memory. He said, "We were just doing our job that day." Yeah, whatever. I was too upset at what just happened to also re-live that terrible day. After that I went home and when I walked in the door I just started to cry. Jamie said, "What's wrong!?" I told him what happened and he was soooo MAD he was ready to go find the guy and "kill" him. Okay not literally, but let's just say it would not have been pretty if he had found him. Needless to say the guy was long gone. After that, for an entire year I was too freaked out to go to the grocery store. It was the weirdest thing. But the worst thing that came out of this was I kept thinking I was going to run into him again, or that he would come back and rob me again because he had all my information about where I lived. I would see a young black man that resembled him and literally start to shake. How awful is that? Afraid of young black men and I am married to a black man! It was a horrible feeling. These are the things that create the hateful stereotypes that I am so against, and this time I was the one living it! I felt guilty because of the fear and I felt anger because of what he "created" in my life. Over time I got over it and realized that my purse was probably in a dumpster somewhere and I was the last person on this young "man's" mind. I am sure karma has caught up with him and I hope with all my heart that he has changed, but I can guarantee he has no idea that what he did that day changed my life forever. One thing is for certain, you can be sure that I am now very aware of my surroundings even in my "safe" little neighborhood.
When Jamie and I met and fell in love we knew fairly soon that we were going to be married and have a family together. Sometimes you just know these things. For us it was just a given. We were married in August of '93 and little Miss Tatiana was on the way in December of '93. =) I remember having a conversation with my Mom when Jamie and I decided to get married. It was about being in a mixed race marriage. She had no issues with this except for the fact she was worried about her future grandchildren. She didn't want them to face any prejudice or hate. She said it would break her heart. So think about it, when two people of the same race get married and decide to have a family they just do it. They don't have to think about what their kids will face in regards to the color of their skin. My Mom certainly didn't need to have that conversation with my Sister or Brother when they got married. The issues and decisions that an interracial couple face are so different than couples in same race relationships. When the day came that we found out we were expecting, ironically my parents were in town visiting from the Northwest. It was a happy, happy day and all of us were thrilled! The worry somehow melted away. I will always focus on the positive and deal with the negative as it comes. I will never let the negative rule my life, my marriage, or my daughter. So when my Mom voiced her worry, bless her heart, I just told her we would make sure that our children lived the happiest life possible. We wouldn't shelter them from racism, and when and if it occurred, we would teach them where it came from, how to deal with it, and to always be proud of who they are. That is what we have done with Tatiana....she has grown into an amazing, proud, beautiful young woman.
Okay, so yesterday on facebook...wait a minute, I seem to have a lot of facebook stories...hmmm does that mean I am spending too much time on facebook!? Is there a facebook anonymous out there!? Anywho....yesterday I posted that I was having a hard time writing on my blog. Brain freeze or something! One of my friends told me to FOCUS. So I tried..it didn't work. Once again, he said, "FOCUS." As you can see there were no posts yesterday, so focusing....didn't happen. Then one of my friends said, "Just channel the energy and wit of your husband (Jamie) and lover (me) and I guarantee you will get something going!" As you can see he is a big jokester! No lovers in my marriage or his! =) The "lover" by the way is a white man. Relevance...you will see in a moment. Well, the jokes went back and forth and then a couple of other friends chimed in, and finally I said, "Now you all know, once you go black you never go back." Well the laughter roared out loud on facebook! Lot's of LOL's! LOL...wow, am I 13!!!? =) One of my friend's who is also married to a black man (she happens to be Hispanic) said, "So true!" So is it true? Once you go black, you never go back? The saying came from somewhere, so how true is it? I'm married, so I'm not going anywhere, black, white, brown or blue, but if I wasn't married I would definitely be attracted to black men. Aww heck, I am attracted to black men! I'm not dead! =) Is it because that is what I'm used to? Is it because I'm happy in my marriage? Is it because my daughter is half black? Is it because of the stereotype about black men? This is a "G" rated blog, so we can't get into that one. =) Is it just my preference? I'm pretty specific in my preference of black men that I find I'm attracted to....big, tall, bald, with a goatee....ohhhhh, that's my husband! Now I get it!!!! =) Hmmm, what is your thought on this one.......?
If a grown adult has a mind filled with racist thoughts, can that mind be changed? I am asking this question because yesterday at work I had a client, that in random conversation started telling me how she feels about black people. As the conversation started to go in a direction that I knew was not going to be good, I told myself, "Okay, you can either get really mad and go off on her, or you can take this moment in time and "help" her maybe see another way of thinking." I chose the latter. So, I "calmly" sat there as she proceeded to tell me that black people are "freeloaders, drug dealers, drug addicts, lazy and good for nothing." The rant went on for a bit longer, but without going into further detail, I think you get what she was saying. When she was done, I looked at her and said, "You do realize my husband is black, right?" She said, "yes," and then started to stumble on her words a bit, and said, "Oh, I don't think ALL black people are like that." Then, the famous, "One of my best friends is black," excuse came out! That one always kills me! Oh, you have a black friend so that makes it okay to be derogatory? I don't get it. Wouldn't it be the exact opposite? Wouldn't one feel they were disrespecting a friendship by talking that way? Twisted thinking and then some, don't ya think!? Okay I am off track.....back to the conversation. As my blood is boiling inside, I kept telling myself, "Let's help her understand another way of thinking and not get angry." So, I said to her, "How is it possible that you can look at someone on the outside and automatically assume just based on their skin color that they are a lazy, good for nothing, druggy?" I said, "You have to get to know someone's heart first, and then if they continue to act that way it's not because they are black, it's because they have issues." She then said, "But that is just their culture and I don't like it." I told her, "I am not sure who you have been around, but that is a small, unfortunate part of everyone's culture." I proceeded to tell her that, "It really makes me sad that you feel that way because my husband would give the shirt off his back for anyone that needed it and he is a hard worker that is always there for his family." The conversation went on for a good 20 minutes and then she decided to tell me how much she hates our President. Hmmmm, could it be because he is black?! I then said, "You know what, the beauty of why we live in America is, you can feel one way, I can feel another, and the two of us can agree to disagree." I was determined to kill her with kindness. So each time I see her, if the subject arises again, I will continue to do the same. I hope that little by little, she will see that if she lets go of her hate, she will open the door for some love, and maybe, just maybe the mind of a racist will be forever changed. We shall see.
I'm baaaack....sorry for the break...I just started a new full time job and it has been difficult keeping up with the blog, facebook and life! =) Speaking of facebook.....as many of you out there are...I too am addicted! Well, the other day I received a friend request from someone I thought was an old friend of mine from high school. She ended being a different person with the exact same name as my friend. Once I accepted the request I received a private email from her. She had seen my profile picture, which is of my husband, daughter and myself. The email was short and to the point. In it she wrote..."How are you?" Wow, I never pictured you with a black guy. He looks like that news guy that was on channel 6 in San Fran so I guess that's okay." As I am reading this, I'm thinking, first of all, do you not realize we don't know each other? Second of all, if he didn't look like the newscaster, would it not be okay?! I was just blown away! Here is a woman that thinks she is getting back in touch with a high school friend and all she can say after years and years is, "I never pictured you with a black guy!?" If I was with a white man would she have said, "Wow, I never pictured you with a white guy!" Of course not! Why is it okay to say something like that!? It's sooooo not! Even if she disagreed with us being together could she not have just said, "nice to be in touch again," and just leave out all of the other "stuff" she felt the need to write? People never ever cease to amaze me. My email back should have been, "Wow, I can't believe how ignorant you are!" Instead, needless to say, I hit the delete button. =)
The Happy Couple Handmade Cake Topper =) 16 Years Later.......
My how time flies...this week is our 16 year anniversary! Friday, August 21st to be exact! I am proud to say, that this year, even though having been our most challenging, has also been the best year ever in regards to our marriage. We seem to just get stronger each day. When we met 17 years ago, who would have ever known that we would be such a strong, amazing, happy couple today!!? All couples go through trials and tribulations, ups and downs, good times and bad times, but add to that being an interracial couple, and the odds somehow seemed stacked against us. However, from day one, we knew that no matter what society, friends, or family, tried to do or say in regards to our relationship, we were in love and we were going to make it! So here we are.....16 years of marriage and still goin'! Back then not only was our marriage out of the ordinary but so was our cake topper! They didn't make interracial cake toppers when we got married, so I made one myself! I bought a white bridesmaid, a black groomsman and made it work.....just like our marriage! The small fact that they didn't make interracial cake toppers spoke volumes about how unusual our union was just 16 short years ago. So what does make OUR marriage last? There are so many things, but here are just a few.......we raise our daughter together, we share our faith, we never leave the house without a good-bye kiss, we never go to bed mad, stubborn as we both are we compromise and somehow come to the middle (on most things =), we are there for each other through everything no matter how bad, we communicate, we argue with respect, we apologize (sometimes through clenched teeth, but we apologize none the less =), we share the housework, we share the carpooling, we laugh together, we chill together, we have friends together, and friends apart (you must have your own circle of friends), we give each other space, we are both "crazy", =) and most of all we love each other no matter what! We are not perfect by any means, nor would I want to be, in fact, who is for that matter? However, we are happy, and we are truly, truly in love. Happy Anniversary "week" to the love of my life, my best friend, my soulmate. 16 years later here we STILL are......who would have "thunk" it!
If you look up Interracial Relationship online this is the definition that you will find....... "Miscegenation (Latin miscere "to mix" + genus "kind") is the mixing of different racial groups, that is, marrying, cohabiting, having sexual relations, and having children with a partner from outside one's racially or ethnically defined group."Historically the term has been used in the context of laws banning interracial marriage and sex, so-called anti-miscegenation laws. It is therefore a loaded word and is considered offensive by many.
First of all, the fact that during my lifetime interracial marriage was still illegal makes me shiver. I just can't imagine someone telling me it's against the law to marry the love of my life. Can you? Unbelievable. So now on to what I believe "Interracial Relationship" means, and should have meant all along....My definition of "Interracial Relationship" is; love, marriage, strength, courage, pride, self confidence, challenges, cultures, family, history, fun, happiness, learning, growing, teaching, knowing yourself, change, a brighter future, not to mention great food, and more love! =) What an amazing list don't you think?!? So for those of you that are questioning or wondering what it's all about, it's pretty simple, and pretty amazing! Next time you meet someone outside of your race and you think, hmm I kind of like them, what should I do? Just follow your heart, and ohhhh the places it will take you! It's a beautiful thing, we call, LOVE. =)
Because my last post was pretty "heavy" I figured I would lighten this one up a bit. When you are in any type of relationship it is so important to have fun! For interracial couples there are so many things that we deal with on top of the normal issues, it is a MUST to have comedy in the relationship. One of the MANY silly things that my husband and I like to do, is to pretend we are an eclipse! So, as you can imagine, me being white and him being black, this works quite well! =) I know it sound ridiculous, and really it is, but it's also hilarious! We stand in front of each other, one to the left and one to the right, and then with an almost "penguin like waddle" we move towards the center until we are right in front of each other, and VOILA....it's an eclipse! Total dorks, total goof balls, but we laugh out loud every single time! Our daughter thinks we are nuts! Okay, I admit it, we are! Better than being boring, don't ya think?! =) It's the little things, like "playing eclipse" and just being silly in general, that keep any relationship alive and well. So next time you want a good laugh, do like we do, and become an eclipse! As they say, laughter IS the best medicine. =) So go and have fun!
One of the things about being married to a black man, that I will never get used to, is the way they are treated due to history and stereotypes. Back when I was I pregnant with Tatiana, Jamie and I were going to a store to exchange duplicate baby gifts that we had received at my baby shower. We went to the store, receipt and items in hand. As we got out of the car and were walking into the store, we ran into some friends that were leaving. They decided to go back in with us and catch up and talk while we exchanged our gifts and shopped. This couple also happened to be a black male and white female. We went up to the counter with our receipts and goodies to get credit for the store. While we were at the customer service counter there was a lot of whispering going on. We had no idea what was up and continued on with our shopping adventure. After we were done picking out our items, we went to the register to pay with our credit that the store had given us. The manager was acting really weird and seemed to be stalling purposely. I jokingly said, "Do you think these are counterfeit store dollars or something? You just gave them to us an hour ago. Ha, ha." Again with the stalling, and he appeared in no mood for jokes. The manager finally finished ringing up our purchases and we started to leave the store. As we were leaving we looked around and the entire building was surrounded by police! We thought, what on earth is going on!? Then all of the sudden they take my husband, handcuff him, and tell him to get on the ground. My husband said, "I am not getting on the ground I didn't do anything!" One of the cops put a gun to his head and said, "Get on the ground now!" Needless to say, he did. As this was going on, they took our female friend and me around the corner, and then took our male friend and handcuffed him as well! So here we are, not having a clue what is happening, I am nine months pregnant, and we are all in shock! I am screaming at the cops to find out what is going on and they told me to shut up or I would be on the ground with my husband! Nine months pregnant no less! By now, they have taken my husband and our friend to separate cop cars, searched our cars and purses, and have kept us in the dark as to what is happening. Finally, I said, "I need to know what is going on, and you need to call my friend who is a cop and talk to him, because whatever you think you have our husbands for, you have got the wrong guys!" Come to find out, five days earlier, there was an armed robbery at that store. Guess who did it? Two black men! So of course our husbands were the robbers coming back to do it again! =) This time with receipts in hand and a pregnant woman to boot! Insanity!!!!!! After what seemed to be hours, they finally let my husband, our female friend and me, leave. Our male friend was taken to jail (he was "closer" to the size description) and then later released after they realized none of us had anything to do with the robbery! The only thing the two men that committed the crime had in common with our men was the fact that they were black. Height, weight, hair, age etc.....all TOTALLY different! So, two black men, with receipts, out to have a nice day of shopping and BOOM....false arrest at it's worst!
70's song Le Freak...Tatiana's recital... (Tat 1st one in back row, black fro)
Last weekend was my Daughter's recital weekend. This consists of 3 nights of dance, dance, dance! She takes multiple classes in all different dance styles. These classes all require costumes and accessories. One of the dances as you can see by the awesome picture on this post had an Afro as part of the costume. All of the kids were asked to find fro's in their actual hair color. Some found them at party stores and some found them on the internet. Of course when they are purchased they are very messy and require some "fixing" before wearing. At class, my daughter's tap teacher, who by the way is half black and half white, asked them to buy picks and pick out the fro's so they looked more "natural." In this particular dance my daughter is ironically the ONLY one who is part black. After class we were all off to finish up our costumes, pick "homework" and all. The next morning my phone rang and it was a girlfriend of mine who's daughter is also in the tap number. She called to ask me where she could buy a pick for her daughter's fro. I laughed out loud! She knew that we had to do Tat's hair all these years and that of course I would be the one to know where to find a pick! =) Call the woman married to the black man! Comical. =) Of course I knew where to go, and she found it that morning and texted me back to let me know she was good to go! So if you ever need to know where to find "black" hair products just call me! I will point you in the right direction. LOL!
Recently a comment was made on a previous post by a student who found my blog while doing research at her campus library for a class project. She said she wasn't sure what to call herself..."black" or "African American." This is one thing that my husband has always been very clear about. He said he was not born in Africa, he was born in Indiana, so he does not want to be referred to as African American, he wants to be called black. Now I know this is controversial among some, and that some are adamant about being called African American, but he says, "I have never been to Africa, I was born in America, I am American, period." I guess that would be similar to me saying I'm Russian American or Swedish American, (I'm half of each by the way) that just sounds funny and long winded if you ask me. Don't get me wrong I'm proud of my heritage, especially since I'm adopted and it's one of the few things I know about my background, but I just don't refer to myself as either unless specifically asked. What does one call themselves when they are a mix like our daughter? She would have to say I am Russian, Swedish, African, Creole, Indian, Caucasian, Black, American! Now that's a mouth full! It's funny because when I refer to my husband, if race does comes up, I always say he is black because that's what he prefers to be called. However, I do get the irritated look, or on some occasions, "correction" by black people who let me know I "should" be saying African American. If my husband, who IS African American does not want to be called that, is it okay for me to refer to others as black, or do I have to call them African American? To me it's just one more thing that separates us from each other by worrying so much about the distinction. So, when you are not sure what to call yourself, be proud of your heritage, and respectful of others, but call yourself whatever makes YOU feel most comfortable, just like my husband does. Me, I am a white woman, married to a black man, with a black and white daughter. But really, I am just a woman, married to the man I love, with a beautiful daughter!
When our daughter was getting ready to go into Kindergarten there were many forms to fill out when registering for school. One of the forms asked for ethnic background. On this particular form there were multiple boxes to choose from....white, black, Asian, Hispanic, and so on...but you were only allowed to choose one. Well, Tatiana is half black and half white so I wasn't about to choose only one for her. I chose box one, white, and box two, black. I turned in the forms and went on about my merry way. A few days later I got a phone call from the school district. The poor girl on the phone sounded like she was about to cry. Seriously. She said, "I am so sorry to have to call about this but you chose both black and white on your daughter's registration." I said, "Yes I did, she is half black and half white, what seems to be the problem?" The girl apologized again and said, "You can only choose one or she can't start school." I literally laughed and said, "You are not serious?" She said, "Unfortunately I am, and I feel terrible, but that is the way the form works." So I went on to say, "So you are telling me that I basically have to choose one parent over the other?" I told her that I wouldn't because then the form would not have the correct information for my daughter, and I refused to have to choose one race when she is both black AND white! She said she hated having to make the call but those were the rules and if I didn't choose then Tatiana literally could not start school. At that point I could picture her on the other end of the phone just "crawling under a table" because she felt so bad. They probably drew straws at the district office to see who would have to make THE call, and she got the short one! I went on to tell her the form needed to be changed and to go back to the administration and make it clear that I was not happy that I had to choose one parent over the other, but since I had no choice, I chose black for her Dad. Me...I was left out, and I was not happy. =( That was back in 1999, and now here we are in 2009 and the forms now allow for the choice of multiple ethnicity's. It took time, awareness and complaints, but some things do actually change for the better. Now we are BOTH her parents again! =)
I was going to write about something totally different today until I read one of the comments on my last blog post. A woman posted that she has been with her boyfriend for 5 years and because he is black her family refuses to meet him. Anytime I hear anything like this my first reaction is sadness, and my second is disbelief. Even with all that my husband and I have gone through the last 16 years of our marriage, I still try and see the world with rose colored glasses and hope that people are never judged on skin color alone. Clearly, by her comment on my blog and the fact that I even have this topic to write about, we still have a long way to go. If I were to sit down with this woman's family, I would first ask them, "Does this man make your daughter happy?" "Does this man treat her well?" "Does he love her?" "Does he respect her?" "Does he make her laugh?" If they answer yes to all of those questions, then why, oh why does it matter if his skin color is different than hers? One of the many joys that I have in my interracial marriage are all of the differences we both bring to the table. From the obvious.....skin color, to food, to traditions, to music, to clothes, to language, to friends.....I could go on, but you get the picture. There are so many wonderful things to learn about each other and the world just becomes smaller when we do! Don't we want that? Isn't it all about coming together? Isn't that what love is all about? It's so basic, yet we try and make it so much more than it is. We are all just people, wrapped in different packages, with the exact same gift on the inside......a heart, a soul.....love.
Today if you asked most people point blank if they were racist they would emphatically say, NO! However, sometimes racism rears it's ugly head in such subtle ways that even the person that is being racist still thinks they are not. Circumstances are constantly arising in my family's daily life that brings about what I call "subtle racism" in people. It's racism none the less, but one would never admit it. I have sooooo many examples I don't know where to begin, but since I am blogging and not writing a book I will just list a few. =) For many, many years my husband and I banked at Wells Fargo. We owned a store right up the street so I was there every single day, and we were a staple in the community (that's another story....you can read about it here). www.themanyshadesoflove.blogspot.com/2009/06/through-good-times-and-bad-and-why-i.html One day Jamie went to the bank to deposit a check that was fairly large, but nothing out of the ordinary. After he made the deposit he called me and told me that the bank put a 7 day hold on it. I said, "What, they never, ever hold our checks no matter how big they are." Of course because he was a black man, depositing a large check, they assumed right away there would be an issue. Needless to say I went to the bank and asked them why they held the check. They asked who deposited it and I told them my husband did, and then went on to describe him to the teller that originally helped him. The teller turned red, apologized, and said, "Oh, he should have just told us he was your husband and we wouldn't have held it." Wow, really!? Black man, large check....better hold it, white woman, business owner, go ahead and cash it....."subtle racism." Another time, my husband was making a delivery for our store and he was driving my car that had the business magnets with the store name and address on the car. He was only a few blocks from our house as the delivery was in our neighborhood. There was a women at a stop light that rolled down her window and yelled at him to slow down in "her neighborhood!" Yes, she actually said "her neighborhood!" Of course she assumed he was an employee/delivery driver vs. one of the owners, and he couldn't possibly live in "HER neighborhood." Again, "subtle racism." Then there are always the elevator stories. I am sure there are "bazillions" of black men that can relate. One time Jamie was on an elevator and a white woman was waiting to get on the elevator going to the next floor. When the doors opened and she saw Jamie she said she would just wait for the next one! Wow, wow, wow! Now if you asked her if she was racist, I am sure she would tell you no, but talk about "subtle racism" at it's best! You know exactly what she was thinking.....large "scary" black man on the elevator, something might happen to me if I get on there with him! First of all, don't flatter yourself, second of all, if she only knew what a teddy bear he truly is she would have run onto the elevator with open arms! Okay I am being a little dramatic....but you get my point. "Subtle racism" is just racism wrapped in a pretty little bow called "justification."
CPT time...some of you might be asking what this stands for. I learned this phrase from my husband and his family.....it's short for, "colored people time." I know, it sounds totally, politically incorrect, but that's what it stands for! Really! What does it mean you ask? In short, it means they are always late! Some of my husband's friends and family might be 15 minutes or a half hour late, but there are some of them that are up to 2 hours late to almost every event! You know who you are. =) The trick is to tell them the party starts at 5:00 when it really starts at 7:00. Shhh, don't say anything! I was raised by a former military man, so you were expected to be on time for everything! Consequently, it is one of my biggest pet peeves when people are late, so you can imagine how "CPT time" drives me insane! Initially, when most everyone was late to our various get-togethers, I took offense. My husband would always say, "They are on CPT time, it's nothing against you." I would then say, "I don't care what time they are on, they're late, that's rude, and you have to be kidding me about this so called "CPT time!?" He said, "No, I am not kidding at all, it really is a "time frame" (at least a cultural one). This is something that took YEARS for me to get used to. In fact it has only been recently that I just let it go and said, "They will get here when they get here, regardless of how late they are." It's kind of freeing to let it go! On the flip side, I drive Jamie CRAZY because we are ALWAYS first to the party! It's ingrained in my brain to be on time! For the family members that ARE notoriously late...they get to bring dessert to the party. "CPT time" or not, this way we don't all go hungry, because dessert is always eaten last! =)
My last post was, "She's Just a Fad," so I thought it was a fitting segue for this post to be,"He's too Ghetto." I heard it once, I heard it twice, I heard it multiple times...."He's too ghetto for you." Wow....how does one decide that for someone? Yes, Jamie and I grew up in very different worlds, and yes, we are different races, but does that automatically mean that we are not meant to be together? The funny thing is I didn't just hear this from my white "friends," I also heard it from black "friends" as well. Notice the quotes around friends. =) Over and over I would say, "Can't you just be excited for me that I found someone who makes me happy?" Simply because Jamie was from the "hood" and I was from "the other side of the tracks" everyone assumed it wouldn't work. We still hear it to this day......people are constantly saying, "How on earth did you two get together?!" The funny thing is, the beauty of why we DO work, is BECAUSE we come from two different worlds. We both bring so many different things to the relationship that the other person didn't have before, it makes the balance beautiful! It's all about coming to the middle. We have taught each other so much, and because we truly appreciate where we both came from, we have taken bits of both of our lives to build this life. If we had listened to all of the naysayers along the way, we would have split up a long time ago. Instead, we listened to our hearts, and now we continue to grow and learn from each other as the marriage and the years go on.
When Jamie and I started dating in 1992, one of the many things that people told Jamie was, "It's the thing to date white women right now, but you'll get over it, it won't last, she's just a fad." Well, 17 years later here we are! Hmmm, I think it has lasted, and I would venture a guess that I am definitely not a fad! =) Why is it that just because I am white and Jamie is black people assumed I was a fad? They thought I was "something" he had to "get out of his system" so to speak. We were, and still are together because of the love we have for each other. What people seem to forget is, we are all "trying each other out" when we first meet and start dating. It doesn't matter what your race is......everyone is getting to know everyone at first. It was no different for us. We met, we became friends, we enjoyed each other's company, we fell in love, we realized we wanted to spend the rest of our lives together, we got married, and we had a family. Sound familiar? That is what we all go through right? We didn't take that path because I am white and he is black....we took it because that is the natural progression of two people in love. People.....that's us....just two people in love. =)
Today it seems appropriate to write about music since we just lost one of the most amazing talents of our time....Michael Jackson. My last post, being about identity crisis might have actually been a fitting one for him. Somewhere along the way, in the madness of uber celebrity, MJ got lost, and it seems, just didn't know who he truly was anymore. But even with all of the change and metamorphosis the music always remained. "The Many Shades of Love" rings so true when it came to MJ's music. Whether we were raised in the 70's, 80's, 90's or even the 2000's we all knew him and listened to his music. Is there anyone out there that didn't? It didn't matter if we were black, white, brown, listened to country, rap, rock, or r & b, he crossed all racial lines, all age lines, all religious lines, and all musical genre lines, simply because of his talent. How amazing that one man could bring so much to so many just through music. If we can all come together through music, why then can't we just come together in life. Think about it.
Today when I woke up I was trying to decide what I was going to write about. I actually have a journal with a list of all sorts of events that have happened throughout the time that my husband and I have been together and I refer to that frequently when I need ideas for my blog. However, lately it seems that I don't need to look at the journal at all because something always comes up that I can write about, as was the case earlier today. This morning Tatiana and her cousin Alonzo were in the kitchen making breakfast. As teenagers do, they were making fun of each other. Back and forth with the "digs" they went, I just listened and laughed and enjoyed my cup of coffee. =) One of the comments that her cousin made was, "Whatever, you have an identity crisis, you don't know what you are, are you black, are you white, neither, you are yellow like that piece of paper over there." Seriously, this was actually what he said! Let me clarify before I go on....the conversation and the tone were truly all in fun because you know if it wasn't I would have stopped it then and there. However as it turned out I didn't need to worry at all because Tatiana stopped him and said, "Not even, you have got the wroooong person, I am the last person with an identity crisis, I know exactly who I am!" Once again I just listened and then I told her I was proud of her. She DOES know exactly who she is, and she is so strong in that conviction, I just love it! We have raised her to love ALL of who she is, and to embrace her diversity. Teenagers have enough issues on their minds that the last thing I want Tat to have deal with is an identity crisis. Thank goodness there is NO question in her mind as to who she is! We all want that for our children don't we? Know matter what "mix" they are, we all just want them to be happy, strong, loving, kind, independent individuals.....well, so far, so good. =)
To my Dad and to my Husband....today is dedicated to you! Two men that couldn't be more different if they tried. =) Dad, my amazing Dad, thank you for giving me my strength, my work ethic, and all of your support throughout the years, especially the last two!! Jamie, what can I say....thank you for your love, your friendship, your amazing support and understanding and most of all, for being such a wonderful Father to our beautiful daughter! You two men rock!!! Happy Father's Day! I love you both with all my heart!! Amy
It's funny, when my husband and I are together, whether in a restaurant, standing in line somewhere, even at a hospital, people aren't quite sure if we are a couple. Most recently I was in the emergency room (that's another crazy story for another day) and we were waiting for the doctor. When he finally came in and introduced himself he shook my hand and then looked at Jamie, shook his hand and said, "You are?".......long pause.......I finally finished his sentence and said, "Husband." He said, "You just never know these days." Yeah right! We all know if Jamie had been white the doctor would have automatically assumed he was my husband, but since he was black he just didn't go there. Funny don't you think!? The same thing happens to us in restaurants when we are waiting for a table. Unless we are holding hands or wrapped around each other, which we try not to do in public, =) it's always, "Oh, you're together?" Really, is this such a shock....this is southern Cali for goodness sake! One of the more comical "Oh, you're together" moments was when I was having surgery years ago. I was waking up post surgery and was asking for my husband. I wanted him by my side, and he also had my glasses and I couldn't see a darn thing! No contact lenses during surgery. =( The nurse said she checked the family waiting room and he wasn't there. I knew he was because he would make sure he was there when I woke up. That is just the kind of guy he is. I asked her to check again. She did, and she then went on to describe who was in the room and once again she was determined that he was not there. Well guess what "nurse ratchet," the black man in the waiting room is my husband! She didn't even ask him if he was with me! Imagine!? I finally had my hubby back by my side AND I could see again too! Let's hope the nurse's eyes were opened just a little wider that day as well!
Family, our beautiful, wonderful, melting pot of a family. Blending two backgrounds can be as easy as 1, 2, 3 or there can be many challenges. One of the hurdles to overcome when two people from different races decide to get married is family acceptance, or actually lack thereof. There is the old school generation that just doesn't believe in interracial marriage, and there is the new school generation that thinks it's selling out. Unfortunately we had to deal with both. However, instead of dwelling on what other people thought about us we just moved forward and lived our lives in love. If they wanted to take the ride with us, fantastic, come along, but if not, we had to keep on "riding!" As our love and commitment grew so did the acceptance from everyone else. When people see that you are truly with someone because of the love you have for that person and not for the color of their skin, or anything else for that matter, all of the other "stuff" just seems to float away. I feel so blessed to be in a family that is so diverse. We are all unique and we continue to learn from each other every single day. I am happy to say that today we are an amazing group of very different people that all love each other very much. It didn't happen overnight and it wasn't always easy, but with a lot of work and understanding, we did it! So here's to family....our differences, our similarities, and our love for each other!
It's that time of year again.....barbecue time! Yesterday we had our first family barbecue of the Summer. Barbecues with my husband and his family have always been such a fun production, and so different from the barbecues I grew up with! One of Tatiana's friends that was joining us was so excited to be coming over, she said, "Oh I can't wait, my first "black" barbecue!" She happens to be Hispanic. I thought that was so funny that she categorized our barbecue as a "black barbecue." She just knew the food and the experience would be totally different than the barbecues she has with her family and she was genuinely excited. One of our other guests made the comment, "How many people are coming over, you have enough food for an army?" Tatiana then proceeded to tell her, "We're black, we always cook way too much food!" I said, "Hello, what about me?!" Then my daughter says, "Mama, you are the blackest white person I know. You must have been black in a former life." I just laughed because it truly doesn't matter and that is what I love! We are a melting pot of a family and a melting pot of friends and I treasure that more each day. Okay, I got off track, sorry....back to the barbecue........the food, ooohhh the food! There is always a never-ending flow of food, and delicious is an understatement! Ribs, steaks, burgers, hot links, hot dogs, chicken, hamburgers, baked mac n cheese, potato salad, baked beans, greens, cheese pie, and more! The cooking goes on and on and on, and people come and go all day long! Then when the eating is done, it's game time. Cards, domino's, board games, sometimes all of them are going at once.....a group here, a group there. After all is said and done, day has gone into night, and it is time for everyone to go home, then it's make a plate time! Everyone takes a little bit of everything and some people even bring their own Tupperware to take food home in! It's not rude, it's just the way it is! That was one of the many things for me that took some getting used to! Who brings Tupperware to someone else's barbecue? Apparently everyone! Family is family....you share in the eating, the fun AND the leftovers! Good times always had by all and stomachs always waayyy too full! Until next time. =)
Back in 2000 Jamie and I bought a nice little convertible for me to drive. I loved it when we bought it, and felt it was just perfect the way it was. However, Jamie said it wasn't complete until it had rims on it. I told him, "Really, what do I need with rims!?" I could care less whether my car had rims, in fact I thought it was pretty silly and a total waste of money. I told him whatever, as long as it didn't look "pimped" out. =) He laughed! Well, one weekend Jamie took my car out and about and low and behold my car came home accessorized.....with rims! This time, I laughed! He said he just couldn't have me driving around without them on the car! You would have thought I was driving around naked! =) For some reason rims on a car are a staple in a black man's repertoire. It's a must! Well, the following Monday I went to work and was sitting at my desk and one of the guys that worked at the company came in to say hi. I think his exact words were, "Oooh, Amy is rollin' on dubs, nice!" Okay, first of all the fact that comment was even directed at me is comedy, and second of all the fact I knew what he meant is even funnier! This co-worker just so happened to be a black male as well, so of course he truly appreciated the rims! I never thought I would see the day when I would be told I was "rollin' on dubs!!! Now the funny thing is, when I am looking at cars I notice whether or not they have "pimped out" rims, and if they don't, now I think they look naked! Maybe my next car will be rollin' on 24's! =) Who knows!?
Okay, you carry someone for nine months, you have 20+ hours of labor, and you raise them their entire life (14 1/2 years so far)......but nobody thinks you are that child's Mother!? What's up with that?! Where is this coming from you ask? Once again someone is shocked to find out Tatiana is half white and that I am her Mom. We were driving to school the other day and one of her schoolmates was walking down the street. I waved even though I didn't know her, because of course it's my job to embarrass my child...oh, it's not.....don't tell her that! Well, anyway, when Tatiana ran into that same classmate later in the day she asked Tat who she was in the car with on the way to school. Tatiana said, "My Mom, silly." The girl said, "What?! You are white?!! Oh my God, I had no idea!" You would have thought she found out Tatiana had two heads or something...shock and awe! When Tatiana was telling me the story she said, "Sorry Mama, once again you are left out!" It's so funny to me that this keeps coming up, and even funnier that people are continually shocked to find out Tatiana is half white. It's like I am this big surprise when they meet me for the first time! Now, on the other hand, when she is out and about with her Dad and I'm not there, nobody ever questions whether or not she is black. Never, ever, have I heard someone say, "What!? You are black!? I had no idea!" OMG! It doesn't even phase me anymore because I am so used to it, but sometimes I do get a little irritated by it and I have to say something. The other day we were at the community pool and I had to go sign in Tatiana and her friends so they could go swimming. The security guard asked which of the kids was my child. I pointed to Tatiana, and then he looked at me with an attitude like I was lying to him! He said, "She is your daughter?" I just looked at him and said, "Yes, her Dad is black!" Well then he said, "Oh, oh, well you didn't have to tell me that." Well apparently I did because he didn't believe I was signing my own child in. So after that the kids went off to swim, and the guard went off to sensitivity training. Okay, not really, but maybe he should have! So, it's no surprise that I will continue to be, "the big surprise," but as long as you are kind about it, I will just smile and say, "Yes, I really am her Mom!"
Why do I write this blog? There are many reasons, and they have become ever more apparent as the days go on. When I started thinking about writing I had no intention of writing about interracial marriage. My husband knew I wanted to write and he suggested that I start a blog about that topic. My mind was elsewhere. I was going to write a book about all of the things that we have gone through as a family in the last two years. We were living a very different life just two short years ago. We were running a two family business and living the American Dream. We had a beautiful Candy Bouquet/Gift Store for four wonderful years. Two years ago we found out that instead of our building receiving drinking water we were actually receiving reclaimed sewer water! Needless to say the media onslaught began and the customers ran far, far away. We finally figured out why we were all sick, and our store sadly had to close because customers just did not want to come back. Who can blame them? We are now living in the mess of the legal system and the destruction of our dream that we worked so hard to build. However, while everything else has fallen apart around us, our marriage has continued to grow. It has not been easy and each day in this legal nightmare we are living we struggle to make sense of it all. Without going into all of the negative detail, I was going to write about the injustice that the innocent parties go through, but instead here I am writing about my experiences in an interracial marriage. I am happy to be focused on something else and thrilled to see what is transpiring from this blog. I have had so much wonderful feedback from family, friends, and even strangers who are now becoming friends because of this blog. So from bad, comes a little good, from lemons, comes a little lemonade. I don't know where this will lead, but for now I am just enjoying the writing and all it is bringing. It's funny because when you take the vows that say, "through good times and bad" and "for better or worse" it's easy to say, but not always easy to live. It's a piece of cake to make it through the good times, but if you can make it through the bad, and I mean really, really bad....you can make it through anything! That is what the core of this blog is about. Some days my stories will be fun and silly, and some days my stories will be deep and inspirational, just like life. I don't profess to be an expert on interracial marriage or marriage in general, but after sixteen years I have a lot to share and a lot to give. =) So whether you are reading this blog because you too are in a mixed race marriage and can totally relate, or you're reading it because marriage is marriage, I hope each of you gets something from this little piece of me that inspires you. Enjoy, and thank you for taking the time to stop by and read The Many Shades of Love, and remember you can get through most anything if you work together!
This post actually came to mind because just the other day one of my friend's posted a comment from her granddaughter on Facebook. Her granddaughter asked her what she "was." Grandma said, "You are a girl" honey. Her 3 year old granddaughter laughed and said, "No, am I black or white?" Her granddaughter happens to be black, white, and Mexican, so she proceeded to explain this to her. How interesting that a 3 year old already notices that her skin color is different from Mom and Dad's. The great thing is, by having these open discussions about being multi-racial it just becomes a fact, like saying the sky is blue. It just is blue, and she just is multi-racial. I have never understood racism. To this day, and after all I have gone through with my husband and daughter in regards to racism, (I could write a book on that alone) I still don't get it. How do you choose to hate someone based solely on the color of their skin? Did they do something horrible to you? Do they treat others badly? Where does this hate come from? If someone commits a crime against you and they happen to be black, are you angry at that person because they are black? No, you are angry because of what they did to you, not because of the color of their skin. If every child, that was born to every parent, starting today, was taught to like or dislike someone for the person they are vs. the color of their skin, racism would be erased. Just like that. Nobody is born a bigot...racism is taught.
Church.....Religion.....Sprirituality.......they all have different meanings depending on how we grew up. I grew up in the Lutheran Church and my husband grew up in the Baptist Church. We are raising our daughter on the other hand not in any particular church but as a Christian. We are also raising her to be open and respectful of ALL religions and to always be willing to think outside the box. =) One of the joys of being in a racially mixed marriage is sharing and experiencing all of the differences on both sides. "Black churches" and "white churches" could not be any more different. (I don't like distinguishing them like that, but for the purpose of this post I need to.) White churches in my experience, are quiet, prayerful, and pretty conservative. Black churches are the exact opposite. I remember the first time I went to a predominately black church, I was amazed. The singing, the clapping, the holy ghost, it was wild...to me at least! At first I thought, this is not how you act in church, and then I realized, this is pretty cool! Talk about praising God! Do it out loud and do it proud! Not that we aren't feeling the same thing in the predominately white churches, but it just feels so good to shout it out. Don't even get me started with the differences in the clothes! Ohhhh the hats in the black churches....fantastic! I just can't express how much I love the fact that we can teach our daughter the best of all worlds so she can pass that on to her kids, and so on, and so on. Whether you are Baptist, Lutheran, Catholic, Jewish, Muslim, etc., one day if we all accept and respect each other for whatever religion we practice, whatever race we are, and whatever our differing beliefs might be, then maybe, just maybe there will be no wars, no racism, and no hate. It's so simple, so why do we make it so hard? Call me Tinkerbell, but miracles can happen, right?