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! =)
Sunday, November 15, 2009
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. =)
Thursday, November 5, 2009
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!