Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Knock on Wood.....

The other day I was at Starbucks with a friend of mine. I call her my "Starbucks Homie" because that is the only place we ever see each other. Ever. We get together about once a month and sit there for hours, and I mean hours, catching up on all that happened in our lives the previous month.

As always, some pretty intense subjects come up.  At some point in the conversation she was telling me about a friend of hers that had been ill and had recently passed away. This friend, unfortunately, did not leave a will. Long story short, it's going to be a mess because there is an ex wife, a new wife, children, property and so on. After she finished her story about her friend, we started talking about our own wills, or actually lack thereof. Both of us were not concerned about the "stuff," our only concern was our kids. God forbid, what if something happened to both parents and there was no will? Who would take care of the kids? It's funny because we had similar concerns but also very different concerns. My friend and her hubby are both white and of course Jamie and I are black and white. One of my main concerns was that if anything (knock on wood) were to happen to both Jamie and I, I wouldn't want Tatiana to be raised in "white bread anywhere." All of my relatives happen to live in "white bread everywhere," so automatically unless they moved to So Cal...they are out. Then there is Jamie's family. The opposite of "white bread everywhere." What happens to her white side?  Do you see my conundrum?  So now that she is 16 and graduating a year early from high school, this isn't such an issue....knocking on more wood.....but through the years it was a worry. Mind you...we love all of our family members, but there is nobody that would be just right. Maybe I'm putting too much thought into this, but I want her to always live both sides of her "coin." We determined through much thought and many discussions that if anything had happened to both of us we would have had one of our interracial couple friends raise her. There are many reasons for that choice. The first one being that she would still live here and go to her own school. The second is, these people are like family to us. The third, she would get the cultural mix that is so important to us and to her. Lastly, she would not have to move away from all she knew. That is huge.  

So many of our friends are like family to us, so this doesn't seem strange at all. What's right for one fam might not be for the other. We have never fit into any kind of mold, so it's normal for us to think out of the box.  Clearly. 

It's weird writing about these things, in fact, it kind of freaks me out. Thankfully Tatiana is almost grown and we don't really have to worry about this anymore, because truly, how do you ever decide who is going to raise your child?  Black, white, mixed or otherwise.

Now I'm off to go knock on some more wood, big time!


Lynda Halliger-Otvos said...

My daughter is tri-racial with an eighth of Japanese tossed in with the usual black and white. Makes for an interesting slant to her eyes and some very tough choices during her youth. She’s 25 now and it is no longer an issue, but yes, we too did a lot of knocking on wood when she was growing up.

Anonymous said...

Interesting discussion. My sister and her husband always traveled to the same place separately unless all were together in the family. My sister and I were each others children's guardian. I also was for my sister-in-law on my ex's side. Even after we divorced it was still just me. They all assured me I would be rich if they died but also in a loony bin as I would have been responsible for 5 kids under 5 with my too being near teenage years. I knocked on a lot of wood and thankfully they are all over 21 now and fully able to take care of themselves. I see how difficult this is for a mixed couple but I am sure had it happened anyone would have raised Tatiana as best they could showing the greatness of both of you and your families.

Amy Wise said...

Lynda, I know it is a relief to not have to worry about that anymore. It's such a tough thing to think about but something that we must think about as parents. I love your daughter's mix! I'm sure she is a beauty! Thank you as always for reading and commenting! Hope all is well with you and your fam.

Madge, I have often heard of parents traveling on different flights. We have never done that because we have always flown with Tat or are on our own flying. I even think about that when we are in the car together and Tat is not with us. Knock on wood again! =) Bless your heart for agreeing to be "the one." You would have been a busy bee! And yes you are right, no matter who raised her we are blessed to be surrounded by love on both sides so all would be well no matter what. It's just so important that she is exposed to all cultures. She is old enough now to have her own vision and view but earlier it was such an issue. It's funny because we just had this convo in Palm Springs when we went w/ my Mom and Sis. We were talking about how "white" my Mom's city is. When we went to the movies last time we were visiting them in OR, Jamie, Tatiana and a Portland Trail Blazer were the only black people there! It was surreal. I kept thinking what's wrong with this picture. I'm so used to the Cali melting pot. Thankfully this is not much of a worry anymore but it is such a HUGE dilemma for parents and those that might be the responsible party after the fact. Hugs and love woman! A.

Nay K. said...

Good day, Amy & Jaime: I just read your "Knock on Wood" blog and you both are 100% right in your feelings about who would take care of your daughter, if she was younger. Both families would possible have some issues.

Living in an All Black household in an all black neighborhood, Tatiana would be missing out on half her heritage because as you and Jaime know that in this country, the racist label is still (1 drop of black blood) makes a person ONLY African American/Black regardless of if the person is clearly mixed and that is not fair to any bi-racial person or as your friend, Lynda Halliger-Otvos wrote so beautifully on this blog, “Tri-racial”.

The other side is also true, if she was living with your family in an all white neighborhood, she would miss out on her African American heritage and both sides are equally beautiful.

Therefore, Amy your sound and good judgement would be correct, if you or anyone in that situation needed to do that. This is why I am so thankful to God, and my parents that I grew up in a multi-racial neighborhood my whole childhood in Colorado.

Although, Denver and Aurora is my real home, but since living in Miami since 2005, I claim Miami (Little Cuba) as my residential home and that is why my heart is. Go Miami Heat, Willy Chirino & Gloria Estefan.

Amy Wise said...

Nay K

Thankfully this isn't something that is much of an issue anymore because to be honest it would be soooo difficult! Now if some of my family lived here then that would be a different story. We live in a very diverse area and family of course would be my first choice. However because they all live in areas that are not diverse and far away from all Tat knows they just were not an option. Ironically out of the 3 couples we would have chosen here. Only one remains. One has since moved to the East coast and one is now divorced. You just never know. Okay knocking on wood again! Have a great weekend!!! A.

Solrun said...

Hey Amy. This blog was very interasting. 4 years ago I was in Orlando to meet 2 of my best friend. I am the youngest of them all. I asked them have either of you think about how you are going to have your funeral. Both of them said No why it is to early to do so. I told them it is never to early I have already thought about mine and I have already told my family here and also my brothers at home. My friend the one who was closer to my age was like I am going to wait I am only 52 and its no rush. Well she died 2 years later with out letting anyone know how she wanted thing to be. About Tat. let her pick she is very smart girl and she know what she want. Thank God I don´t have to think about what will happend to Irene she have 3 Older sisters and I have so many family member back home. I think it does not matter where our daugthers go if something happen if you leave this earth. As long is your child is loved and let them know they are important in there life other things does not matter. I know Lost my mother at age 7 and from that age I raised my self. Everyone in the family was so busy they didn´t even know I was there. Love always Solrun

Amy Wise said...


I had no idea you lost your Mom so young. I'm so sorry. You have done a beautiful job raising your children and whoever you chose had you needed to would have done the same. Thank you for sharing about your Mom. My heart is with you. A.