Saturday, March 26, 2011

Racism at home and in the wake of Japan's disaster

As a white middle-class mom I won’t see racism the same way my son sees it. No one will ever make “chink eyes” at me (oh, I take that back, someone did) or say an offensive joke about white, single middle-class moms. No one will talk slower and louder to me or ask if I speak English. No one is going to ask to see my birth certificate or proof of citizenship. But I am a not so silent witness to what is happening. Our nation has a long history of ostracizing various ethnic and minority groups. In my parent’s lifetime it was the 1960’s civil rights moment that finally gave rights to African Americans. In my lifetime it was letting gays and lesbians out of the proverbial closet. Maybe in my son’s lifetime any person of any skin color will be able to walk down the street and not worry about the police stopping and asking for proof of citizenship.

In my state, in the very state of my birth and the state that signed my son’s birth certificate, a new bill is being presented to the Indiana Congress that would allow police to detain anyone they suspect is an illegal immigrant. What does an illegal immigrant look like?

Does this guy look like an American? He’s not, but his parents wereSmile. He served in WWII and has lived here for nearly 100 years. Now he is facing deportation and a loss of his Social Security benefits.


Is this the face of an American? IMG_7604

(yes, I realize eating junk food does not make you an American, but honestly, how cute is this picture from the Holidays?)

This immigration bill frightens me. Please check out this website for more information: I don’t want to have to hold my son’s hand tighter each time I see a police car go by. I don’t want to lecture him about the dangers of drinking AND being outside while Asian. I don’t want to have to worry about all the rednecks that are out there that might call the police if they don’t like the way he looks.

The dual tragedies in Japan has brought out a new face of racism, but unlike previous disasters people of all walks of life, even famous people that should know better, have piped up to say this is punishment for Pearl Harbor and other war related atrocities. Really? I really thought we got them back when we bombed the hell out of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The fact that they have been strong allies and have not committed any further atrocities speaks to their commitment to peace.

Please check out this post over at Disgrasian and don’t forget to listen to the audio clips. It’s mind blowing what people feel comfortable saying in front of a microphone or in 140 word tweets.

But this little goody may just be my favorite:

And this awesome response:

Friday, March 18, 2011

Alternate Universe

Before I became a mother every one would very knowingly say, “your life is going change” to which I internally responded with ‘well, duh”.

I expected a certain amount of transition—how could I not? I was going from SWF to table for one and a half. Some of the changes were sudden and some were gradual. The first thing I noticed was a fatigue that settled deep into my bones that was not relieved with any amount of sleep. I didn’t really recognize it for what it was until talking to another new adoptive parent who complained she was tired all the time despite the fact that her daughter slept beautifully all night long. It was responsibility. It was knowing that I was the ONLY parent for this child and that my life suddenly had a bigger meaning. My life no longer belonged to just me. While our parents teach us to fly a child ties us to this world. I had never felt so deeply rooted in this world, to this life. Before Duc there was always the chance of escape. Always the wanderer, anytime life felt boring, overwhelming, whatever, I knew I could run. I could pack up my few belongings and hit the road. To be honest, it was that probability that got me through many difficult days at work. I feel tied, but not necessarily tied down. Now, when I picture my escape I see Duc and I sitting on a beach watching the sun set on the Pacific (but to be honest I rarely ever think of escape anymore). IMG_7894

Certain things that I had once enjoyed no longer interested me. Hot new guy on TV or on the street—nothing. Barely even a pitter patter. There was a time I deeply longed to be married, but I now find myself at peace and sometimes even grateful for being single. Duc keeps me so busy that the only time I wish I had a husband is when I am sick or exhausted or days when he just wears me out through his sheer physicality.

I haven’t worn a dress or high heels since I became a mother. I am more interested in comfortable shoes that allow me to dart after him and breathable cotton that won’t make me hot when he falls asleep on me or when I have to carry his 30+ lbs. through a mall because he won’t walk. Dry clean only clothes are a waste of time. It has only been the last few months that I have made it to work without snot or cereal smeared across one or both or my breasts.

IMG_7892 1

I can’t stand watching shows or movies that show acts of violence against women or children (sorry, men). I nearly vomited the last time I tried watching “Criminal Intent”. it’s too close to home. I can remember trying to watch the Liam Neeson film “Taken” shortly after Duc came home. I was so anxious I paced the floors and had to keep pausing the movie so my heart would stop racing (yeah, I could have turned it off, but that goes against my nature to finish everything I start).


And where these desires waned, new ones took root.

Before Duc I didn’t spend much time at home. Now I am home every night by 7 pm (6 pm is the witching hour where tantrums are more likely to occur). I’ve had a chance to evaluate my surroundings and realized it no longer matched our lifestyle. I’m obsessed with HGTV and all things relating to home decorating or renovating. I have little money, time or energy to take on new projects, but I have.

I’ve started building.



Became this…



(just to clarify, that is only dust and cat hair on the edge of the bed from being moved from the living room to his bedroom—I wiped it off right after I noticed it on the picture!).

After two years of sleeping in a pack ‘n play my baby now sleeps on a bed with a mattress—and no rails! He has had his bed for exactly one month today and everyday he shouts “I like my new BED!”. We store toys, books, out of season clothes in the cubbies below the mattress. For a small house it has really worked out well.

When I shared the photos with my boss the only thing she said is “why would you want to do that (build the bed)?”.

Honestly, I don’t have a great answer other than wanting to pass on something tangible to my son. Something that that his son or daughter will some day sleep in. For two months he has bragged to people that “mommy built my bed!” and I hope he will always feel that way. My dad built me a bookshelf when I wasn’t much older than Duc and even though it is a rather odd looking bookshelf (sorry Dad!) I won’t part with it. It is now in Duc’s room.

As a single parent I think more about sustainability than I did when it was just me. I want to know how to build my own furniture (please see for easy to follow plans—they are amazing). I am more interested in growing our own food and even if I am not as concerned about what I am consuming, I want the food he eats to make his body healthy and strong. Last weekend Duc assisted with building another raised bed for a cold garden (spring veg). He is going to have his own raised bed and has already chosen pumpkins and watermelons as his crop for the summer.

As we are entering Spring I will probably try to tackle new projects around the house and I will also try to document the process to share with all of you (that being the 7 people that still read this blogSmile).

If you are curious about anything please feel free to ask.


About This Blog

This started as my story, but has evolved to OUR story. This is the story of life as a single parent to a wonderful little boy while we wait for baby sister. China LID 2.12.07.

But these things I plan won't happen right away. Slowly, steadily, surely, the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled. If it seems slow, be patient! For it will surely take place. It will not be late by a single day.
Habakkuk 2:3

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