I Choose Love

I have been thinking a lot about the current state of affairs in this country, and I find the hatred and unrest surrounding it all so upsetting. There are people I love and care about very much who remain on opposing sides of many issues. They have their opinions and beliefs and I have my own. However, I don’t love or respect them any less because we don’t see eye-to-eye. They have their reasons for their beliefs and I have my own.

The thing that really bothers me about all of this is the fact that some people only seem to care about being right. There have been so many arguments and debates over whose principles and beliefs reign supreme and why all members of the opposing sides are horrible and deserve to be made fools of or completely cut from one’s life. Yes, there are definitely instances in which the cutting of ties is absolutely the answer, but this is certainly not the case in every situation.

Call me naïve or a bleeding heart, but none of this is about being right for me. It’s about loving your neighbor—regardless of race, gender, religion, orientation, socioeconomic status, political beliefs, etc. It’s about being kind and loving and opening your heart to others and accepting them and loving them for who they are.

You want to talk about God? I don’t know about yours, but my God is a loving and righteous God who walks with His sons and daughters and carries us through our struggles and supports us as we bear our burdens. He is a God who loves everyone, regardless of our perceived sins and shortcomings. He is a God who kneels and washes the feet of the poor and suffering, who takes His sons and daughters into His arms without question, and loves freely and openly and without the need to judge or discriminate.

My family has been perceived as different for as long as I can remember. When I registered my oldest son for school, the school system forced me to choose one of his races over the other—nonchalantly forcing his own mother to strip him of half of his racial identity without concern of the implications of doing so. I can’t remember a time when we have walked into a store and not felt the burning glares and distain for our mixed family from older Asian men and women who obviously feel I have somehow disgraced their culture because I married outside of my race and created tiny humans whose blood is not purely Asian. I have had numerous racial slurs flung at me throughout my life. These experiences could easily be perceived as reason enough to hate, but that is not who I am and that certainly was not the way I was raised.

The monumental ruling to allow all couples of legal age to marry in all 50 states matters to me as a straight ally, as a wife, and as a mom. It matters to me because I was allowed to marry the love of my life over 12 years ago and I cannot imagine a life without him as my partner, my other half, and father of my children—both in love and in law. As someone who was legally allowed to marry her partner, I cannot imagine the pain of loving someone so much and wanting to spend the rest of your life with them, and being legally banned from being able to do so.

I have so many dreams for my sons. I have no way of knowing who they will be when they grow up or who they will choose to love. I will love them regardless of whether or not they attend college or achieve their perceived successes in life. I will love them if they are gay and I will love them if they are straight. And, because of this monumental ruling, I will be able to dance with them at their weddings regardless of whom they choose as life partners and where they choose to live.

I will continue to remain unshaken in my belief that all people matter. No religion or law will dictate how I choose to treat others. I will never claim to easily or always love or embrace others or treat others with kindness. Doing so will always be both a struggle and a conscious choice. But, regardless of my spiritual or political beliefs, I will always try to choose love. I will always try to choose kindness. And, I will always try to choose what I feel in my heart is right.

Hate builds mountains. Love moves them. Choose love.

A Non-Soccer Fanatic’s Guide to Surviving the World Cup with a Soccer-Crazed Partner

It has been 12 years since my introduction to the World Cup, and with 11.5 years of marriage, two kids, and three World Cups under my belt, I’d like to think I’ve learned a thing or two along the way! Thought I’d share these little survival tidbits with y’all!

10. A World Cup game will take precedence over “Spongebob” or “Sofia the First” on your DVR. This is a good time to teach your kids that “life is not fair”.

9. Know when the games are—especially the big games—’cuz the only place your partner’s butt will be during those games is on the couch. I mean, your cousin will get married again someday, right?

8. Cross your fingers for good weather, ‘cuz if your DirecTV/Dish/Comcast goes out during the game, you may witness your partner regress into a two-year-old before your eyes. Yes, that may involve tantrums and thumb-sucking and an occasional diaper change.

7. Make sure your electric and DirecTV/Dish/Comcast bills are paid for the month (make it two months), ‘cuz #8 ain’t pretty. You’ve been warned.

6. Regardless of how good or hands-on of a parent your partner is, the rule of thumb during a game is “Children should not be seen nor heard”. Seriously. If you don’t want them picking up some very colorful language or tearing off their shirts while running around and yelling “Gooooooooooooooooooooool!!!!!!!” in the middle of the Target aisle, keep them far, far away.

5. The World Cup doesn’t care if you were about to find out who won Wheel of Fortune or who got blown up on “24”. Your partner doesn’t care either, as that channel is a-changin’ at game time!

4. If you need to ask your partner a question during game time, make sure you wait until a commercial. Even then, you may want to ask while hiding yourself behind the couch. Cookie sheets and your kid’s Captain America shield will come in extremely handy during this time, too.

3. I don’t care what the ref says—your partner’s call is always right. Never side with the ref unless your partner agrees with the call. If you mistakenly side with the ref, make sure you have a cookie sheet or Captain America shield nearby, ‘cuz looks can kill during World Cup time. For reals.

2. Your partner’s vocabulary during the World Cup may consist only of grunts, groans, “Woo-hoo!!!!!”, “Yessssssss!!!!”, “Gooooolllllllllllllll!!!!!!”, and other noises known only to cave people. Learn the language and learn it well. Oh, and your partner’s silence during a game is no bueno. You’ll quickly learn when to retreat or duck and cover.

1. Keep your partner well-hydrated and well-fed during game time. Finger food is a must. Be sure to have Domino’s/Jimmy Johns/Grubhub/BiteSquad bookmarked on your computer and their numbers programmed into your phone. They will become your best friends. Family meals at the table aren’t happenin’, so don’t bother with that fancy schmancy meal you had planned. Oh, and be prepared to part with your couch every four years, ‘cuz between the food and perma-buttcheek imprints, your couch probably will have seen better days.

Consider yourself warned. May the soccer gods be ever in your favor.

Why I Am Voting NO

Since 1997, a statute has been in place in Minnesota that bans gay and lesbian couples from marrying. In May of 2011, a proposed amendment was introduced that would put into place a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage in the state of Minnesota. Tomorrow, November 6, 2012, Minnesotans will vote on whether or not they believe this proposed amendment should be included in our state constitution.

I am not asking, nor will I ask you, to vote for a specific candidate. But, regardless of your race, gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, political party, or religious beliefs, I urge you to vote NO to the proposed marriage amendment.

For those of you who are married, I ask you to think of your partner and the love you share and imagine what your life would have been like had you not been allowed to marry. Imagine what your life would have been like had your union not been legally recognized. Imagine the implications it would have on your family, on your finances…on your children.

As a legally married couple, you are allowed to obtain health insurance through your partner. You are allowed to make medical decisions for your partner, in the event that he or she is unable to make those decisions for his or herself. Your partner is legally entitled to Social Security benefits, access to retirement savings, family leave, tax benefits, etc. If you have biological children, you and your partner are both legally recognized as their parents without the need for one partner having to adopt to make the guardianship legal. Same-sex couples currently do not have a legal right to any of these benefits in the state of Minnesota.

As someone who was legally allowed to marry her partner, I cannot imagine the pain of loving someone so much and wanting to spend the rest of your life with him or her, and being legally banned from being able to do so. My husband and I are an interracial couple, and our children are biracial, but we can walk down the street without feeling shame with regard to the makeup of our family. In terms of social norms, our family doesn’t fit into that perfect mold, but we are somehow accepted because my husband is a man and I am a woman. Same-sex couples deserve the right to feel accepted, and they deserve the right to not feel shame with regard to the partner with whom they have chosen to share their life, their love, and their home.

I think of my children and the dreams I have for them. I have no way of knowing who they will be when they grow up, or who they will choose as a life partner. I will love them regardless of whether or not they attend college or become successful in life. I will love them if they are gay and I will love them if they are straight. If one or both of my sons tells me that they are gay, simply by voting no to the marriage amendment tomorrow, I will be able to look them in the eye and tell them that I did my part in supporting a movement that will one day allow them to legally marry their life partner, regardless of whether their partner is a man or a woman. I will be there, and I will support my sons and the choices they make because I love them.

I was raised Catholic, and I have chosen to raise my children in the religion as well. I wholeheartedly agree with some preachings of the church, and I wholeheartedly disagree with others. I love God, and I love Jesus, but I also love my LGBT family members and friends. I refuse to allow my religious beliefs to dictate whether or not I am allowed to love and support my family members and friends and the amazing people I believe they were created to be.

It’s difficult to know whether or not the state of Minnesota will ever legally recognize same-sex unions. My hope is that it will one day become a reality. I do know that I absolutely refuse to support an amendment that would limit the freedom of same-sex couples to marry. You don’t have to necessarily agree with same-sex marriage to vote NO. If there is any part of you—no matter how small, or insignificant it may seem—that feels that it is wrong to keep two people who love each other and wish to spend the rest of their lives together from doing so, then I implore you to vote NO to the marriage amendment.

I am a Catholic, and I am voting NO. I am in a heterosexual marriage, and I am voting NO. I am a parent, and I am voting NO. I ask you to join me tomorrow, November 6, 2012, in voting NO to the proposed marriage amendment, and help Minnesota move one step closer to equality for all couples and all families.

UPDATE: With great pride and love for my fellow Minnesotans, I would like to announce that we CRUSHED the proposed marriage amendment!!

Ode to the Hubster

We live in a world that tends to be pretty rough on men when it comes to relationships. Sure, they can be clueless at times, but everyone has their moments, regardless of their gender. I know I’ve certainly had my share of them! You’ll read a lot about my kids in future posts, but I wanted to dedicate this one to my husband.

My husband and I were 22 and 20, respectively, when we married almost 10 years ago. We had been engaged for almost a year-and-a-half and planned to marry when we both finished college, but a surprise little one on the way sped up the process a bit! I was just over 6-months pregnant the day we made the promise to always love and be there for each other through the good times and the bad. We were not only making that promise to each other, but also to the little one in my tummy (and to our future little ones) who would change our lives forever.

Marriage is not easy by any means. If someone tells you anything different, they are lying through their teeth! It takes work, and it is chock-full of ups and downs. My husband and I have had a lot of good days, but we have also had days when we’ve had to say, “I love you, but I just don’t like you right now.” And that’s okay!

I am not an easy person to be married to—not by any means. I came with adoption-related issues up the wazoo. I have chronic health issues. When I was on prednisone, I would eat everything in sight and I was mean. I hated who I was while on that medication. It was horrible, and I was horrible, but my husband stuck by me through it all. He didn’t necessarily like me that much during that period of time, but, by golly, he was there for me!

I deal with depression that rears its ugly head from time-to-time. It appears out of the blue, and there’s not always an explanation for it, but my husband always just knows to hug me a little tighter and a little longer when it happens. I am a very sensitive person, so when I’m having a rough day where I’m angry or frustrated or feeling bad about something, he is my voice of reason and my source of comfort. He has taken everything I have thrown at him in stride.

He tells me I’m beautiful, even when I look like death and haven’t showered in days. He brings home Sprite and saltine crackers when I’m not feeling well (which is often). He makes me laugh. He takes the kids to a movie or to go play when he knows I need a break. He is an amazing father. He is the good cop to my bad cop (and vice-versa!). He is my partner in crime. He is a truly good person, and I feel so incredibly blessed to have him in my life.