I know parents who can’t wait for summer vacation.
“No more making lunches!” a mom of three rejoiced on the last day of school a few years ago.
“We’re totally sleeping in,” said the mom with twins.
Another mom chimed in with, “No nagging about homework for 2 whole months!”
There were moms who had vacations planned, or had already purchased season passes to Disneyland. They were as giddy as their kids about the end of school.
I was never one of those moms. I dreaded summer vacations. My only child NEVER slept past 6 AM. Baby D was a restless bundle of energy (and if you let it build up it would explode as destructively as possible). Continue reading Summer Vacation or Summer Purgatory (#324)
Compared to Mother’s Day, Father’s Day is pretty recent. It only exists because certain politicians got all whiny about how dads in America were bereft of recognition. Instead of self-soothing with their higher wages, or their ability to assault women with impunity, or their success despite white mediocrity, they demanded their very own holiday.
President Nixon signed Father’s Day into law in 1972. Yes, NIXON, the most corrupt U.S. President until Trump demanded Nixon hold his beer.
Mother’s Day, at best, says “thanks for all the unpaid emotional labor of child-rearing, please have this one day off.” Ironically, it often means more work for a person who is already overworked and underpaid.
Father’s Day? Father’s Day is ridiculous. We live in a damned patriarchy. Every day is Father’s Day. Continue reading Post Father’s Day Post (#323)
When you marry across cultures, there are bound to be a few differences.
Some differences are jarring at first—like my husband’s Chinese-American family openly discussing money. If you’re open-minded, however, you can learn to embrace coupons and brag about how much money you saved.
Other differences seem insurmountable, especially when much vaunted Western autonomy clashes with Asian filial piety. That’s when it’s important to distance yourself from the issue. I found that 3,000 miles proved effective. Mostly.
But every so often, a practice from another culture makes you say, “That’s brilliant! Why don’t we do that?!”
Like shoes. Continue reading Shoe In, Shoe Out (#317)
I am not a patient person. I was the kid in the car asking “Are we there yet?” every 10 minutes. My many siblings were equally impatient. Road trips were an endless chorus of questions about how long it was to the bathroom, restaurant, and destination.
Unsurprisingly, we didn’t go on many road trips.
My Chinese-American husband is patient (sadly, he grew up on Oahu, which is too small for road trips). I’m not sure if he’s naturally mellow, or if the tropical “hang loose” vibes worked on his personality the opposite way that the intense, political atmosphere of Washington, D.C. affected me.
Perhaps our different levels of patience exemplify the difference in our cultures. My Western mindset insists that I can control my destiny if I work, scheme, and worry enough. At the very least, maybe I can get someone incompetent fired if I document the crap out of his failings. But Andy doesn’t see the point; people are gonna be stupid and other people are gonna cover for them. That’s life, and you have no control over your own fate, let alone anyone else’s. Why exhaust yourself changing nothing? Continue reading Waiting (#314)
My Chinese-American husband waited to bring a white woman home until he was almost thirty. At that point, Jay and Sunny were grateful Andy had found anyone.
There were plenty of arguments over our marriage venue and our potential change of last names, but no arguments against our actual marriage.
Once we were married, though, it wasn’t exactly smooth sailing. Jay was upset when we didn’t have a child—specifically, the Number One Son of the Number One Son—right away. When the in-laws came to visit, they hit me with criticism for my cooking, my cats, my teapot, our dogs, and even our local Costco.
This negativity wouldn’t have bothered me as much if Jay and Sunny criticized their son-in-law or their other daughter-in-law. But Sunny fawned over her son-in-law. And her other daughter-in-law? Denny’s Wife escaped the trials and tribulations I endured—including the Daughter-in-Law Tea Ceremony.
While favorite DIL status seemed an impossibility, I hoped that, once the Number One Son was on the way, I might at least achieve Level “Leave Her Alone.” Continue reading Daughter-in-law The First, Daughter-in-law The Worst (#310)
Baby D walked when he was 10 months old—for 3 steps. Then he ran everywhere.
“Soccer,” I yelled to Andy as I chased Baby D around the yard with a cheese stick. “As soon as he’s old enough, he’s playing soccer. Maybe that will wear him out.”
Andy yelled back, “But, honey, he doesn’t care about balls.”
This was true. Baby D did not care about sports.
Baby D only liked imaginary games. Continue reading When It Ain’t At All About the Ball (#290)
There’s a common phrase about parenting: “The days are long, the years are short.”
The days ARE long when you have a baby. Especially when you have a baby that only takes a half-hour nap. And when you have a non-napping child and no handy relatives to help?
A day feels equal to a year.
When your baby is sick?
A day feels like a century. Continue reading When the Days Are Long, Again (#289)