Friday, July 27, 2012

Leaving Las Vegas (when all you want is to get there.)

An already-planned trip to Vegas with childhood girlfriends was looming, but I had to tell them that I had to sit this one out.
We were ecstatic about our recent move to Texas to be closer to family. We found a lovely home right away, but it hailed from the seventies and the kitchen screamed ABBA. We decided that it needed a nudge into the current decade. In this case however, the nudge meant gutting out the whole damn thing and knocking down a wall. No kitchen for two, almost three months, Vegas trip. So here I was the weekend of said trip and my girlfriends' hootin' and hollerin' on the other end of the line made me resent the seventies just a little bit. Ironic, since that's when I was born. I fought the strong urge to have a bottle of wine with me, myself and I, and decided I will not sit at home. I will be out there. I will show up. I will four-year- old and I.
So instead of looking so glum on a Friday, I heard about the chicken joint that had an unofficial holiday for bovine appreciation day. Free eats if you dress up like a cow. (Mooing doesn't get you anything but funny looks.) That's it! That's where Shorty and I were going to paint the town red, or black and white, actually. I grabbed two shirts, one white, one black. I cut up the black one into random kidney shapes and contemplated sewing them on to the white one, until I decided glue does wonders. An oval of pink fabric on the chest then, Shorty pulled out two small, pink pompoms.
"For nickels, Mom," she offered.
"You need two more. I think you mean udders," I said (now you know what she meant.)
Those were glued on just like everything else. More glue for small black fabric onto a pair of barettes for ears, and we were ready. No, I did not don a costume for free lunch. Since I received photo updates of the girls all dolled up without kids glued to their legs, the last thing I wanted to do was to feel and look like a cow. I've never felt so domesticated in all my life.
We hit the restaurant and when we walked in, Shorty got so many compliments (from other cows) on her costume that made this mama cow feel proud. She had fun. I had fun, not Vegas fun, but the promise of a shiny, new kitchen was well worth it. I think cocktail glasses, filled to the brim, should be the first to go on those countertops. Make mine a Margarita.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

One of these things is not like the others

I’ve been coasting along the motherhood path content and, relieved mostly, that Shorty has yet to start bringing up big life-issues – until this past Wednesday.

They had an exercise in school called “If you can be whatever you want to be, what would it be?” The teacher wrote the kids’ answers on a poster-sized sheet and hung it up in the hallway. Answers ranged from the expected, “I want to be a princess,” to the daring, “I want to be a green dragon.” There were also some realistic ones “I want to be a mom with five kids and live in a big house in the desert,” and then some odd ones like “I want to be a fruit snack.”

We were so amused with the list that Shorty and I rehashed her classmates’ answers on our drive home. One of her little friends said she wanted to be a princess like Jasmine (from Disney’s Aladdin) and among a whole list of dragons and superheroes one boy said he wanted to be the prince who marries Jasmine (the same one.) So how did Shorty react? “Eeew. He wants to marry a little girl with white skin.” My face burned. You see, ours is a ‘blue’ family in a very ‘red’ state, so when we found a preschool not more than 15 minutes away from our house that was surprisingly racially diverse, we couldn’t believe our luck (never mind that it costs us an arm and a leg, weekly.) So imagine my surprise when my daughter made this comment. I calmly asked, “Why is that eeew?” “Because he needs to marry someone with the same color skin.” I was convinced someone put it in her head, and it sure as hell wasn’t me. “Who told you this?” I asked trying to sound like I was just curious, not seething. “Nobody, Mom. I made it up myself.”
Her little friend who wanted to be Jasmine happens to be Caucasian, which up until now, I didn’t think mattered to Shorty. It obviously didn’t matter to her little friend who, out of all the Disney princesses, wanted to be one of the dark-skinned ones.

I have friends from different cultures, countries, and races, some in interracial marriages and some in same-sex relationships. So, it was a promise, no, a pact between my husband and I that if we had a child he or she will experience and thrive in a culturally diverse environment. I want my child to value diversity, practice tolerance, make and form well-informed choices and opinions, and be slow to judge. The best I can do is to teach her to always look at both sides of the coin.

I continued, “Your daddy and I don’t have the same color skin.” “Yes you do,” she said. Fine. I guess we do, but technically we are an interracial couple; my husband is Hispanic and I’m Filipino. Let’s see…Aha! I thought of my sister who is married to a man of Finnish descent. “What about your Tita T and Uncle E?” She smiled. Eureka. The light bulb went on. “See?” I said, quite pleased with myself. “What’s important Sweetie, is that you marry someone you like to hang out with, someone who makes you laugh, someone who hugs you when you’re sad or scared, someone who makes soup for you when you’re sick, someone who makes you feel like you’re the prettiest girl in the world.” Shorty was wide-eyed in my rear view mirror. Her wheels were obviously spinning. “Ok,” she said, “I’ll marry you and Daddy.”

I’m starting to think sorting exercises is the culprit. Tsk, tsk, Big Bird.