Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day and The American Dream

My family and I had a very nice Father's Day today. My husband slept in and I hurried downstairs to make his coffee and make him a nice breakfast. Our younger son ate breakfast with us and we both gave him our Father's Day cards.
In our family, on birthdays and holidays, it is important that we read each word of the card. When we select cards, we try to find one that is meaningful for each of us and sends the message we want to deliver, then, like a ceremony, the recipient reads it out loud as the giver smiles and looks shyly away.
After breakfast, I cleaned up the kitchen and my husband went outside and tended the backyard. He loves to garden and tinker around the yard. We have a small to medium pool, not new but in pretty good shape due to my husband's care-filled tending. Flowers and greenery are everywhere and the blooms do their best in this hot Texas 100 degree plus summer heat. I sat outside and watched him clean the pool and we made our plans for the day. Our older son, his wife and our two grandkids were coming over in the afternoon for a barbecue. Her sister and two boys were coming too. We planned for a long afternoon of swimming, sunning, eating and relaxing to celebrate the day. I hurried inside and cleaned the house and started getting everything set up for the barbecue. I like everything done before guests arrive so no one has to do anything but relax and talk.

Everyone arrived at 3pm as planned. The grandkids gave grandpa a Father's Day card from the family, being sure to read the words aloud. Hugs were next. Then everyone was outside swimming. Then my husband put on the charcoals. We prefer old fashioned charcoal vs butane. My husband says charcoal makes the burgers taste better.
After dinner, we came inside and we started talking. As we often do on lazy afternoons like this, my son asked about the past. He asked, "Mom, what was it like in the 70's. Was it like the movies?" I knew what he meant, long haired hippies and tie-died clothes. I said, "Not really. It was just like it is today. People were the same. We were the same, only younger. Houses, stores, movies, basically all the same. We didn't have the technology. No cell phones, video games as we have today, no laptops or internet. In that way we were different. But as far as people, we were probably about the same. Kids played outside more. Remember when you were a boy, you ran and played outside all day?" He nodded. We talked about the early video games. In the end, we all agreed people were the same but technology was different.

They stayed another hour or so and then went home. I cleaned up the kitchen and my husband layed down on the coach to watch sports. I opened up my laptop. I checked my mail and saw the message from Minuteman X and wrote the previous blog. Afterwards, my mind kept resonating on my son's question. I also started thinking about my own Dad.

Maybe times were very different back then. I remember growing up. My parents were so very strict. It was all about responsibility, hard work and the future. We also were taught our place in society. However, I didn't necessarily agree with their philosophy. Some of this had to do with what was going on in the outside world. Revolution was happening on the streets. Civil Rights, Womens' Rights, Equality for all. The President was murdered. His brother and MLK too. Then I met my future husband in the 70's. We were so much in love. We both believed in Equality for all, Womens' Rights and in having fun. In the next few years we moved in together, were married, had our oldest son. It was a magical time. Our son settled us down to our own family life. Then we had our second son, another miracle, as we evolved to a beautiful family. We did everything together, and we still do today.

What I did tell my son today was, when I moved out of my parents house at 19, I never moved back, never wanted to move back. I had met my future husband by then and my life was brand new. I love my Dad and my Mom and I appreciate all of their sacrifices, but once I moved out, I never ever once thought of moving back. I think it was due to their strict nature. In my own mind, their entire focus was on instilling in each of us a hard work ethic, a commitment to complete our education and secure a good career. I am forever indebted to them for these gifts.

However, with my own children and grandchildren, it is like we have been best friends all of our lives, so close, so happy to see each other, wishing we could all live together again someday. There were many years, we lived on macaroni and cheese adding a can of peas for the meat. It took years for us before we had two cents to rub together, but I remember those times and they were good times too.

I've been very fortunate all of my life. I had two wonderful parents who sacrificed their entire lives to give all of their children a better life. They were very successful in achieving their goal. All my siblings have done well. For me and my family they gave us the greatest gift of all. They enabled us to achieve the American Dream and I love it. Happy Father's Day Everyone!


PuertoVallartaGirl said...

Dee that was a beautiful post. thanks so much for that. I love it it gives so much depth to what you do here. you area beautiful person.

Vicente Duque said...

My Mother's Day Gift for the Bravest Lady in Texas ( a little late ! ) :

Durham, North Carolina, City Council bans travel to Arizona - Symbolic Condemnation - The resolution passed six-to-one June 21, 2010 - My super list of Condemners

Durham's Latino community is very nervous about the immigration law and whether something similar could happen in North Carolina. The City Council does not want people abandoning the city.

Growing list of City Boycotters and City Condemners of Arizona :

Austin TX, Berkeley CA, Boston MA, Bloomington IN, Boulder CO, Brownsville TX, Burlington VT, Calexico CA, Coachella CA, Chicago IL, Columbus OH, Cook County IL ( Chicago is inside ), Durham NC, El Paso TX, Fulton County GA, Gallup NM, Hartford CT, Los Angeles City CA, Los Angeles County CA, Oakland CA, Pasadena CA, Portland OR, Richmond CA, San Diego CA, San Jose CA, San Pablo CA, Santa Ana CA, St. Paul MN, Santa Monica CA, San Francisco CA, Seattle WA, Tacoma WA, Washington DC, West Hollywood CA, etc ...

Vicente Duque

Vicente Duque said...

Tale of a White Father, Latina Mother :

Ethriam Brammer : Racial problems inside my car - Testimony before the US Commission on Civil Rights - Arizona’s SB 1070 and Michigan’s newly proposed HB 6256

The Big Problem of being BiRacial : This guy has a Blonde Blue-eyed father and a Latina Mother.

U.S.-Mexico Immigration News Stories
US Commission on Civil Rights - Arizona’s SB 1070 and Michigan’s newly proposed HB 6256
By Ethriam Brammer
June 18, 2010

Some excerpts :

For those of you who are still naïve enough to believe that racial profiling would not take place in Michigan with the enactment of this bill, I would like to conclude by demonstrating how racial profiling on the U.S.-Mexican border is a way of daily life back home.

How do I know? My father is white.

Like so many things a child doesn’t understand about his or her parents until older, I never understood why my mother hated to drive. Whether consciously or simply a result of internalized racism, quite simply, my mother doesn’t drive, because we were treated differently with my father behind the wheel.

Whether it was going across the U.S.-Mexican border or the California-Arizona border, we were treated differently when my blued-eyed, rusty blonde-haired father smiled and spoke to law enforcement agents. It was the same at the border check-points north of the border as well, because you can’t travel from El Centro to San Diego or Phoenix without stopping at a U.S. border check point—as children, we couldn’t even go to Disneyland without passing through multiple border check points, without ever leaving the U.S.

During my last visit to see my parents back in California, I told my wife to pack all of our passports, including those of our two children. She asked if I planned to cross the border into Mexico. And when I told her no, she asked why we had to bring all of our passports.

Luckily for us, she did it; because, between the airport and my parents’ house, we were stopped on the freeway by border patrol. My wife has a doctorate from an Ivy League institution. We are both college instructors and administrators. We were driving a brand new rental car, which had no broken lights; our two children were buckled into car seats; and, I was not speeding. But driving while brown in that border region constitutes reasonable suspicion.

Had we not had our American passports, we may have well all been detained. My two year-old daughter and my four year-old son, ripped crying and screaming from their mother’s arms and placed into the custody of Child Protective Services—which is what they do with kids when parents are detained.

The life-long pain and emotional scars inflicted by such a heart-wrenching experience is something I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy, much less on any neighbor that I profess to love.

Is this the kind of border our state legislature envisions for Michigan?

And what do I tell my children if this measure passes in Michigan? How do I explain to my son, who looks remarkably like my red-haired, blue-eyed father, that he doesn’t have to carry his passport to school every day; but, his sister, who looks like me, does, lest she be arrested and taken away from us by any Detroit police officer or Wayne County sheriff under threat of law suit to do just that?

Vicente Duque

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