Holding Our Angel

Loving After Loss


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Dinner Triggers

After we removed Theo from life support and left the hospital in San Francisco, we grabbed dinner at Denny’s as it was close to the hospital and freeway.

I haven’t been in a Denny’s since. I wasn’t consciously avoiding the restaurant chain , I just don’t eat there very much. But the other night I was craving breakfast food for dinner, did not feel like cooking, and iHop and Denny’s are the only restaurants in our area serving breakfast at dinner time.

So we drove to a Denny’s as it is closer to our house, and I couldn’t get out of the car. It didn’t occur to me before we got there that we ate at a Denny’s the day Theo died. I immediately remembered that last time at a Denny’s, and I couldn’t stop reliving the hours leading up to dinner.

After my freak out in the car, we went to an iHop. I still really wanted breakfast for dinner.

I will probably never eat at a Denny’s again.

In other events, I went to Buy Buy Baby earlier today. I wanted a new crib sheet that was all navy and I was in the area so I figured I would just pop in and buy it in person instead of online. There weren’t a lot of people in the store fortunately, so I was in and out pretty quick. I was wearing this necklace, which I bought in honor of Theo. The cashier commented on the necklace, saying it was very beautiful. But there was something about how she said it… I think she got the meaning behind the necklace, that it was to honor a loss. It was a sweet moment. I almost exclusively wear my Theo jewelry, and I love when people comment on them (even if they don’t know the meaning). It’s like they are saying hi to my little boy.

I’ve been mostly napping this week. I haven’t been sleeping well at night, partly because of pregnancy and partly because allergies have me so stuffed up I can barely breathe through my nose. Apparently our area is one of the worst in the country for allergies, and this year is bad for me. Stupid rain, making everything bloom. Haven’t accomplished much on my maternity to-do list this week, but there’s a small part of me that reminds me I may have plenty of time after Steam Bun’s birth to work on the list. Ugh.


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Complaints

I’m reading Leah Remini’s Troublemaker and like it so far. She has a quote that made me laugh out loud:

I hate when people say, “Enjoy it,” when you’re complaining about something. I am enjoying it. But I also enjoy complaining about it. It’s one of my favorite pastimes.

So, with that, I am going to do some complaining and I will enjoy it. 😀

  1. I dislike most pregnant women. (You know if you are an exception to this rule for me.) Just because I am in a public place and am visibly pregnant does not mean that I want to commiserate with a complete stranger on the pregnancy. Go complain about pregnancy to some other pregnant lady and leave me alone. This is partly why I don’t attend Kenny’s softball games: the arena is filled with pregnant women or newborns whose moms think that I want to talk to a complete stranger about the pregnancy just because I’m pregnant.
  2. 99% of what people say to pregnant women is stupid at best. I get it, they are trying to be nice and encouraging. But can they not think for 5 seconds?? I don’t like my body being commented on by people, especially people I don’t know well or at all. Do I want your opinion on how awesome/awful the month my baby is due is? No, I don’t. I also don’t want you commenting if I am waddling or not, your opinion on the sex of my baby (“Two boys? Are you going to try for a girl next?” Can’t I just be happy this baby is still alive so far?!), etc.
  3. “You look so tiny!” hurts. Again, I get it. They’re being nice. But this is sooo hard to hear. I am already worrying enough about how this baby is or is not developing, I REALLY don’t need someone saying I look small. What’s worse, the comments went from “Wow! You look farther along than that!” to “You look so tiny!” which makes me worried the baby stopped developing at some point (doctor has confirmed he hasn’t and is still measuring just fine for his gestational age). This is why I haven’t told people my due date, to avoid these exact comments. But it’s not working, because even though I give a very vague answer to people when they ask when I’m due, I STILL get these comments. Ugh.
  4. My back and sciatica are killing me. The only other time I’ve had sciatica pain was when I was pregnant with Theo, so I’m hoping it will go away once Steam Bun is born. But it’s painful and it makes it hard to walk, and coupled with the backaches is not fun. And nothing sounds better than a hot bath right now, but that’s a no-no so I’m stuck using a heating pad instead.
  5. Somebody was walking their dog and didn’t clean up after it. Which is bad enough by itself, but we’ve been getting a ton of rain lately, and the rain made the mess very watery. Did not want to see that or try to maneuver around it when going for a walk. Pick up after your dogs, people. It’s really not that hard.

Ok, I think I’m done for now. That was fun. I should probably get back to work now.


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Faith, Politics, and More

Go to the bathroom, get a snack, and get comfortable–this is a looooong post.

I am not a very political person. I stay (mostly) informed enough to form an intelligent opinion on important issues to me, but for the most part, I just stay out of politics. I generally don’t make political comments on social media, because that’s not me. But President-Elect Trump has changed that, and I refuse to be quiet about this.

It is utterly despicable and embarrassing that Trump is our President-Elect.

I will admit I have a lot of privilege. I am white, born and raised in a middle-class family, and a college education was just assumed for me. I am not the first in my family to be born in the U.S or to go to college. I am a practicing Christian. I have a good, white-collar job and so does my husband.

But I am a woman. And I am married to an Asian man, whose parents moved to the U.S. from Taiwan before he was born. I am the mother of two biracial children, one of whom may or may not be a girl. Steam Bun may or may not be LGBT in the future (and I will love him/her no matter what).

And I am truly frightened for the safety of my family. For myself. For my friends who don’t fit the straight-(rich)-white-Christian-male mold. For those I don’t even know who don’t fit that mold.

I understand and respect everyone has a different opinion on political issues, and I do not expect everyone to be a Democrat or a Republican. I consider myself basically in the middle: I agree with the Republican party on some issues, the Democrat party on others. If you were to take a look at my voting record, you will see that I’ve voted for a mix of Republicans and Democrats and on a variety of issues. I understand and respect differences in opinions on taxes, foreign policy, etc. I may not agree with you on them, but I have no issue with you voting for “the other side”.

But I have an issue with every vote for Trump. Because every vote for him was a vote for racism, sexism, ableism, and just discrimination and prejudice in general. And I do not respect that. I do not and will not tolerate that. I do not understand or respect how you can prioritize paying less in taxes over the safety and well-being of fellow human beings. Because a vote for Trump was a vote against my family-an interracial family with biracial children, one the child of immigrants, with at least one of us being female.

I have not experienced racial discrimination. I am white, it’s not directed at me. And I have not experienced any discrimination for being in an interracial marriage, though I guarantee that would not be the case if Kenny was African-American or Hispanic. (Did you know that interracial marriages were mostly illegal until the 1960’s? Had I met Kenny then, we would not have been allowed to be married.) But I have been sexually harassed and I’ve experienced first-hand sexism at college and work.

I have had to defend myself against men who felt they were owed my body simply because they are a man and I am a woman and I was in their presence. I have had to deal with being cat-called and verbally sexually assaulted. I have had to “let slide” sexist comments at work or college, made by men in their 50’s or 60’s simply because I am a woman. I work in finance, it is still a boy’s club. I have witnessed other women I work with experience the same sexism and sexual harassment. I have witnessed non-white coworkers experience racial discrimination.

Do you know what happened these incidents were reported to HR or my boss? I was dismissed and told I either misunderstood what was said or was being overly sensitive. Or my favorite, “But so-and-so is so nice! No way that could have happened!”. Same for others who have reported them.

The “locker room talk” Trump said is NOT locker room talk. Locker room talk is harmless. What Trump said is verbal sexual assault, plain and simple. If Kenny were to say those things about me or another woman, I’d be packing a bag and crashing at a friend’s place. Debating if marriage counseling can fix the very basic problem of Kenny not respecting me or women (for the record, Kenny would NEVER say those things about me or anyone else). If Theo said those things about a woman, I would be appalled and ashamed. Ashamed of him for using such vile language, and ashamed of myself for failing as a mother and not raising him properly.

I asked Kenny how he would react if he overheard someone saying those things about me or his hypothetical daughter. He said it would take every ounce of self-control to not punch the guy, and he still would probably end up punching him. (And don’t even try to say I am “lucky” to be married to a man like that. A woman is NOT “lucky” for being in a relationship with a man who has basic respect for her and women in general. THAT IS WHAT SHOULD BE EXPECTED.)

If Steam Bun is a girl, I have so much more to worry about than if Steam Bun is a boy. Why? Because our culture reinforces that women are only good for their bodies, which are to be made available to men. Instead of teaching boys to not rape, sexually assault, or use demeaning language toward women; we teach girls how not to get raped and how to let inappropriate and hurtful comments roll of your back without standing up for yourself too much.

Trump’s language toward non-whites is NOT “no big deal”. He words made it very clear those not fitting his white-mold are not welcome here and should be seen as a threat. He exacerbated the “us vs. them” mentality. He made outrageous statements that were not based on fact but fear. They were not an over-exaggeration by the “liberal” media. They were his words, they were filled with racist and anti-non-white sentiments and were vile and shameful.

As the mother of biracial children, I am so worried for them. How will I combat the message that they aren’t good enough because they aren’t “fully” white? How will I protect them against acts of hate? How will I teach them this attitude isn’t ok, when they will be bombarded with it every day? And thanks Trump, for basically saying my family isn’t welcome here! We’re not going anywhere, sorry to disappoint you.

Why does it matter that our President-Elect uses such language? You may be thinking that Trump is only one man. And he is, but as the President-Elect his words and actions touch everyone. One thing I learned while studying accounting was that a company’s culture starts at the top. If the CEO/President has a bad temper, makes inappropriate comments, participates in shady deals, etc., this will trickle down throughout the entire company and become the culture of the company. This will happen in the U.S. with Trump as our President. People will see that the President can get away with such comments and outlook, and they will mirror it. By electing Trump, we reinforced that it’s ok to demean women. We reinforced that African-Americans, Hispanics, Asians, Muslims, and everyone else are not as deserving as whites. This has already started–if you don’t believe me, google “Day 1 of Trump’s America”.

Trump did not create discrimination. He is not the first, nor will he be the last, to hate so many. The problem is his campaign and Presidency normalized discrimination in a way that it was not in a long time. His position of power and authority make it ok to be discriminatory and prejudicial.

And you might be reading this and thinking, “Yes, but Hillary…”. There are no buts! Is Hillary perfect? No, she’s a politician. She’s had scandals, and I agree with her on some things, and disagree on others. But she is not filled with the racist, sexist, ableist, etc. sentiments Trump is; and that in and of itself is why she should have been the President-Elect. (Never mind the fact that Hilary was infinitely more qualified than Trump to be President. But voters were unwilling to see past their hate for Hillary, while willing to do exactly that for Trump. And they instead elected a completely unqualified white man instead of a woman. Hi there glass ceiling!) You say you didn’t like Trump, but did you vote for him in the primaries? If he is hated so much by Republicans, why did you pick him in the primaries?

I’m now going to rant a little about faith and politics. This is directed at Christians, if you are not a Christian, feel free to skip the next few paragraphs.

There needs to be a separation of church and state. I say that as a Christian. Why? Because it is not fair to expect non-Christians to follow Christian values.

You are not doing the Lord’s work by judging others and dictating how they live. Telling them which birth control they may or may not use, how they form their family or procreate, etc. is unhelpful at best. Beside the fact that not all Christians agree on these things and these stances have no biblical standing, judging someone and how they live will only drive a larger wedge between you and the person you are trying to “help”. It is unfair to have public policy reflect the beliefs of a small group of people, and force everyone to live by those rules.

Do the Lord’s work by treating others with respect, love, and kindness. Help others with no strings attached–give to help them, not to receive attention or to blackmail them into believing what you do. Do those things simply because they are the right thing to do.

Jesus loved unconditionally. He gave unconditionally. He never treated those who were different than him worse than he treated his followers. He treated everyone the same regardless of who they were, where they were from, what they did, etc. He never judged, but rather simply accepted them as they were. He forgave unconditionally.

Jesus was very strict with Christians. When Jesus saw Christians do things that were against his teachings, he reprimanded them. But he only expected his followers to live by his rules, never those who didn’t follow him. There are so many instances in the Bible where Jesus is reprimanding Christians for not being loving to others or giving generously to those who need it.

Ok, enough about faith. Back to just politics.

The repercussions of Trump and Pence in office is horrific. I lurk the 3T (trouble trying to conceive/infertility) board on a parenting forum, and learning about Pence’s stance on reproductive health is horrifying. It goes way beyond abortion rights, and into what medical treatments are available to those experiencing a loss or infertility and what happens after the loss. Pence is completely unfit to be in office, and he and Trump are a threat to so many Americans (many of whom voted for them!).

I am genuinely scared of what this means for my health insurance: will I have access to birth control after Steam Bun is born? Will I be able to do the genetic testing I want, for a reasonable cost? And if Steam Bun has the same genetic condition as Theo, will we be allowed to terminate for medical reasons if we choose that route? If we choose to not terminate, will Trump/Pence force us to keep Steam Bun on life support longer than we wish? You might think I’m being paranoid, but this is my reality. I’ve had one child on life support, and there is a (minute) possibility this child will die of the same condition (or a completely different one! Because there’s more than one way for babies to die!). And then of course, how much will all of this cost us? We do well financially, and I am freaked out I won’t be able to afford medical care. Our medical costs for Theo were minimal, I can’t imagine having to worry about money while burying another child.

If you voted for Trump, I do not want to know. Really, I don’t. But I want you to know one thing: I am steadfastly against your opinion/vote, but I am not against you. I will not pit myself against you or refuse to associate with you. I will treat you exactly how all humans deserve to be treated: with respect, love, and kindness. I will try to change your mind and have you see why Trump has no business being in politics, but I will do so in a respectful way.

I refuse to give in to the “us vs. them” mentality. People who are different are not the enemy. I do not consider anyone of a different race, sexual orientation, gender, religion, etc. against me. They are not threatening my or your way of life just by existing. Fearing “the others” is not the answer, nor is segregating ourselves. Opening yourself up to everyone is the only way we’ll make this country better. Telling them “I don’t understand where you are coming from, but I accept you as you are and I will treat you how I want to be treated” is the best thing you can do. Because they are worthy. You are worthy. I will show everyone as much love, kindness, and respect as possible regardless of who they are. Because it’s the right thing to do.

We live in scary times. There is violence and hate everywhere. But that’s always been the case. Pick any point in history, and you will learn all the ways humans had of hurting each other at that point in time. But fighting hate with hate will not solve anything; again, history has proven this multiple times.

I mean none of this to imply that I am perfect. I am far from it. I am impatient, I’ve made mistakes, and I curse at other drivers on the road. But I am always striving to be better than I was before, and I always work on treating others how they deserve to be treated.

What are Kenny and I doing about this? To start with, I signed the petition to have Hillary elected. Will it actually work? I doubt it, but it was something I can do while I figure out the next step. Both Kenny and I agree we need to get involved, with what we’re not sure yet. We’re still in shock from this election. We’ve been doing a lot of praying for our country, and praying that God uses us in some way.

Protest. Volunteer. Make your voice heard. But whatever you do, please do it peacefully. Let’s not stoop to Trump’s level and give him more ammunition.

And on a slightly related note, here’s a song I love. Casting Crowns is a Christian band, and I’ve listened to this song hundreds of times since Theo died. The words just so perfectly sum up how I feel in this grief, and now sum up how I feel about this election. Especially the first few lines:

I was sure by now
God You would have reached down
And wiped our tears away
Stepped in and saved the day
But once again, I say “Amen”, and it’s still raining