Thursday, May 14, 2015

I Am Not Your Mother

I am not your mother, but I will be your best friend when you need one. I will be here for you when you cry tears of distress and when you cannot find the picture day paperwork that you already put in your backpack. I will shop with you and help you pick out the clothes you want to wear - even though I’ll try to convince you to wear anything other than leggings every day.  

I am not your mother, but I will brush out the tangles in your hair even after you insist that you already did. I will go to your games and be the loudest person in the stands cheering for you - embarrassing your daddy with how loud I am. I will always make you try everything once, but never force you to do anything you truly do not like.

I am not your mother, but I will teach you to value yourself and know that you do not need anyone else to tell you your worth. I will listen to your woes, no matter how big or small, and give you advice even when you don’t want to hear it. I will hold your hand but let go when I know you’re ready, even if you don’t think you are.

I am not your mother, but I will love your daddy with every fiber of my being and show you how to expect a man to treat you when you grow up. I will tell you that you are smart and clever, more than I will tell you you’re beautiful so that one day you’ll love your brain just as much as you will love your beauty.

I am not your mother, but I will love you as if I was. You may not have chosen me to carry you but you have allowed me to help raise you and I will do my very best.

Nearly a year ago -and after dating for 4 and a half years- my boyfriend and I decided to move in together. The two of us, and his daughter Rae, would be living together for the first time. Since then, it’s been a pretty great year. 

They have taught me a lot about patience, and how I don’t have very much of it. But I won't lie, sometimes it was hard. Not only did my boyfriend, Roland, and I have to figure out this new phase in our relationship, but we had to figure out how we were going to be a team, and raise this 6 year old little girl without the help of his parents. She had to adjust too; she was no longer living with her beloved Grandma and Papa anymore. She had to listen to Auntie Jessica now. She’s a trooper though, and adapts well. I think she knew that it was time for some change, she just didn’t know what kind of change to expect.  

Fast forward to a year later ...and I’ve just celebrated my first mother’s day as, *gasp* a step mom. 23 years young and a “step mom”. It’s still so strange to me! 

Rae had spent the day with her mother, but Roland was so kind to have celebrated the day for me. He cleaned the entire house, gave me a bouquet of roses, and bought me a record player! It was nice, but unexpected, to be thanked for something I didn’t think twice for doing. Taking care of Rae was a natural response, but being thanked for it was a new thing for me. Why thank me for something I should be doing? Either way, it was wonderful and I loved every minute of mother’s day.

Whether you’re a biological mommy, step mommy, adoptive mommy, fur mommy or anything in between… I hope you had a wonderful mother’s day too.



Tuesday, May 12, 2015

The Art of Toasting

The history and origin of toasting, whether it be the clinking of glasses or an abbreviated dedication speech, goes far back – like the time of Shakespeare and ancient Greece back.  The ritual was meant to honor or wish good health upon someone.  Over the years, toasting had evolved and gained more purpose:
  • Share Poison
    • Envision “Game of Thrones”, when everyone is out to get everyone.  Pouring poison into one’s drink became a popular attempt for murder.  It occurred so often that people began clinking their glasses together in hopes to spill the poison into the other glass.  Now both parties would be doomed.
  • Sign of Respect
    • In some cultures, mostly European, cheering to one another meant honor and gratitude.  It was a greeting from the party to the host, and from the host to the party.
  • Prevention of Bad Luck
    • Toasting, for the superstitious, had resulted in fear of facing cursed or unfortunate luck.  French traditions require eye contact during the toast or one could be cursed for seven years with bad sex.

Today, it naturally marks the beginning of a good time.

To me, I find a special magic in raising your glass with friends and cheering.  It’s like a form of bonding in a universal language.  Just think about it.  With a simple gesture and one simple word, you have just shared a moment.  For example, a wedding toast from a Best Man or a Maid of Honor probably educated the rest of the party with a fun fact that no one may have known about the couple.  The memory of that toast will forever be shared with everyone present at that time.  In other words, strangers become friends and friends become greater friends because of this moment.  Call me crazy, but I have met many international friends this way. 

While the rest of the world may think that American teenagers are the wilder of the bunch, I may beg to differ.  The average legal drinking age around the world is 18 years old.  Perhaps, it’s their maturity that sets them apart.  Perhaps it’s their sense of cheering to live in the moment that has shed a new light on me.  My international friends were awesome, to say the least.  They were studying abroad so maybe they had fewer responsibilities than average American me.  Regardless, I had learned a lot from them, including global cheering traditions.
  • Prost
    • German for “cheers”.  Add this to your vocabulary, and you’ll be set for Oktoberfest.
  • Arriba, Arriba, Arriba (don't forget to roll those Rs)
    • Spanish slang for “go, go, go”.  My friend from Spain would say this before any shot taken.  She said her family always says it to get the energy flowing.
  • En Boca al Lupo
    • Italian for “in the mouth of the wolf”.  This is a term used to encourage others to survive in the mouth of the wolf (aka “good luck”)
  • Mabuhay
    • Tagalog (Filipino) for “life” or “long live”.  When I heard my friends say this so proudly, it gave it a new meaning.  Now, when I hear it, I think of living greatly and living for the moment.  My family usually says “cheers”, but as of recent, we tried to revive this tradition

As a celebration connoisseur, cheering and toasting are very much in my realm.  When there’s a toast, it usually means that you’ve got something to say.  Someone could be bringing attention to new beginnings, congratulating someone, or even just simply appreciating something or someone.  It truly is a moment, and sometimes we move so fast that we forget to live in these moments that are worth sharing.  Also, more often than not, you’re probably in good company – so there really is no going wrong!