Archives For June 2013

Glenda the Good Witch (me) & one of the besties Dorothy (aka Pam)

(L-R) Cousin L., Brother, Macaroni & Cousin M.

This video that I saw via one of my favorite DJs Sake One that I’m just extra vibin’ on:

Totally news worthy stuff like:

This cool kid with the super fly style:

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 I mean really, how cool is she? Naturally cool.

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And we’re making these Kombucha fruit snacks, because, hello, Kombucha + fruit snacks = genius!

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This sweet picture.

Mother Daughter Summer Concert

I was born with blond hair.

I remember when I was little and was playing at the park. An older girl came up to me and asked me if I was a Mulatto. I didn’t know what that was, but I said yes.

Later I went up to my dad and asked him what a Mulatto was and said that I told the little girl that I was Mulatto. My dad seethed with anger.

“You are not a Mulatto,” he told me. He went on to explain that the term is derived from a mule “because mules can’t reproduce themselves.” It’s racist, he basically said. It means you’re less than and you’re not less than, he told me.

How apropos that the conversation took place at Martin Luther King Jr. pool and playground.

I remember feeling so very sad and confused. How could someone think that I was different or like a mule, I wondered. My dad was just so angry so I knew it must be serious.

Mulatto is a term used to refer to a person who is born from one white parent and one black parent, or more broadly, a person of any “mixed” ancestry. See Forbes, 1993 and mixedancestry.[1] Contemporary usage of the designation is generally confined to situations in which the term is considered relevant in an historical context, as now most people of mixed white and black ancestry rarely choose to self-identify as mulatto.[2]

The term is not commonly used any more but is generally considered archaic because of its association with slavery, colonial and racial oppression; accepted modern terms include “mixed” and “biracial”.Wikipedia

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If I wasn’t a Mulatto than what was I?

Ladybug's Three Sisters (Macaroni, Stari & Danish)

Ladybug’s Three Sisters

At that time, I had never seen another girl who looked like me. Now it’s common to see blond kids of all ethnic backgrounds and mixes. Even one of Ladybug’s sisters has blond hair, but back in the late 70’s and early 80’s it wasn’t nearly as common.

Anyway, at a young age I knew I was not Mulatto.

Jamila, Me and Sandra, around 3 years-old.

I also learned I was not an Aborigine or an Albino (all things people asked me if I was).

I heard my mother tell people that my hair was naturally blond, and remember being asked in the third grade at sleep-away camp whether I bleached my hair. When I said no one of the other girls whispered that I was lying.

Growing up looking the way that I do, I was often a target for pretty much everyone. Discrimination don’t discriminate.

I didn’t look white and yet I didn’t look black enough. I got called racial slurs by everyone and to this very day people are constantly asking what my race is.

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My brother and I.

My mom once told me to tell people my race was “human” and so from that day to today I pretty much always say human and wait to see if they’ll continue with the question. “No, I mean what is your ethnicity,” they usually follow-up with a sigh as if I didn’t know what they meant.

Of course I did.

In the 9th grade on the train home someone asked me my ethnic background. I responded, “I’m mixed,” to which another girl on the bus commented, “You should just tell people you’re black because you act too white already.”

Ironically, when I’ve identified myself as “black” I usually get asked, “and what else,” which explains why one of my favorite sayings is “life is nothing if not ironic.”

So, how do I define my ethnic background? Well, not as easy as some and then maybe easier than others.

When Brother was in the third grade he wrote a paper about his family as a school project. I remember he was so proud showing me what he wrote. In the paper, he talked about the fact that he is Jewish, his loves when his father speaks French to his little sister, and he has an uncle with 35 kids.

The next day, after reading his report for the class, Brother came home and was sullen. “They laughed at me,” he explained. “They thought I was lying,” he said, his eyes looking towards the ground embarrassed.

The class, in which Brother  was one of two brown faces, saw my beautiful brown boy and didn’t believe he was Jewish, or French was spoken in his home, or that his uncle had 35 kids (okay, technically his grandpa’s uncle but that still makes him Brother’s great-great uncle and, yes, he really had that many kids ).

I consoled him the best way I knew how while biting my tongue and doing my best to not make judgments myself or use terms like “racist” or “ignorant” when talking about his classmates (or really their parents).

Labels are wrong and generalizing someone because of something they say isn’t always correct or proper. The kids didn’t know any better. They were just operating under the rules and clues that their parents and society as a whole has forced on them.

I met with the teacher later that week for parent-teacher conferences and expressed how hurt Brother had been by the class. I explained to her that it was all true, and she said she would be sure to tell the class.

Kermit the Frog wasn’t lying when he said, “it ain’t easy being green.”

It ain’t easy being anything that doesn’t fit comfortably into a box.

I had hoped that my children would have been spared some of the confusion that I suffered as a child; the feeling of not quite fitting in and wondering exactly who you are or how to put your check mark in a box that doesn’t accurately reflect your life experience or your family.

The confusion of why we have boxes in the first place.

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Grandma with her granddaughters, great-granddaughters and great-grandson.

Because in our family we’re all different colors and, yes, we’re different ethnic backgrounds too (*cough* like pretty much every American *cough*) but to us that is normal and natural. What is not normal and natural is the idea that one has to choose who you are, and who you identify with.

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Macaroni with Cousin M.

And if you really want to get extra complex with it and throw who someone identifies with culturally, which may not be remotely the same as their ethnic background, it can get so confusing that it’s dizzying.

At the root of all of us, we’re all just people trying to get by in life.

I am an advocate of knowing your history. I am an advocate of being proud of your heritage which includes someone’s ethnic background, country of national origin, etc.

But I don’t advocate labels, or defining people solely as their ethnic background.

In a way, it’s a paradox.

We need to know our history so we know where we come from, but that should not be what defines us solely or even primarily. It’s a part but not the total sum of one’s being.

Sure, my life experiences are related to how I look which is related to my ethnic background. Yes, my ethnic background impacts the way my life is and the way the world sees me, but that’s not just who I am.

I do happily identify as a woman of color, or mixed, black, or however I’m answering the question in that given moment, but that’s not all of me. That’s one part of me. I also love to dance, can’t sing to save my life, prefer things pink and sweet, and am too sensitive for my own good.

How boring would we all be if race was all there was?

To break the cycle that is plaguing humanity we have to start with the children. I try to teach my kids not to describe people by how they look. Instead of “the Asian boy in my class” he should be “the boy who loves birds” or “the guy who is really funny.”

Instead of saying “that [insert physical description here] kid” I try to encourage my kids to find other ways to define people, maybe by what they’re wearing rather than their physical attributes with the exception of hair color which is relatively benign.

The point is to stay away from terms that relate to ethnicity or skinny, fat, or other descriptions that can be hurtful or judgmental. This exercise forces them to think outside the box and really think about the person who they are describing.

Not because I don’t want my children to see ethnic differences because that’s just silly. Ethnic differences are beautiful. We should see ethnic differences and appreciate them.

The whole idea that we should be colorblind may actually be a form of racism, according to Psychology Today, which is why it’s important that we do see and respect them.

What we should not do is allow ethnic differences is to separate us from them, or to be so focused on racial identity that we can’t see or be anything else.

One day, hopefully the standard answer to the question, “what is your race,” will be “human.”

And being green, or any other color under the sun will be just a little bit easier.

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If you look closely at this picture of Macaroni on Halloween last year you’ll notice her neck looks ashy or different. That’s not make-up — that’s eczema. This picture cannot truly capture the degree of eczema that is all over her body. {Click to enlarge the picture for a clearer perspective.}

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I’ve mentioned before my goal of healing Macaroni of her chronic medical issues through food. So far, we’ve done gluten-free, and tried the vegan plant-based diet, which she couldn’t stick to for long and which ultimately may have made her problems worse.

Most recently, we’ve started living like cave girls and roughly following the principles of the Paleo Diet which means no grains (including corn), no gluten/wheat, refined sugar, processed foods, and no legumes, in addition to everything Macaroni is allergic to.

Although she was mildly improved taking those things out of her diet, she still didn’t have the level of healing that I was hoping for. In fact, the first few days were great but she didn’t get that much better.

So, I did what every scientifically minded person does, I went to Facebook. I posted a question about Paleo Diets and whether anyone has success with using them to treat illness.

And then I sat back and waited.

I got a quick response from a friend who suggested that I connect with another Facebook friend who had success with The GAPS Diet. I learned from the other friend that her child’s chronic eczema and food allergies were healed on GAPS, and invited to a GAPS Kids group on Facebook. I was intrigued by what I found there and thought this may be the cure I was looking for.

But, it seemed so complicated and hard and how would I find the time to do it?

I mean, you make everything. EVERYTHING! As much as I want to heal my child, I can barely find the time to put on mascara on a regular basis so how am I going to find the time to make my own yogurt… or hell, to even learn about how to make my own yogurt?

So, I started to read every post and every blog and every anything I could find about GAPS and how to do GAPS and still have a life.

So, what is GAPS?

GAPS stands for Gut and Psychology Syndrome.

{I am no expert by any means, so if you want detailed information please look at the website or purchase the book.}

The premise is that the health of our gut impacts our overall health. People with an imbalance in their gut or “leaky gut syndrome” can suffer from things like food allergies or eczema to more severe conditions like Autism and mental health disorders. The doctor who came up with the diet. Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, healed her son of Autism with this diet.

The diet is designed to heal and balance the gut through gentle healing foods and the introduction of healthy bacteria. It’s a temporary diet that one slowly comes off when they are healed though one can never go back to eating SAD (Standard American Diet).

Some people begin with the Intro Diet, which starts with a very restrictive menu that includes only broths, boiled meats, and specific boiled vegetables, and has several steps were food is slowly added in. The Intro Diet is one path that GAPS people take on the way to healing.

Others jump into full GAPS which is much less restrictive than the Intro Diet and more similar to diets like the Paleo Diet or SCD Diet (Simple Carbohydrate Diet).

One of the foundations for the GAPS Diet is meat or bone broth, fermented foods such as sauerkraut or kefir with every meal, as well as the avoidance of all toxic things. GAPS patients are also encouraged to take probiotics. There’s also an emphasis on getting as natural food as you can find (and afford) meaning organic, and grass-fed or pastured animal products.

So, are we on GAPS?

Well, yes and no. We’re basically on almost but not quite full GAPS.

I have been planning to put Macaroni on the Intro Diet (and to do it with her) but am still learning, researching, and figuring out whether that’s necessary or best for us.

In the meantime, I’ve adopted many GAPS principles. For example, we have fermented foods with every meal in the form of sauerkraut juice or actual sauerkraut. I give Macaroni and Ladybug probiotics, and we have bone broth with every meal and I also use it to cook with.

I am making a concentrated effort to purchase grass-fed beef and pastured chicken and eggs. All the dairy that I consume (because Macaroni is still allergic to dairy) is raw and made from grass-fed milk. I cook with coconut oil, olive oil, and clarified butter or ghee only.

We still avoid gluten, processed crap, grains except for the occasional small amount of white rice (easier to digest than brown rice), and generally avoid legumes. So, we basically just eat meat, vegetables, fruit and starches in the form of sweet potatoes, squashes, and the once in a while red potato.

It sounds extreme and like we don’t have a lot of options but we actually have tons of options and eat really well. The only thing we miss on a regular basis is pizza and there are even GAPS legal pizza crust recipes!

Someone like Macaroni is more limited than others because she is allergic to dairy, all nuts – not just peanuts, coconut (except coconut oil, go figure), seafood and shellfish. Those are all things that someone on full GAPS can have in their diet. Someone on full GAPS can also have fermented brown rice, quinoa, and legumes, all things we currently avoid.

So, for us for the time being, that means no making breads or pizza crusts from coconut flour or almond flour which is a bummber, but c’est la vie.

We have also incorporated things, like detox baths and using magnesium spray nightly, to help our bodies get rid of the toxins they’ve been holding onto so they’ll run more efficiently.

Magically, or maybe as expected, Macaroni is healing. Not only is she healing but it seems like every day she’s a little bit better than the one before!

She can even tell that she’s healing and that healing is more than just her eczema. The eczema is not the illness. The eczema is a symptom of the illness or imbalance. We’re not just trying to treat what may seem like a superficial skin condition here (and it’s WAYYYYYYYYYY more than that) but to heal the root of the problem that causes the eczema.

The eczema is healing, but we’re also having a healing of her spirit too. It makes it easier for her to say no to candy (though she still has her moments) because she wants to punch eczema in the face and stomp asthma’s lights out. She wants to send her food allergies packing with a one-way ticket out of here.

I have to be honest and say that it’s a lot more work. It’s a lot more work.

There is always bone broth on the stove being made and I cook every meal from scratch. It’s hard not being able to order pizza on Friday nights or bringing our own snacks to the movies.

It feels like there are always endless piles of dishes, always grocery shopping, and that I spend so much time planning meals. It’s almost like a second or third job, at times.

Although we ate healthy before, it was not with this level of attention to detail. It matters what the chickens ate, it matters whether there is sugar in sauce, or corn oil, or any other number of things that are included in “healthy” food.

It’s also a lot more expensive. At Costco, you can get five dozen eggs for $7. Pastured raised eggs (soy and corn-free) are $9.99 a dozen. I did a happy dance to find them on sale this week for $7. We have six people in our home. We can go through five dozen eggs in the blink of an eye. Grass-fed beef is at least $6.99 a pound.

Organic produce is also more expensive. Don’t even get me started on how angry it makes me that healthy natural minimally processed food is a luxury when it should be a right.

But the healing is there and it is real!

For the first time, real true healing.

It is worth the extra effort to make our own candies to bring to parties, or to adjust the budget to accommodate for the increased cost of food. It is worth every effort and every moment even the uncomfortable ones or the emotionally draining ones. It is worth the endless piles of dishes, and the hours spent reading about GAPS or detoxing.

I am not sure where we’re going on this path but I know that I see health and for the first time I feel confident that one day she will be fully healed.

And all of this will just be a memory and something that made us stronger.

Like so many other mothers, when the doctors didn’t help me, I had to believe that there was a way and that my child would not be doomed to suffer. I had to trust that she would be healed; that I would be able to heal her.

It is in healing that we rebuild ourselves and realize that our weaknesses were just lessons to show us how strong we really are.

Photo Credit: Anthony Sims

Photo Credit: Anthony Sims

Greenwood.

“Greenwood is a neighborhood in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Greenwood was one of the  most successful and wealthiest African American communities in the United States during the early 20th Century, it was popularly known as America’s “Black Wall Street” until the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921.” – Wikipedia 

This weekend we participated in Baking on Health: A Journey to Greenwood – an event where children recreated Greenwood and learned about the history of this time period, as well as a lesson on economics and health.

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The children participating started by learning about Greenwood and the history behind it and becoming their own business people and residents of Greenwood. The focus was not on the race riots or mass murders of the African American residents of Greenwood but rather on the success of the community.

All the kids got to pick what kind of store they wanted to operate. Macaroni decided she wanted to sell kids toys and accessories.

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There was a bakery, a cupcake shop, a vintage clothing store, a restaurant, a farmer “selling” real organic and locally farmed veggies inlcuding things he grew himself.

There was also a beauty parlor and barber shop, a dress shop, an ice cream parlor, a bar (selling only healthy non-alcoholic beverages), a bookstore, a doctor’s office, a newspaper stand, a grocery store, and a bank. There may have been other shops but those are what I remember.

Visitors came into the event and went to the bank where they opened accounts with the Greenwood Bank and were provided with information on teaching money management skills to kids and were given Greenwood dollars to spend at the event. This was all free to the public to attend.

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Everyone, including some of the patrons, wore period clothing and hairstyles to really get the feeling for the times.

Macaroni and some of the other girls complained about their aprons and the practicality of playing in aprons and long dresses, but they were so adorable.

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People came to the various booths (that the children made with limited adult assistance) and used their Greenwood greenies to purchase items. The shop keepers were responsible for helping people choose products, providing information on their wears, and giving back change.

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There was even an investment firm whose industrious teenage CEO went around to the various vendors offering the “lend” them money with interest. The shop keepers had to consider whether the investment from the investor was worth the cost of the interest.

I’m happy to say Macaroni said, “no thank you” to the investor because she didn’t want to pay him $5 to borrow $15 when her business was booming. She’s a smart one – my girl!

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The real-life San Francisco community also got to taste healthy food, get samples of healthy products, and to learn a little bit about history. The cost, just a little time and nothing more.

The children reaped the true benefit of the event. Not only did they get to learn history and have fun making booths and items to sell, dressing in costume and selling, but they also earned real dollars for the time they invested in making the event happen. So the lesson on wisely earning and spending money continues beyond the event.

I think that it’s really important for communities to have these types of events that are not only free but fun and educational. It’s important for all of us to understand not only where we come from but also the history of this country that so many of us call home.

We are taught in schools that African Americans were slaves, but we don’t learn about Greenwood or William Leidesdorff, or any number of highly successful people of color who helped build this country. Who were wealthy. Who had influence and educations, spoke multiple languages and were well traveled.

We, people of color, were more than just slaves, or miners, or railroad builders, or wild savages. We’ve done more than write hymns, create dynamite, teach Pilgrims how to farm, or lead folks to freedom.

We, all colors of the rainbow, helped to build this country brick by brick.

And we’ve forgotten who we are, who we have been, and who we could be.

Banking on Health: A Journey to Greenwood was a nice reminder that we need to remember the past and make it relevant to the present and continue the lessons in the future.

This event was also a nice reminder that it’s important to teach children not only about how to be healthy but also how to handle money and make money work for them – not the other way around. We aren’t born knowing how to manage money. The fact that there is so much consumer debt, so many pay day loan companies, subprime lenders, and so many in poverty is not just about the economics of this country but the way individual families and communities relate to money.

If we give our children the tools and knowledge on how to manage money and build wealth, we’re giving them a skill that help them throughout life and help our communities.

Mad props to Josefa Perez and her team for all the love and energy they poured into this event.

No history, no self. Know history, know self.

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Flashback Friday

Macaroni and Brother, approx. 2006.

My brother and me.


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I have been a single mom on and off for at least half, if not more, of the time I’ve been a mom. Without fail, every year on Father’s Day someone has wished me a Happy Father’s Day.

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And I hate it.

On Father’s Day I noticed all sorts of posts on my Facebook feed by and to single mothers  proclaiming to the world that single mothers are both mom and dad. Rather than start a debate that I know would offend some, I didn’t post anything that day but I sure thought about it.

I think the idea of celebrating mothers on Father’s Day is wrong for so many reasons.

Mothers Have A Holiday – It’s Called Mother’s Day

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In May we celebrate Mother’s Day. That’s a day that, you know, is set aside to celebrate mothers.

It’s a day when Hallmark reminds us all to do something nice for mom, and we have brunches with mimosas, flowers, etc.

All mothers can be acknowledged on Mother’s Day and it’s a time when everyone can say, “Yes, we know it’s hard but you’re doing a great job, keep up the good work!”

Fathers Are Important

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Not all dads are deadbeats. Let’s just start with that. Father’s Day is about them.

But, equally important, by saying that a woman can be both mom and dad (which is scientifically impossible unless you’re a seahorse) we’re telling our children that dads aren’t necessary. Dads are replaceable by moms.

While women can and do raise children on their own and do it well, we’re not able to replace dads or the want of a child for a father or male role model.

I’m sorry, but have you ever tried to talk to your son about his penis?

While I know what they do, it’s really hard to discuss something that you have no actual first hand knowledge of. It’s kind of like talking to someone about what it’s like to drive a car when you’ve never driven one. While in theory you may know how one drives a car, you don’t actually know how to drive one.

I also feel like this is another subconscious way to continue to send the message to men that  it’s okay to skip out on responsibility because women can do it all. It’s like saying, “No dad, that’s cool, mom can be dad too.”

This just isn’t true.

Fathers (or father-like figures) are needed and important.

There is no child on Earth who doesn’t want to have a mother and a father (or at least male and female role models).

Again, this doesn’t take away from the fact that children can be raised happily and healthy with only a mom, or only a dad, or two moms or two dads. By the same vein, it doesn’t take away from the fact that children need male and female influences in their lives.

End of story.

Sometimes Single Mothers Have More Support Than Mothers With Partners

Yep, I said it. I went there.

Sometimes single mothers have more support than married mothers. Just because someone is married doesn’t mean that the father (or partner) is an active parent or their situation is easier than a house without a male in it.

I know single mothers who have extended family who help with childcare, as my family did (and does) for me.

I know single mothers who get long weekends with no kids, who receive significant financial support (via child support or other sources), and who have a network of other parents and friends to lean on.

I also know married mothers who have no true support when it comes to the raising of the kids, who are the sole-bread winners, and so on.

Sure, something can be said about picking a partner who isn’t a hands-on parent or is just a total douche but that’s really a topic for another day.

There are non-single moms who have little to no support. That sucks just as much as being a single parent.

Or maybe the mom is married but has a special needs child (or children) that require twenty-four hour care and special food, medical treatment, etc. The simple reality is that having another adult in the house doesn’t inherently mean that parenting is easier.

Like I know first hand what it’s like being a single mom, I know this first hand as well.

It’s Not A Competition

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Being a mom isn’t a competition. Being a mom or being a parent period is hard work.

We should all be acknowledged and appreciated for the hard work that we put into raising our children whether we are a single mom, a single dad, two moms, or two dads. It’s work and it’s hard. It’s damn hard work.

Sometimes it is lonely. Sometimes you are judged. Sometimes you feel like you’re doing it all wrong and no one knows what you’re going through.

We all have our moments and we all feel that at times.

We all probably have moments when we don’t feel appreciated enough for the work that we do raising our kids. This isn’t something that is exclusive for single moms or single dads.

We all also do the best that we can do with the life and challenges that we are given.

And we kick ass.

The Moral of My Rant

I don’t intend to offend single mothers (or anyone). I know how hard it is.

I can empathize with wanting the acknowledgement that one is carrying a weight that would lighter if placed on two.

{To all the single parents if anyone hasn’t told you you’re awesome recently, I will. You are.}

I guess I don’t get the idea or need to be acknowledged on Father’s Day — a day that should be about celebrating fathers and not twisted into some negative reminder that some people don’t have active, present or living fathers.

I don’t see the single dads making a big fuss (or anyone making a big fuss for them) on Mother’s Day. I haven’t seen a single single dad proclaim to be mom and dad both.

Maybe us single moms still hold onto a certain level of guilt and hurt. Maybe it’s time that we realize and own those feelings and emotions and then let them go. ‘Cause, baby, life ain’t fair for any of us and that’s just the way it is.

We weren’t promised rose gardens, or great parenting partners, or even tomorrow.

Feel it, accept it, release it and move on.

Instead of each Father’s Day focusing on the fact that the father of a child may be absent for whatever reason, instead focus on celebrating the good father figures or men in the world.

Or focus on the kids and be reminded of what a blessing they are. You know all you do for them. Let that be enough.

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My first memory of my Grandma Helen happened in this house. I was walking up the stairs and could see her cat outside the window. I remember tiny glass bottles in the windowsill.

We celebrated Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Hanukkah in this house.

I had my baby-shower for Omari in this house, and a slumber party where we watched Dirty Dancing and froze the VCR to try to catch a glimpse of Patrick Swayze’s naked butt on the television.

My 8th grade graduation party happened in this yellow house. We danced and my teenage cousin, Mwanza, chaperoned and told me that under no circumstances was I to sit on William’s lap.

So William and I went outside to sneak and kiss in the laundry room.

My grandparents argued at dinner around the huge oval glass table in this house. My grandmother would often remember stories differently than my grandfather who would interrupt saying, “No, Helen, that’s not what happened.”

We laughed in that house. We cried in that house. We watched fireworks and the bridge and life.

In fact, when we were younger we used binoculars to snoop on the neighbors.

Life.

We lived in that house.

We were a family in that house.

But in life all things change.

My grandmother recently sold her home. The only home that’s ever been a constant in my life (and likely many of my cousins’ lives). She bought it when I was nine months old and lived in it up until shortly after my grandfather died two years ago.

It’s funny the way that we can be attached to material things, like a gold locket inherited from an aunt, or a collector car that someone’s dad once owned, or a book.

Or a house.

This old San Francisco Victorian house with huge backyard and view of the city that kept us warm and together. The house where roses always seemed to be in bloom.

It’s funny how this one act – my grandmother selling her home –  has remind me that I am older. I never imagined not having special holidays in this house. I never imagined not being a family in this house, and how the only constant “home” I have ever known will be someone else’s.

Likely some hipster family who will strip the vintage uber cool wallpaper, drink espressos on the balcony, and bulldoze the bottom half of the house to make parking for their European or eco-friendly cars.

But hopefully they will keep the roses.

Because it seemed like the roses were always in bloom and have you ever heard of a garden with roses that are always in bloom?

Surely it must be a magical garden, the soil still rich with the love and energy that my grandfather planted and tended it with.

And hopefully they will build a family there, in the house that was my grandmother’s house. And hopefully they will love in that house, and throw tinsel on each other while decorating the tree on Christmas Eve.

Maybe sometimes they’ll argue over the dinner table because one of them doesn’t remember the story the same way as the other. And they will live, and be a family. In this house.

That was our house.

That is now their house.

Ladybug and I said goodbye to the house, and the roses, and the wallpaper. We sat in the garden and we laughed and smiled. We closed the door one last time and walked out with our memories and the reminder that life goes on. It’s really the memories that bind us to things – not the things themselves.

None of us will ever forget the house or the time that we spent there as a family.

Because you can close the door on a house, but you can’t close the door on family, or love.