Happy birthday to my threenager!

FeiFei-newborn-three

Fei Fei at two days old (L) and almost three (R).

Our daughter’s third birthday is upon us soon, and I love celebrating her arrival into the world and our lives. I’m not much of a party person but we’re having a small gathering in her honor this weekend. She told me she wanted an alien-themed party which surprised me since all she ever sings or wants to watch is Paw Patrol. I returned the Paw Patrol party décor for solar system banners and found glow-in-the dark aliens to top her cake. I hope she feels as special as she is when she wakes up to aliens everywhere on Sunday! She’s our talkative, stubborn, curious, sing-out-loud three-year-old who rules this house with the pout of her lips. Fei Fei makes me laugh the hardest, love the deepest and can frustrate the hell out of me like no other. I can’t believe how fast three years of life has come and gone. My baby is a baby no more. Continue reading

I miscarried a year ago. I’m ready to share my story

I was triggered by a recent news article about singer Lily Allen temporarily leaving Twitter because faceless cowards attacked her for losing her child. Someone on Twitter called Allen mentally ill because he/she didn’t like Allen’s criticism of anti-immigrant policies; Allen agreed that she was mentally ill and described being bi-polar, depressed and experiencing post-traumatic stress after delivering her stillborn son in 2010. Instead of empathy, the Twitter abusers blamed Allen for her baby’s death at which point she stepped away.  Continue reading

The gap between me then, now and someday

I didn’t realize how different of a person I’ve become until I had coffee with a former People coworker who is now a media executive at a different company. I opted out of corporate nearly 4 years ago when I moved to Singapore and started a family. Meanwhile, my former peer, who I’ll call Lillian, is a working mom and continued her career. When I put a date on the calendar, I was aware Lillian was more of a work friend, but we had an easy professional relationship so I didn’t go into the meeting with much of an agenda. At the breakfast, she was as gracious and open as I remembered but the stark contrast in her ability to carry a conversation in business terms with confidence compared to my knowledge of singing the ABCs like Alpha Pig on Super Why had me feeling embarrassed. I simply showed up as SAHM me, and I felt like she really showed up and was prepared for LIFE. Continue reading

Happy birthday to me!

maibday3

Happy 3rd Birthday Mai! Pictured behind me is a homemade apricot blossom tree that my mom made for Lunar New Year. She used crepe paper to make yellow buds and taped yellow flowers to tree branches that she found outside. I’m named after the mai flower that blooms in South Vietnam every new year.  I’d also like to note the bangs that I cut myself when I somehow got my hands on scissors.

As a child, my family usually marked birthdays with homemade Duncan Hines yellow cake and chocolate frosting and a round of “Happy Birthday.” My Grandma always mailed each of us a card with birthday money that she signed “Lots of love, Grandma.” Sometimes our grandparents (who were church members that befriended my parents) would invite us over to their house for Little Caesar’s pizza and soda. I don’t remember presents (most likely because we couldn’t afford them), but my mouth still waters thinking about that greasy, hot pepperoni pizza and cake and ice cream.  Continue reading

My parents were refugees

immigrationbanprotest-mai

I attended the Immigration Ban Protest in Battery Park.

I owe my parents my life, but specifically this life that I live in the United States of America. They changed the future of our family when they fled Vietnam after the fall of Saigon, making me the first American in our family when I was born in Peoria, Ill. Growing up in the Midwest, which was not particularly diverse, I often wondered what life would have been like if my family stayed in Vietnam.

Continue reading

A thank you to strong, kind women

While my friend Janet Mock inspired marchers with her honest, pointed speech at the Women’s March in Washington D.C. on Saturday, I took my daughter to a birthday party. My neighbor Angelie, who I met through a mutual friend, invited me to join her 5-year-old’s birthday celebration. My friend Vicki suggested I ask my husband to take Fei Fei so I could march with her in NYC. I considered it, but I wanted to take Fei Fei to the party and let Angelie know that I appreciated her inclusiveness.  Continue reading