Well, Irish, Chinese, Korean, German, and Czech with a dash of Cherokee Indian thrown into the mix for good measure.
In other words, he’s an American.
Today might be St. Patrick’s Day (in China, anyway) but I’m thinking a lot more about America than Ireland for some reason.
Whenever I live overseas I always feel more grateful to be an American, to be from a place where it doesn’t matter what you look like, what language you speak, what religion you practice, or don’t. A place where it doesn’t matter where your parents come from or how much money you make. If you live in America long enough, you become one, if not legally, then in spirit. America truly its one of the few places in the world where, when you are in America, you can’t tell who is an American just by looking at them. (Granted it’s easy to pick us out overseas, we walk differently-we really, really do!)
America is not perfect, far from it; but I love that, in our country, thousands of people can occupy city parks without bloodshed, that journalists can write whatever they like about political leaders and political policies without fear of retribution.
America has problems. We have poor people, we suffer from entrenched practices of discrimination, racism, classism and sexism. We do horrible things to our environment, we fight wars we shouldn’t, life is too hard for too many working class families. Even so, I love that there are thousands of Americans who dedicate their lives to solving these problems, people who think they might have the solutions and then go out and make them happen.
American do-gooders don’t have to worry about government paranoia, about being shut down, sent to jail for their work, or far worse. On the contrary, they are some of the most highly regarded people in our society, though admittedly, not the most well-paid. I love that Americans have a tradition of wanting to make things better, brighter, faster and more beautiful. I love that wealth comes with a certain societal expectation to give at least some of it away to worthy causes.
I love that my friends are liberal, conservative, religious, agnostic, gay, straight, and come in all varieties of colors, shapes, and sizes. I love that American children boast proudly about how many ethnicities they hail from rather than how long their ancestors have called the United States home. I love that pizza, burritos, soft pretzels, a bowl of pho, and a greek salad are all “American” food. I love that we don’t all look the same, talk the same or believe the same things and that we don’t have to.
And I love that my son, my little man, will grow up celebrating St. Patrick’s Day and Chinese New Year and Christmas and the 4th of July. He’ll learn to eat with chopsticks and a fork and knife, and hopefully he will grow up unable to fathom why some countries treat woman as second class citizens, or why some nations won’t let two men marry one another if they want to.
If we’re lucky and we raise him right, he’ll inherit that uniquely American sense of self-reliance, a dash of disregard for the status quo, and the belief that he can make the world a better place if he puts his mind, heart and soul to work hard enough for it.
Because our son is lucky enough to hail from the land of the free and the home of the brave, and anything is possible where we come from.
Oh yea, and Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Maybe I need to get out from behind my pulpit here and go settle down now with a nice frothy pint of Guinness!
And on a less patriotic note, seriously the baby’s hair seems to be going red. I thought it might be going brown and then bam! I take all of these photos and the evidence in undeniable. I sound incredulous but I kind of love it, he looks so much like his Grandma Smith must have as a baby!