Friday, May 18, 2018

A Mother’s Take: Affirmation

The power of affirmations was never more evident to me than this past week, as my youngest son, Stefen, continued to struggle to find a job. He had sent out hundreds of résumés, filled out countless applications and had been on a number of interviews. We practiced interview questions, reached out to people for internships and had reminders all over the house of his dream to first work at a bank and then work at an escrow company.
The only job offer he received just recently came from AFLAC. He thought it was going to be a credit analyst position, but it was a sales job. So, after almost a year of searching, I could feel his confidence beginning to wane. He didn’t want a sales job, but if nobody would hire him, should he accept this offer? I encouraged him to listen to his heart, not settle for something he thought would make him miserable waking up each morning to go to work. He decided not to take the job...[READ MORE]

Friday, April 20, 2018

A Mother’s Take: Road Trip

Recently, my husband, Tad, and I took a trip with my brother, Marty, to Las Vegas to celebrate the birthday and retirement of a second cousin. As I get older, these long drives aren’t as much fun as they used to be. All of us (except the driver) are on our smartphones reading emails, playing a game or watching a video. The time goes by fast, but something feels missing. We don’t talk and connect with each other now that we can be entertained by technology.
At Barstow, my husband asked for a driver change, and my brother volunteered to drive the rest of the way to Vegas. Then Tad asked, “Who is going to sit in the front seat while Marty drives? Tad looked directly at me with eyes that said ‘your turn,’ since I had been in the backseat catching up on emails. I happily said, “I will.”
As Marty was driving, I put away my phone, and we began to talk about our childhood. I laughed about the time he hit me over the head with the butt of his cowboy pistol — I still have a dent in my head! He learned this from watching Westerns on television.
I paused for a moment and wondered what other things young kids are learning from television, movies and the Internet that are not good, as I rubbed the dent in my head...[READ MORE]

Friday, March 23, 2018

A Mother's Take: Living in Hope

I always believe that when things repeat in my life, it’s a sign that I need to pay attention. Recently, I met a young artist named Jason Chu, who talked about the difference between someone performing and a true artist. He defined a true artist as one who vulnerably creates his or her work. I didn’t truly understand what he was trying to say until Aiden shared with me a song he thought I would like.
Last month, Aiden and I were booked to give the keynote for a huge speaking event — our largest one ever. About 900 people were gathering for an interfaith and intercultural breakfast. I was nervous on two levels: first, because of the sheer number of people we were addressing, and secondly, because it was going to be a large number of churches, temples, and non-LGBTQ organizations.
The California Conference for Equality and Justice (CCEJ) was the host organization, and it wanted to introduce the topic of being transgender to groups and individuals, many who knew very little about the subject. It was going to be a different audience than what we are used to speaking to... [READ MORE]

Friday, February 23, 2018

A Mother’s Take: Living in Hope

As many of you might be aware already, I have been appointed to the Biden Foundation’s LGBTQ Equality Advisory Council. When I first got the call, I was both surprised and honored to even be considered. Then, I saw the list of council members, and I was also very intimidated because many of the names are amazing activists for the LGBTQ community.
Some people see me as an activist as well, but I still consider myself, first, as a mother who loves her sons. And though the work I do most visibly is for the LGBTQ community, I always feel that my voice is also supporting the Nikkei and API communities. Therefore, I am working to make the world safer for both Aiden and Stefen.
My first conference call as an official member of the Biden Foundation was a short one … 15 minutes. It was basically a welcome call from former Vice President Joe Biden. Listening to him, I felt so motivated to go out and do more, not afraid of what others are saying, but lifting my vision higher and believing I have the power to make a difference...Read More

Friday, January 26, 2018

A Mother’s Take: Still I Can Do Something

It is a new year! Time to let go of 2017 and look forward to 2018. If 2017 was a good year, then we hope for the same in 2018. If 2017 was a bad year, we’re glad it is over and hope that 2018 will be better.
Ironically, I started my column using the words “good” and “bad,” yet I have learned that putting labels on events determines my perception of what has occurred. Last year, I put a lot of “bad” labels on things because of our political climate and the deaths that seemed to be coming at a faster and more frequent pace. Both scare me. This year, I am determined to focus my attention on just seeing the good in more things and finding wisdom in events.
Here are a couple of stories that have inspired me so far in 2018.
I was first moved by a story my son told me. Aiden works at a charter school for dropout recovery students. These students are behind in credits for various reasons: they have parents who are incarcerated, they have been expelled, they are teen parents or they have families living with financial challenges...[read more]

Friday, December 15, 2017

A Mother’s Take: A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes

Every year for the past few years, our family has entered the holiday season looking forward to a day together at Disneyland. It all started because Aiden and Mary love the “Magic Kingdom” so much, and it’s a place Stefen didn’t mind taking a friend to. I wanted to share something that everyone could enjoy, and I loved having both of my sons present with their wife, girlfriend or roommates. It was a time to tell stories, laugh and be together in a place of childhood wonder.
This year, since I knew the theme for this issue is all about hope, healing and harmony, I thought I would use the backdrop of our Disneyland trip to find inspiration in my writing. Here are the thoughts that flowed through me as we wandered through our “Annual Disney Family Day.” - Read more.

Friday, November 17, 2017

A Mother’s Take: A Lesson From Stefen

Many years ago, I was in a meeting with parents and our preteen children, sharing about our relationship with each other. It started off to be just a normal meeting until my younger son, Stefen, who is normally very private, suddenly blurted out to the group that his mom yells at him a lot. This was in a meeting with families that I did not know well.
I could feel my face become red with shame, unsure of what to say or how to react. Do I discount how he feels in front of his peers or try to explain away his comment? Fortunately, Aiden was also part of that meeting and said something like, “Whose mother are you talking about? My mother hardly yells at all.” My face went from red to light pink, but I sat there in disbelief, unable to process anything that was said after Stefen’s comment...Read more.