Saturday, August 29, 2015

Mother of the Bride

My daughter is getting married next month and like every Mom I am filled with a mix of emotions.  It’s hard to believe that my little girl is now a grown woman ready to start her own family.  It does feel like only yesterday when I brought her home from the hospital.  As a scared new Mom, I had no idea what I was doing.  I can still feel the warmth of that sweet little body as I lay her on my chest.  How can it be possible that my little baby girl is getting married?

Raising a daughter is an incredibly hard job, especially when that daughter is a very bright and independent young lady.  We have always had a close relationship, but I have to admit the teenage years were a struggle.  Rachael is a bundle of never-ending energy, and she constantly amazes me.  I am really enjoying our new found adult relationship, and I enjoy our fun telephone conversations. 

As the wedding date approaches, we are consumed with all the details; paying for the caterer, paying for the photographer, choosing and paying for the flowers, planning the bridal shower, etc.  Weddings can be stressful (and expensive adding even more stress) so it’s easy to lose sight of what’s important.  In the middle of all the planning and expense, the worries over who has sent their RSVP yet, or which centerpieces will look the best on the tables, its important to take some time and remember what a special event this is in her life. 

I expect there will be some tears as I watch my daughter say “I do” to her groom, but they won’t be tears of sadness.  She is ready to start this wonderful new journey in her life and I am so grateful that I get to be there.  All of the attention will be on Rachael & David, as it should be, but I know that being the Mother-of-the-Bride is also pretty special.  She may be a beautiful bride to everyone else, but to me she will always be my baby.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

The 14th Amendment – My perspective

There has been a great deal in the news lately about the 14th Amendment.  Several political figures have grabbed headlines by demanding that we do away with something called “Birthright Citizenship” which is a right granted to all Americans through the 14th Amendment to the Constitution.

For those of you a little rusty on your high school civics, the 14th Amendment to the Constitution was ratified on July 9, 1868, and granted citizenship to “all persons born or naturalized in the United States,” which included former slaves recently freed. In addition, it forbids states from denying any person "life, liberty or property, without due process of law" or to "deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” The Fourteenth Amendment provides that children born in the United States become American citizens regardless of the citizenship of their parents.

The exact language of the Amendment is lengthy, but section 1 states:
All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

According to the New York Times, “Several G.O.P. candidates, including Chris Christie, Ted Cruz, Lindsey Graham, Bobby Jindal, Rand Paul, Rick Santorum and Scott Walker, have joined Donald Trump in calling for an end to this rule (of birthright citizenship) — or at the very least questioning it — as part of their immigration platforms.”

Instead of addressing the specific issue of illegal immigration and offering solutions, these candidates are now even questioning the legal status of individuals born here.  The absurd irony of this conversation is that some of these candidates were themselves the beneficiary of the Birthright Citizenship.

I have had a few conversations with my own father, who also enjoyed the benefit of Birthright Citizenship.  My paternal grandmother emigrated here from Ireland.  She did have a required visa to visit, but she stayed well beyond the time limit of her visa; in fact, she never actually left.  After arriving here, she became pregnant with and had my father, but she was not a citizen at the time.  My father is a first generation American.  He fought in World War II and later became a New York City Police Detective.  My father is in the group that is often referred to as the ‘Greatest Generation’.  He is also what many have called ‘Anchor babies.’  He is not what many would typically think of when discussing anchor babies, but nonetheless, he is one, and so are millions of other Americans whose families came here looking for a better life.  There are no exact counts on the number of U.S. children with parents who are in the U.S. illegally.  

Many politicians have speculated about this desire to have children in the U.S. so they will become citizens, and they claim it is driving our out of control immigration problem, but the evidence does not seem to support this idea.  If having a baby was a significant driving factor in illegal immigration, you would expect to see a higher percentage of women of child-bearing age in the U.S. illegally compared to men of the same age. In fact, just the opposite is the case. Numbers from the Pew Hispanic Center show that in four separate age ranges between 20 and 40, undocumented men significantly outnumber undocumented women.

Living in Arizona, the issue of immigration comes up often in conversations.  There are a multitude of opinions, but if we look back at our 200+ years as a nation we can clearly see that immigration is a huge part of our history.  Not only was my father a first generation American, but my mother was only a second generation American.  We do need to address the problem of illegal immigration, but denying citizenship to those born here is not the answer.  It is important to understand that the 14th Amendment was added specifically to ensure the rights of former slaves who were denied citizenship.  Despite the political posturing and rhetoric, changing the Constitution would require a two-thirds vote in Congress, then ratification from three-fourths of state legislatures.  Challenging and overturning this amendment is not only a highly unlikely and very difficult task, but it would be a huge leap backward for our country. 

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

My Top 10 Wedding Movies

My daughter is getting married next month, so I have weddings on the brain.  As every wedding movie shows us, it is fun and extremely stressful to plan a wedding, not to mention expensive.  As the wedding draws near, I can’t help but think about some of my very favorite wedding movies.  Here is a list of my top 10 wedding movies of all time;

1.   Father of the Bride - This is my all time favorite Wedding Movie.  Hilarious and so sweet, Steve Martin takes us on a roller coaster ride of emotions as he deals with his daughter’s upcoming wedding.  I dare you to watch this movie and not cry at the ending.

2.  My Best Friend’s Wedding - Julia Roberts at her very best, this adorable movie has some of the finniest moments of any wedding movie.

3.  Bride Wars – What could possibly compare to a wedding at the famed Plaza Hotel? 
4.  Steel Magnolias - I know it’s not specifically a wedding movie, but the wedding was a huge part of the story.  Who could ever forget Shelby’s wedding colors of ‘Blush & Bashful’ or that horrible red velvet Armadillo Groom’s cake? This is one of my favorite crying movies, so grab the tissues and enjoy!

5.  Runaway Bride - What is it about Julia Roberts and Wedding movies? She has a way of bringing out the romantic in all of us. 
6.  27 Dresses  – I am a mushy romantic at heart, and I simply love this movie.  It’s worth watching for the collection of Bridesmaids dresses alone. I have to admit; I had quite a few hanging in my closet – including a horrid Lavender one with big puffy sleeves.

7.  The Proposal– This movie is worth it just to see Betty White’s performance.   
8.  The Wedding Singer  – Drew Barrymore & Adam Sandler! Enough said, right?

9. The Wedding Date– Yeah, this one barely made the list, but there is something really cute about this movie, and who couldn’t relate to the pressure to have a date for a wedding, just so your family will leave you alone.  
10.  The Princess Bride   – Last but certainly not least, a list of wedding movies isn’t complete without Wessley & Buttercup.  It is impossible to go to a wedding and not think about the priest saying, “Mawwiage, Mawwiage is what bwings us together”