Today I am happy to introduce Jason, Anne, and their adorable boys! Anne explores how multiracial children don’t always look the way people expect, and shares what it is like having multiracial children that others often assume are Caucasian. I also enjoyed hearing about their family life and the benefits for Anne and her husband of
working in the same office. To hear more about Anne and Jason’s family, you can check out their blog, Our Adventures in LaLa Land and Beyond – it is chock full of photos, too!
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Tell us about your family. Who are the members of your family? What makes you a multiracial/multicultural family?
We are Jason and Anne with our two boys Keane, 2.5 years, and Gehrig, 1 year old. We live in Los Angeles and both work in the marketing department of a major movie and TV studio (No, we didn’t meet at work, that all transpired after). We also at one point had talent agents and were pursuing acting as a big chunk of people in LA do.
Jason is Caucasian, but his background is Italian, German, and Scottish. If he had to pick a group to be associated with he would tell you he is Italian without hesitation. His mom is very Italian looking with brown hair, brown eyes and olive skin. My husband as you can see has blue eyes, and very fair skin. Like our boys, he doesn’t look much like his mother either! 🙂
I am Anne. I’m Filipino and I was born in the Philippines but I moved her when I was 9 and became a California girl. Being from the Philippines, I am a product of Imperialism and my background is Native Filipino, Spanish and “American.” To explain that last one, my great grandfather was a Caucasian soldier from Arkansas and was sent to the Philippines during the Spanish American war, and he had roots from England. My Spanish roots can be traced back to Sevilla, Spain. My dad is for the most part Filipino looking but happens to have a very defined nose bridge (as many Filipinos don’t). My mom on the other hand does not look Filipina at all. She is what Filipinos refer to as Mistiza (and yes, Filipinos spell mestiza with an “i”), a woman that is very fair, very European looking of mixed descent. I look very Filipino.
My boys at first glance look very Caucasian and have no hints of looking Filipino to a typical passerby. The recessive genes in my DNA that are nowhere to be seen on my face or skin tone seem to have partnered with my husband’s and decided to have a party and show up in both of my kids. I do have family members that tell me that my older one reminds them a lot of what I looked like as a toddler or what my brother looked like as a toddler, but definitely the Caucasian version. I didn’t think it was possible for me to have a child more Caucasian looking than my oldest, but ha, was I very wrong. My younger son was born with strawberry blond hair and extremely fair skin, although he has gotten a little darker in comparison to what he looked like when he was first born. For the most part however many people who don’t know us will assume that I am their hired care giver as opposed to their mother.
What does your family enjoy doing for fun or to spend time together?
My husband and I both are at the office all day so any time we spend with the kids we don’t take for granted. Because we work together, we also have the good fortune that on a normal day, we all carpool and drop the kids off at daycare. The drive to and from daycare/work is always filled with laughter, whether it be the boys singing to the music, dancing or clapping out of nowhere when we are listening to our radio shows. WE LOVE THAT TIME TOGETHER. At night, after dinner and baths, we all hang out in the family room together and play trains until their bedtime. It’s so simple but those moments my husband and I EAT UP because it makes us so happy, and we know these toddler moments will disappear in a blink of an eye. Nothing fancy, just the boys, mommy and daddy and trains. That is a perfect weeknight evening for us, and we couldn’t ask for anything more.
What do you and your husband do to keep your relationship strong?
We are fortunate in that we work for the same company, so we do get to spend a lot of time together that most working couples don’t. Just about every lunch is a “date” lunch, even if it means us running errands. We do really enjoy that we work together. People always ask us, “how is that” or “I could never work with my spouse I would go crazy.” But we actually really love it. I feel very fortunate that we see each other all the time.
We also are really good about communicating how we feel. Whether it be happy, sad, angry or hurt. We do it talking, text, IM, email, you name it. We don’t hold back how we feel and are and usually do a good job of talking our issues out. We honestly HATE being mad at each other, and can only last a few hours before the walls break down and peace talks begin. I know cheesy right? But that’s how we are.
What do you and your husband disagree or argue about most?
That the Lakers are awesome (me) and the Knicks suck (me again). 😉
What is the most fabulous thing about your boys?
They are sweet, smart, funny, and gorgeous! I always had envisioned myself with a little girl, but they are definitely my two boys that I never knew I always wanted. I cannot stress how much joy they bring me. Everything thing they do is magical, even if it means a time out for them afterwards. 🙂 They both make us laugh and smile every single day of the year. They seriously amaze us constantly.
Does your family have any special traditions or celebrations related to your cultural heritage?
In the Philippines there is a title of respect when you address an elder brother or sister. An older brother (or even cousin) is referred to as Kuya (coo-ya) and in the feminine it’s Ate (A-teh). We have been addressing my older son as Kuya so that the younger one will know to address him by that as opposed to his first name. I guess it’s a bit similar to the way everyone in the south is taught to say “Yes Ma’am” or “Yes Sir” as a sign of respect to people who they interact with that are older. The Grandparents are called Lolo and Lola on my Filipino side, and Nonno and Nonna on my husband’s side (Italian).
During the holidays is when most of the traditions come out. During Christmas Eve, my side celebrates “Noche Buena” in which we eat a very late dinner and stay up until midnight to open presents. On his side, we also celebrate Italian Christmas Eve dinner (on an adjusted date) which includes a ton of seafood! This year my Filipino family was invited to their dinner and we all had so much fun, and had big seafood filled bellies at the end.
Have you had any difficult or negative experiences related to being a multiracial family?
The biggest issue I come across is the fact that my children look more Caucasian than interracial. I have been mistaken for the nanny multiple times when I’m out with my boys sans my husband, and my interaction with them evokes a lot of stares. People tend to do a double take when my older son calls me Mommy. I guess it’s a natural assumption, but one that I find really insulting depending on my mood. I did meet someone who is Caucasian whose husband is Chinese with a very Chinese looking biological son, and she often gets asked “What country did you adopt him from.” Knowing that it happens to other moms too is a bit of a comfort. One time I was at our pediatrician’s waiting room with my 2 year old, and a mom was talking to me and asked me if he was my son, and I said yes, and she asked me if my husband was Caucasian and I said yes! I was so excited as she ASKED me, she didn’t make the assumption that I was help.
Also, as an actor, I was submitted a few times to “mother and child” castings. Since both my children look very different from me (aka different skin color), we’ve never been cast together. I have worked on the casting side though, so I know the logic as to why they wouldn’t cast us as one family. It still doesn’t mean that I don’t find it frustrating. Hopefully in the next few years, the tide will turn on that one.
What else would you like to tell us about your family?
Everyday, despite our challenges, I feel so fortunate and blessed that I have this family that I have and that I always dreamed of having. Sometimes I feel like I have to pinch myself because I do feel truly blessed to have what I have.
If your family is interested in participating in a future Spotlight, I’d
love to hear from you! Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org