Our Wedding Day ~ August 21, 1993
I do! And then some!
I now pronounce you…
I had to make our cake topper because
interracial cake toppers didn’t exist 20 years ago
Filled with joy!
Jamie and I NEVER imagined 21 years ago, on that fateful day on the freeway, that this month, we would be celebrating 20 years of marriage! The odds were not only stacked against us, they were piled high! However, through it ALL, we grew more in love, created a beautiful life and raised a loving family.
Even though in our eyes we are just a couple, to society we are an interracial couple. We deal with so much more than couples that are of the same race. Sometimes it’s mind boggling. We could have easily walked away all those years ago and decided that it wasn’t worth the extra struggle to move forward in a relationship, but instead, we did the exact opposite and became stronger in spite of the obstacles. Each brick that was thrown at us made our foundation even stronger and our love even deeper. It’s a choice to make it work and a choice we are blessed to have made.
We not only have the obvious race difference but we are from VERY different worlds. I was raised in upper/middle class, white bread suburbia and Jamie was raised in the hood. Night and day lives, that came together because of 2 hearts and one love. We embraced each other’s worlds and we raised our beautiful daughter to appreciate both and feel comfortable in both. Today we live in the middle of the 2 and it works perfectly. Who knew that Jamie would be attending book signings and going to see things like the artsy fartsy mosaic stairs in San Fran and I would be attending ghetto fabulous lowrider shows and car shows! It makes me laugh just thinking about it! Partnership and compromise at its finest!
Through laughter, tears, love, loss, happiness, sadness, anger, relief, ups and downs…I am grateful for every moment of every single day during these last 20 years of marriage.
Happy anniversary to my best friend and my soul-mate. Thank you for our CRAZY, AMAZING, LIFE! I Love you Jamie Wise! Here’s to 20 more!
Our fam ~ August 2013
20 years later. More in love than ever!
Amy Wise is the author of: Believe in Yourself ~ Inspire Others ~ Spread Joy!
By Amy Wise
I am a BIG believer in equal rights for all. I haven’t written anything about the gay marriage debate on my blog because this blog is all about interracial marriage. However, the more I thought about it, the more I realized I have to write about gay marriage, because this blog is about LOVE!
So here’s the thing…in light of the fact that the heterosexual divorce rate is 50%+, maybe, instead of working so hard to stop gay marriages, we should work a little harder on our marriages so we stay married. Yes?
I respect everyone’s right to believe what they believe. However, I don’t respect those beliefs when they turn from believing to hating. Gay people don’t go around bullying or bashing heterosexuals because they are straight. So…I’d say we have work to do in our houses before we start judging other houses.
Then there is religion and gay marriage. For the love of God, please don’t bring God into this. God loves everyone and I can guarantee he doesn’t approve of judging or hating. That is not Christian behavior, that is bad behavior.
If someone doesn’t believe in gay marriage, cool. Don’t be in one. If someone doesn’t believe in interracial marriage. Cool. Don’t be in that either. Just don’t take away someone else’s right to love because of differing beliefs. Wish them well, walk away, and move on.
Not long ago an AMAZING couple went all the way to the Supreme Court to fight for their marriage. They paved the way for interracial marriage to become legal. The Lovings (yes, that is their last name) never gave up and because of them my husband and I are allowed to live in love today. To see the gay marriage debate at the Supreme Court truly gives me chills. I get it. To my core. Another fight for love.
Let’s stop making this sooooo difficult! In the end it’s about being able to love the one with whom our heart loves.
Marriage is LOVE. ALL marriage. And yes, it IS that simple!
By: Amy Wise
After over 20 years of being together I take it for granted that we are…well…just us. I tend to forget that society sees us with different eyes than we do. Lately I have been reminded of this on numerous occasions. The first time was at a car show a few months back. Jamie and I went to the show with his dear friend Yolanda. Jamie and Yolanda have known each other since middle school and he has been a “big brother” to her all of her life.
Per the usual, while we were at the show we ran into various people we knew. Yolanda ran into some old friends as well. What we didn’t know was that one of those old friends ran back to Yolanda’s soon-to-be-ex-husband and told him she was with another man. Now at this point in time Yolanda and her husband had been split up and had filed for divorce months before, so regardless of the true facts, it didn’t really matter who she was with. What did matter was, this friend told her soon-to-be ex that Yolanda was at the car show with some “big dude.” Mind you, he saw the three of us together and all three of us talked, but he still assumed that Yolanda and Jamie were together because they matched. I’m still giggling today as I write this.
I’m not done. After the friend told the ex, the ex went to their pastor and told him! Yep. Amazing! THEN the pastor had a conversation with Yolanda and asked her if she was at a car show with another man. Yolanda replied, “Yes I was, AND I was also with his WIFE! Here, would you like to see a picture of them? That’s his WIFE and they are a MARRIED COUPLE! He is like my brother.” She said the pastor just stood there quietly shaking his head.
Isn’t it hilarious that this old friend automatically assumed because Yolanda and Jamie match on the outside that they must have been together? When will people remember the definition of ass-u-me?
A few weeks later, Yolanda, Jamie and I went out to dinner. A week after that, my daughter and I went out to the same restaurant. Jamie was out of town visiting his sister who was ill. We happened to have the same waitress from the week before. She said, “I remember you. You were here with your friend and her husband but you were sitting next to him.” I smiled nicely and said, “Um, he is MY husband and this is OUR daughter,” pointing at Tatiana who was across the table from me. Her eyes got wide and she said, “Oh sorry.” We all laughed and I said, “It’s okay, but that’s why I was sitting next to him.” As she walked off I looked at Tatiana and said, “REALLY?! Why is it so hard for everyone to believe that he is MY husband. I don’t get it.”
I take it all in stride at this point because it doesn’t change our love for each other, but sometimes it does get old having to constantly explain us.
We have been together for over two decades and one thing is for sure…we don’t have to match on the outside because our hearts are a perfect match on the inside!
It’s been a while since I have written about any recent racial issues our family has experienced. However, sadly, it’s not for lack of them happening in our lives, it’s simply because I have been crazy busy. I actually have a list I could write about. As each year passes I assume we are going to have fewer and fewer racist problems arise. That is my hope, but not the reality…yet.
A couple of weeks ago we had a very disheartening letter arrive in the mail. It was addressed to our daughter and shocked us all. She just so happened to check the mail that day and was excited to receive something addressed to her. That excitement quickly turned to disbelief after she opened the letter and saw what was inside. We were with two of her friends and she looked at them with wide eyes and handed the letter to me and said, “Mama, what is this?” I read it and thought it was a joke. Then I realized it was far from being funny and was actually filled with hate. We couldn’t understand why someone would send such a cruel letter to our house and to her. The hand written return address was from Las Vegas, NV and the postal stamp where the letter was mailed was from Santa Ana, CA. Someone was trying to be tricky but clearly they weren’t very bright. After I read it, I handed it to her friends and they read it and said, “Who takes the time to send something like this and who still cares about what color people are?” None of us could wrap our brains around what would possess someone to send a hateful letter to our home.
After the initial shock wore off, the worry started to set in, at least for me. The fact that someone had our address and child’s name totally freaked me out. My other concern was how this would affect her. I told her not to let it get her down and that the person that wrote the letter obviously doesn’t know her at all because she is achieving all of her goals and then some! She said she knew that but still didn’t get why someone would send something so mean.
We went on with our day and the letter hung over our heads like a small dark cloud. At the end of the day when we all got home, I shared it with her daddy. His response was, “I’m surprised it took so long for something like this to show up after all the interracial stories that have been written about our family.” To him it’s just the reality of our world, and to me it’s so sad and has to end!
After the conversation with my husband I shared the letter on Facebook. Everyone was shocked! A police officer friend messaged me and told me to call the local police because the letter is considered hate mail. So I did. The officer came out and said that it could have been from a stranger because of all the articles about our family or it could have been from a bully that was jealous or had issues with our daughter. Either way, hate is hate. He told us to save the letter and to call them if we receive anything else. We are all hoping this was a one time incident.
The irony is, when anything racial happens in our lives it has the EXACT opposite affect that the racist wants it to have. After 20 years of dealing with things like this, our family just gets stronger and stronger. That same night, Tatiana was going to spend the night at her cousin’s house and as she walked out the door she sarcastically said, “Okay, I’m leaving now and I’m going out to achieve nothing in life!” We all just laughed! I was so happy to see she was taking it all in stride and was totally confident in herself and all that she is achieving. Smiles all around!
In the end I feel sorry for someone who has so much hate inside they feel the need to send it through the mail in an anonymous letter. The energy it took to write the letter, think about the fake address and send it, all based on hate….what a horrible way to live. I don’t wish that on anyone.
We are now MORE determined than ever to live in love and to continue to follow our dreams! I forgive the hate and I hope the letter writer is able to let it go and find love and happiness in their life…sooner than later. That is my dream for them.
I have been M.I.A. from The Next Family for a while because I have been working day and night on my quote book. After a LOT of hard work, Believe in Yourself, Inspire Others, Spread Joy!, is now published!
What began as a personal journey during a very dark time ended up becoming so much more. I originally came up with each quote as a cathartic way to help me deal with all that I was going through. As I shared my words of motivation through Facebook and my blog, readers began to let me know how much the quotes were also helping them deal with their difficult times. It was amazing to see that the words were not only helping me, but others as well. Heartwarming. That is how my book was born.
Each page tells a story with a beautiful picture and a quote straight from my heart. All the quotes are based on my personal experiences or my family’s experiences. Everyone will relate in one way or another. The words are truly like a friend that is reaching out just when you need them the most.
I’m beyond grateful at the response the book has been receiving. I’m so excited to share that it has been in the Top 100 “Hot New Releases, Motivational Books” on Amazon since the first day it came out! I’m thrilled and so thankful! After everything we have gone through over the last five years, it’s surreal to have so much joy and amazingness happening. I can’t stop smiling!
My hope is that if you get my book, you use it to help you find your joy, follow your heart and live your dreams!
“Circumstances might take you down, but they can never prevent you from getting back up!” ~ Amy Wise
By: Amy Wise
A report just came out from the PEW Research Center on Interracial Marriage. Much of the media reported on the study. Our family was part of the story in USA Today and the L.A. Times.
After being together for 20 years and married for 19, we don’t think of each other as an interracial couple…we are a couple.
In the end, we are not made up of colors, we are just us.♥ I’m thankful and honored that our family is part of the story bringing about awareness and change. It is imperative to open minds so one day this will no longer need to be a story.
Check out some of the articles about the rise of interracial marriage with our family featured:
Our family picture representing the USA Today article about the PEW report. (2/16/2012)
Article in L.A. Times about the PEW report with a brief interview from me. (2/16/2012)
Our family featured in USA Today article about the rise of interracial marriage. (11/8/2011)
By: Amy Wise
Her childhood had many faces and many places, and friends from all around.
She kept old friends and made new friends, and was always ready for more.
There were times when change wasn’t so easy for her, and she gave you lots of grief.
You never stopped loving her, you never stopped believing in her
and even when you wanted to, you never gave up on her.
She finally grew out of it, and became more mature, and thankfully lessons were learned.
She went off to college, and traveled the world, because you gave her wings to fly.
She loved and she lost, you stood by her side, while she picked up the pieces of her life.
She became her own woman, she loved again, this time it was for keeps.
There were smiles all around as she started a family, a new little girl of her own.
Her family grew up, right before her eyes, and then she continued to grow.
She went on, to follow her dreams of making it on her own.
Then her dream was destroyed, and once again, you were there to help her through the storm.
The storm is still raging, but she is not, for a new dream has now been born.
She is stronger than ever, no matter the hurdles, because she knows she’s never alone.
Who was that baby wrapped in a blanket so many years ago?
That baby was me, and all I can say is I’m the luckiest girl in the world.
By: Amy Wise
15 years ago Jamie and I made a decision that would change our lives forever. We moved from the city of San Diego to the burbs of San Diego. It was time for us to go from home renters to homeowners. We did our research, looked for nice neighborhoods with good schools and lots of parks and outdoor areas. We found a brand new community in the Southbay and decided to check it out. Once we rounded the corner into this beautiful new neighborhood, I immediately felt this was going to be our home. Jamie however wasn’t so sure. After looking at many houses on various streets we came across the house. The minute we walked through the front door I just knew this was the house where Tatiana would grow up. We looked from room to room and then went to the backyard to check out the possibilities of what was then a blank slate.
Suddenly a head popped up over the fence and said, “Are you two buying this house?” I swear it was a scene out of the old TV show, Home Improvement. It was as if Mr. Wilson lived next door! Shortly thereafter we found out it wasn’t Mr. Wilson after all, it was Mr. Jim. Mr. Jim and his wife Miss Corinne (as we affectionately call them) would soon become our new neighbors because we ended up buying the house! It was 1997 and Tatiana was 2 years old.
Mr. Jim and Jamie became fast friends. At the time Jim was in his 70′s and Jamie was in his 30′s. They were quite the pair. They gave each other grief like father and son and very quickly considered each other just that. It was an unlikely pairing of two of the most opposite people on the planet…but it worked. Kind of like us!
One of the things the two of them always joked about was Jim’s ruby ring. Jamie always called it his pimp ring. Jim always said he was going to give it to Jamie when he died. It was in jest but it always freaked me out when they talked about it. I could go on and on about the bantering back and forth that Mr. Jim and Jamie did over the years. It was a strange love, but it was theirs.
Sadly, we lost Mr. Jim quite a few years ago and that was truly one of the saddest days we can remember. We were all devastated but Jamie was heartbroken. It was as if he had lost his own dad.
Jim’s relatives flew in from New Orleans for the memorial service and as we were all sitting in Miss Corinne’s dining room she came downstairs with a box. She handed it to Jamie and told him that Jim thought of him as a son and always wanted him to have his ring. There was not a dry eye in the house. Jamie now wears Mr. Jim’s ring every single day. If it’s not on his finger because of work, it’s around his neck on a chain…always close to his heart.
Little did we know, 15 long years ago, that not only would we raise Tatiana in our wonderful home, but we would also have a built-in California family right next door. Mr. Jim is now our angel in heaven and Miss Corinne is our angel on earth, otherwise known as our Cali Mom. How lucky are we?!
Interview with Amy Wise by The Next Family
The Next Family continues its series on writer interviews with the always positive, full of love, Amy Wise. Please visit the comments section to ask Amy more.
TNF: How has it been blogging for TNF?
I truly enjoy writing for The Next Family. I LOVE the diversity! From the writers to the topics…it is a wonderful blend of today’s world. Everyone that writes for them and is involved with the site are just wonderful, talented people. I’m honored to be a writer for such an important modern family web site.
TNF: How is your family like every other family and how is it different?
It’s funny you ask this question because the very first blog I wrote for TNF was about just that. I asked the question, “Are we an interracial family or just a family?” The answer is: we are a family just like everyone else. The ONLY difference happens to be our skin colors. We play, work, laugh, cry, learn, grow, live, and love. We are a normal family that is looked at differently because of our outer appearances, when all that really matters is what’s on the inside. Our “insides” are filled with huge hearts. People just need to take the time to get to know us so they can “see” those hearts.
TNF: Did your family accept you and your lifestyle? If yes, explain and if not explain what you have done to help them to accept your decisions and your lifestyle.
My husband’s family did not accept me at all. Even after we were married and had our daughter I was still an “issue.” It took years of getting to know each other before all the negative feelings went away. They finally saw beyond my skin color and into my heart and realized there was nothing to dislike. We now love each other completely. My family, on the other hand, accepted Jamie right away. They said, “As long as he makes you happy and treats you right, that is all that matters to us.” They did have concerns with how society would treat their interracial grandchildren. They said it would break their hearts if someone had racist attitudes towards their grandchildren. Racism is something that we have dealt with as circumstances arise because unfortunately society has a long way to go. Thankfully we no longer have family conflict…society is next.
TNF: How do you juggle the work at home with your jobs?
I work full time as a writer and my “office” is my home. I am currently working on multiple books and projects that require a lot of thought and a clear mind. I have to be very disciplined when it comes to my time. It’s so easy to get distracted. I have an old fashioned organizer where I list my writing deadlines, projects, chores, errands, appointments, etc. I make sure that each day is a balance of the “to do’s”. I’m realistic about my time and split it between writing, family, house, friends, and me. It has taken years to prioritize but I finally have a balance that gives me peace and allows me time to get it ALL done!
TNF: What lessons do you feel are the most important to teach children in this day and age? Are there any lessons they, or perhaps we as parents should unlearn?
Believe in yourself. Be your own champion. When it comes to YOUR dreams and your life choices, don’t follow society, don’t follow your friends, don’t follow your parents, don’t follow the media, don’t follow the money…DO follow YOUR heart! The path you choose is the life you lead. Choose wisely. There are some parents that need to “unlearn” the teaching of hateful beliefs. I’ve said this a million times: Nobody is born a bigot. Racism is taught. Let’s stop teaching it. If every child born today were taught to treat everyone equal, there would be no racism, no hate, no homophobia, no bullying, only love. Wouldn’t that be amazing?!
TNF: Any words of wisdom to pass on to our readers?
The one thing that I tell everyone is, no matter what life throws at you, always follow your dreams. Work patiently towards them and suddenly, one day, you’ll wake up and find they aren’t dreams anymore…they’ve actually come true!If you fall, don’t try and get up by yourself, reach for someone’s hand. Then do the same for someone else when you’re standing tall. Lead by example. Live your best life. Love your spouse. Hug your child. Help your neighbor. Inspire the next generation.
TNF: Anything you want our readers to know about you or your family?
Our family has been through trials and tribulations that would make your head spin. However, through it all we continue to be there for each other and have become even stronger because of it. We listen to each other, we respect each other, and we love each other. Tatiana graduated a year early from high school so we are now enjoying the time with her before she heads off to college next summer to major in dance. She is working part time and continuing with her dance classes. Our family is shifting as we watch her get ready to transition to campus. It’s an exciting time for all of us. I’m thrilled to be working from home so I can enjoy every last minute she is here. Jamie works five minutes from home so he is always close by even when he is at work. The three of us have learned so much about each other during this time. I’m so thankful. I look forward to what lies ahead for Tatiana in college and for us as a couple. What an adventure it continues to be for all of us. My family means the world to me…I treasure them!
Thank you Amy. Your love for your family and for the world in general is an inspiration! And your family is gorgeous!
By: Amy Wise
Us in Sunriver, Oregon
Tatiana and Me in Sunriver, OR
Happy New Year everyone! As you can see I took a little break from writing over the holidays. The fam and I took a vacation and spent some much needed time away in Sunriver, Oregon with 27 of my relatives. Every four years we ALL meet in Sunriver for a fun-filled Christmas celebration. Our group included my parents, aunts, uncles, brother, sister, nieces, nephews, cousins, children, girlfriends, and boyfriends! We had four lovely cabins on the same street which enabled us to go back and forth for meals, movies, games, and fun! My parents’ cabin even had a Christmas tree, so of course we had Christmas dinner there for the full holiday effect.
I have been going to Sunriver with my family since I was in 4th grade. Without doing the math, let’s just say that’s a VERY long time! I love that I’m now sharing a piece of my childhood with Jamie and Tatiana. Besides going every four years with everyone for Christmas, we try and go off and on with my parents and siblings in the summer or fall just for fun.
This particular visit had an unusual twist to the activities. “Unusual” is an understatement. My Uncle Joey, who I just love, brought his girlfriend with him this year. They make a perfect couple, as they are both a bit eccentric. I LOVE that about them because I can totally relate! They met in the theater in their small town in Washington. Joey was performing and Carol was part of the “crew”. Being the creative people that they are you never know what you are going to get. This time what we got was…drum roll please….a pirate play! Yes, that’s right: a pirate play.
Carol wrote a play five years ago and thought it would be fun if the family could actually act it out together with costumes and all! She brought two suitcases full of amazing costumes and accessories, along with scripts for everyone. She went around to each of us and asked who wanted to participate in the play and who wanted to be audience members. I had EVERY intention of being an audience member until she looked at me and said, “I’m counting on you to participate.” Well, for some reason I just couldn’t say no! I think it was the look in her eyes. Jamie, on the other hand, had no problem saying no! He thought it was HILARIOUS that we were actually doing a pirate play! His exact words: “white people” (followed by lots of laughter)!
Me…as Bella the Fortune Teller in the Pirate Play
Uncle Joey and Girlfriend Carol
Needless to say we ALL got a kick out of the play and had a blast doing it. The audience members couldn’t believe what they were seeing, and all of us will probably talk about this particular Christmas festivity for years to come! Jamie is still cracking up to this day.
Next year we are spending the holidays with Jamie’s family and I can guarantee there will not be any pirate plays! Hmmm…maybe I should suggest it?