...when love is your family
There are people you meet for a season, and then there are people you meet and stay with for a lifetime. And when you know that the person next to you will always remain in that exact position, right by your side, it’s easier to trust that everything else will also come along, and in time.
Meeting in the summer of 2011, Carmen and OhriJahnal decided in the very beginning of their relationship that they would always take their time. From the decision to become official, which wasn’t until a year after meeting, to just getting married over two years ago, to deciding to expand their family in 2018; every decision has been made with patience, understanding and a full commitment.
How did you and your partner meet?
Carmen: We met at her first job.
What drew you to each other?
Carmen: We were friends at first.
OhriJahnal: Truthfully, I liked her hair. I had just turned like 18 and she had this big bunch of curls, and it was just so much hair. So it was like omg, I like her hair...so I went and talked to her.
How long have you guys been together?
Carmen: Going on 8 years in April.
And how long have you guys been married?
Together: 2 years.
How long did you date before you were together?
OhriJahnal: We met in July 2011 and started dating in April 2012.
When did each of you know you wanted to be with each other?
OhriJahnal: Truthfully right after I started talking to her.
Carmen: Yeah, same.
OhriJahnal: Really? I didn't know that. Aww.
"But we find when we're together that's all we really need."
Describe your relationship.
OhriJahnal: Peanut butter and jelly.
Carmen: We always stick together no matter what.
OhriJahnal: No matter what. If you see me, you see her. Even if I’m not around her, like if I'm at home with the kids, she’ll still be wearing my sweater that has like my photography logo on it or something. If I'm not with her, I’ll still have her Uggs on or something like that. It's always something about each other [representing each other], no matter what.
If you could describe your partner with one word what would it be and why?
Carmen: Funny. No matter the situation, she will always make you laugh and keep a smile on your face.
OhriJahnal: I would say strong because no matter what she's faced with she is always strong about it. She keeps moving forward no matter what.
How do you feel valued with your partner?
Carmen: She’s always making sure that I’m okay and making sure that everything is alright, even if it's with the kids. She’s always surprising me with stuff “just because” like if its a Wednesday, she might come home with “just because” flowers.
OhriJahnal: It’s a lot, she's literally always buying me something. One big thing is when I come home from work and she's cooked. That's a great feeling. It makes me feel like, it’s a “thank you for working today” from my family. Sometimes my son helps her cook and my daughter just helps eat. But it makes me feel like I’m appreciated for what I did that day. Especially if you have a bad day at work, it’s nothing like coming home and seeing her face knowing she also just cooked while raising two kids while home. That makes me feel really valued right there.
How do you like to be shown love and give affection?
Carmen: That's a really good question. Just being there is really all of the love and affection for me without doing anything. As long as I have you in my corner and have you in general it’s okay. So her just being there for me is enough.
Do you feel heteronormative roles come into your relationship?
Carmen: No. We actually don't play any roles. We both know we are women at the end of the day. Just because OhriJahnal dresses the way that she does, doesn't mean she's more manly or anything like that. For us, it's half and half in our relationship. I’ll take out the trash or she will take out the trash or vice versa.
OhriJahnal: Not at all. People assume so much when they see me. They think I'm so manly and nope, not at all. That's one thing I don't want in my life, to be a boy. I do not want that at all. She's actually more of a tomboy than I am. I dress the way that I dress because it's comfortable for me, and because I have a shape, a super female shape. For her, she would rather sneakers over heels any day. I could throw on some heels, I won’t, but I could walk in them and wear them longer than her, which is weird. We are just comfortable the way we are.
"No matter what. If you see me, you see her."
You all have 2 children? A little boy and a little girl?
Carmen: Yes, a little boy and a little girl. Our son is 8 and our daughter is 1.
When did you make the decision you wanted to start a family?
Carmen: It was a while ago.
OhriJahnal: We were like a year in.
Carmen: Yeah, I wanted to wait until we were deeply committed to our relationship and then decide to have a family.
Which route did you guys take for that?
Carmen: We did a at home insemination.
Was that something you both agreed on or did you weigh out your options with adoption, etc?
Carmen: Well, we were figuring stuff out and how to go about it. We looked into adoption, and still are, but the best way for us at the time was to do the at home insemination.
Do you feel it's challenging raising a family in Brockton (MA) as two womxn?
Carmen: Actually no, we would've thought it would've been but everyone has been so supportive. Schools are supportive and the whole community.
How important is it for you to have time together without the kids and how often do you get that?
Carmen: I mean we like it. For us, we went out for our anniversary for the first time in forever.
OhriJahnal: OMG that was last year huh?
Carmen: Yeah. And we were away from our daughter for the first time and it was horrible, we couldn't sleep. We had never been away.
OhriJahnal: Mind you it was only two days.
Carmen: It was the worst thing in the world. She knew we were missing, it just didn't feel good. Our son is used to it because he goes to our family's house on the weekend. But with her it was completely different, so it's kind of hard for us. But we enjoyed it at the same time, even though we miss them, but we know this is the only time we're going to have for us to relax, just me and her without the kids.
Let's talk about your Youtube channel. I see your son also models and OhriJahnal does photography, are you guys just a creative family?
Carmen: OhriJahnal has been wanting to do Youtube for a while but I’m not really a camera or internet person; but finally we agreed last year that the beginning of this year we would get more into the Youtubing, going around and showing our lives and doing the challenges and stuff like that.
Do you guys have any Valentine's Day plans?
OhriJahnal: We're actually supposed to be in New York. It doesn't sound like much of a plan for us since we are going because I have to work. So it's not really a [pleasure] trip just for us to relax. But we find when we're together that's all we really need. We’re rarely away from our children, so when we are away, we take advantage and like to have as much fun as we can. But it doesn’t always work because we miss our kids.
How does it feel to be loved by her?
Carmen: It feels wonderful to be loved by OhriJahnal. She is the best thing in the world.
OhriJahnal: It feels, I don't know..when I think about it I can't find the words because...truthfully... I never thought that since I’m her first girl everything that I would also be her last. From the beginning I never thought she would actually be my girlfriend then say yes actually marrying me.
Written by: Jay Hardy (@KaliforniJAY)