My parents made the choice to raise us here. Here in a country that was not their own. In a place where for many years they were forced to live their lives hiding in plain sight. In the land of opportunity. The land where nothing seemed impossible if you were willing to work hard enough.
And so they did.
So much so that we never had to go without. So much so that we never had to endure the harshness of their own childhood experiences. So much so that we had the privilege of having so much more then they had.
So much so that in doing so they gave us more than we probably needed.
We were not well off, however. My family did struggle to make ends meet. We did rely on the kindness of others to help us through. We did make do with what little we had, but comparatively to the way my parents grew up, we might as well have been born with a silver spoon in our mouths.
I think to a lot of people in their hometown we pretty much were.
That didn’t make sense to me at all for a very long time, but it does now.
You see, our parents loved us so much and gave so much of themselves to make sure we never struggled the way they did, that when we became parents ourselves we did the exact same thing for our children. We’ve done our best to give them everything we didn’t have so that they would never have to experience the hardships we had to face.
In our case, we are the first generation of parents who have been able to provide much more than the bare essentials for our children. We have made it a priority, as have many parents, to ensure that our kids feel just as deserving as any other person in this country. In doing so, in many cases, we have showered them with material possessions, forgetting at times that some of the most valuable lessons in life don’t require any material possessions at all.
That’s not entirely a bad thing.
However, in doing so we have created a new generation of much more privileged children than we were.
It’s hard to quantify that in general terms because every experience is bound to be different, but the truth is just like we will always be unable to fully comprehend our own parents experiences, so will our children. They are once removed from our hardships, twice removed from the hardships of our parents, and one can’t help but to wonder what a difference this could make in their lives and the lives of their own children one day.
I guess for me that’s part of the reason why something like Hispanic Heritage Month begins to gain more value. Beyond the recognition of a universal Latino culture, beyond the marketing machine of saluting an entire population of people in one neatly packaged month, there also exists the opportunity to empower and educate our own children about the significance of their own personal heritage and ancestry.
Whether this is something we do solely during this time of year or at any given moment, the importance of imparting our own stories to the next generations is invaluable.
Those stories belong to us and they belong to them.
The hope would be that one day they belong to our grandchildren and great grandchildren too.
Texas Latino Bloggers Hispanic Heritage Month Blog Hop
Juan of Words – Mexican-American Culture – Monday, 9/19
Sweet Life– Food Recipes – Tuesday, 9/20
The Optimistic Heathen – Sharing Our Heritage with the Kids – Wednesday, 9/21
Modern Tejana – How to Live Your Latinidad in Mixed-Race Families – Thursday, 9/22
The Esposa Experience – Navigating the Pressures of Traditional Esposa Expectations – Friday, 9/23
VodkaGirlATX> – Latin-Inspired Cocktails – Monday, 9/26
Momma of Dos – How Mexican I grew up! – Tuesday, 9/27
Family Love in My City – Immigration – Wednesday, 9/28
Creative Meli – Basic and Healthy Latin Cooking – Thursday, 9/29
Mejorando Mi Hogar – Being Latino or Hispanic – Friday, 9/30
Power to Prevail – Body Shame in Latino Culture – Monday, 10/3
Teatrolatinegro – Latin@ Theatre Show in Houston – Tuesday, 10/4
Candypo – Being a Latino Military Spouse – Wednesday, 10/5
Coppelia Marie – Am I a Bad Latina Mom? – Thursday, 10/6
The Restaurant Fanatic – Cocina Latina – Friday, 10/7
Haute in Texas – Mothering Latinas When You’re Not a Latina – Monday, 10/10