My parents like to tell the story of when we went to church in the Valley. It was an Anglo-Mexican mixed community and services for all of us were at the same time. According to mamá and papá, and my two older sisters for that matter, as soon as we’d walk into the building I’d walk away from them and head to the front of the church where I’d sit next to the little girls with the blue eyes and blonde hair. No matter how much my mother would signal me with her hands to come back, worry in her face, they say I’d only turn back at them and turn away, as if taunting them with my disobedience. I was in grade school back then and don’t even remember these occurrences with any clarity, but every time I’m told about them it is with great laughter and pride, especially from my mother. In the way only a parent can, she took these actions to mean something deeper about me and who I might one day become. She tells me it was a sign that I was restless and curious, aching to push beyond the definition of what I should be and how I should act, what my place as a child of Mexican immigrants should be. I don’t know that I agree with her assessment – those are big shoes to fill and I am definitely not sure that I am the one best suited to fill them – but today, as an adult and a parent myself, I understand the hope of wanting the next generation to push beyond the boundaries of our own limitations. I understand what her hope for me and the rest of her children was.
I understand because, today, I have hopes and dreams of my own.