Raising a Bilingual Kid: The Importance of Doing ‘Nada’

We used to get up early in the mornings and do nothing.  That was the excitement of our summer vacations.  That we didn’t have to get up groggy, angry and tired to do anything at all.  There was no rush to hurry up and get dressed, wash our faces, and get out of the door to go to school, as we normally did the rest of the year.  En los veranos our time was our own.

raising a bilingual kid juanofwords
Ah... the lazy days of summer. - 50s Kids watching TV Captain Kangaroo by Kay Crain

Seconds, minutes and hours to do with what we pleased.  Or at least, whatever our parents would allow us to.  Usually that meant running around our apartment complex getting into all sorts of trouble, laying on the sofa with our legs hanging off to one side as we watched rerun after rerun after rerun, or just getting into stupid arguments with each other until my mother would get tired of it all and yell at us to “be quiet and do something!”  In Spanish it was more like “¡levantense!  ponganse hacer algo… ¿cómo van a pensar que se van a pasar todo el verano tiradotes alli nomás?  After that, we knew it was time to get up and skedaddle.

It didn’t matter where we went.  What mattered was that we get out of the line of fire.

As I’ve come to learn now, nobody can get you as frustrated and overwhelmed as your own children.  And imaginense we were seven children all together one right after another.  My poor madrecita never stood a chance at peace.  Not when we were around for the summers anyway.  The rest of the year and in between children por lo menos she had our school hours.  Anyway, it kind of got me thinking of how and why my mother used to get so frustrated with us, and why sometimes it’s so easy for me to get frustrated with Edgar for exactly the same reasons.  Como dice el dicho… some things, well, they just don’t ever change.

Though now too, I realize it wasn’t her just being mean for the sake of being mean.  It was her way of showing us she loved us.  “Si no me importaran pues ¿qué tiene? alli los dejaría sin hacer nada todo el día, but since you are mine and I care about you, I want you all to be productive.”  That was it.   That was all my parents wanted for us.  Life had never been easy for them and they just didn’t want us to get under the impression that it would be for us, that somehow or someway we wouldn’t have to struggle.  We all have.  I have.  And for that reason I think it’s so easy for me to get so easily frustrated with Edgar just trying to make the most of his summers too.  I guess in a way I’m afraid he’ll think life is too easy too.

¿Quién sabe?  Who knows why we think the things we do sometimes.

Next time I get frustrated, though, I’m just going to have to remind myself of how much fun my summer vacations used to be.  After all, before you know it they’ll all be gone!  Maybe that’s why every once in a while mamá and papá would just cut loose and have fun with us doing absolutely nada!

Those are definitely some of the moments and memories I cherish most anyway.

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