My husband and I met during the years I lived in Mexico City. We got married and soon after moved to L.A. thanks to a job offer. We had our first and only daughter almost four years ago in the U.S. She has both a U.S. passport and a Dutch one because her paternal Opa (grandfather) is a Dutch citizen. She doesn´t have or need a Mexican or Salvadoran passport to have those nationalities in her blood.
We have been pretty good at instilling in her pride for being bilingual and speaking both Spanish and English. She prefers a plátano macho con crema over chicken nuggets any day. She knows about los Reyes Magos and about Santa Claus. We celebrate both Día de los Muertos and Halloween. I felt good about her being multicultural and learning about the diverse heritages that we can celebrate and embrace in this beautiful country.
Until today. Mother´s Day has been the one day when our cultures crashed.
Mother´s Day is celebrated in both Mexico and El Salvador–as in many other Latin American countries–on May 10th. To add to our confusion, May 10th is also my birthday.
When our first Mother´s Day as a new family came around we decided that we would celebrate it on the second Sunday of the month because that´s what Camila would be exposed to at school, with her friends and the overall community that is her home. That way, I could also selfishly have the two days I deserve (I do!) celebrated separately. Even so, on el Día de las Madres (May 10) we would call the abuelas and tías in México and El Salvador and celebrate them on their day.
Did I confuse you already? You´re not alone. Apparently my husband totally did not get it and I was not celebrated at all today, the day when every other mom in the U.S. is being acknowledged. Yes, this blog post is starting to sound like a pity-party and I apologize for that.
I so don´t want to be angry at my husband and I don´t want it to be all about myself. But I feel that now that my daughter is old enough to understand and be part of a day to celebrate her mami, she missed out. We did have a beautiful Mother´s Day Tea at her preschool on Friday, but she didn´t get the chance to create something special with her day because her papá forgot.
I am giving him the benefit of the doubt that he really was going to acknowledge the day on May 10th and celebrate it along with my birthday. As it is, we´re not huge on making a big deal about over-the-top celebrations on days like these, but I can´t help but feel this deprives my daughter of making memories. A simple “Feliz Día de las Madres” was really good enough. Instead I got a “Oh, isn’t today Mother’s Day here?” Yes, it is. The country we live in now. The country and the celebrations our daughter is born in.
It’s up to us to make sure her cultures don’t collide.
How do you manage to celebrate traditions without cultures colliding?