Parts of the Whole

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Yo Soy Mama

While I don't necessarily look the part, I'm Puerto Rican. Well half. Yep, bi-racial baby right here. And unless I've seen the sun (which doesn't happen in the PNW), you'd really never know. 

Sure, there's generally an olive cast to my skin and I live for arroz con gandules, but it's really no surprise to anyone who knows me that I identify with my German half. It's a very strong German half. My mother's family all speaks German to various degrees and we'd be happy eating nothing but potatoes and bread. In fact, I can't remember the English words to "Silent Night," which I almost just typed as "Silent Nacht." That's right, I regularly use Gerglish. 

Occasionally, I'll pull out Spanish but it's really only when I'm reading my son a story in Spanish, of which I'm sure he understands none of it because it's not like I'm using those words anywhere else. Which frustrates me. I wish I had taken more of an interest in retaining it but I HATED my Spanish classes, which I didn't take until high school. They were awful, taught by a professor who was super nice but shouldn't have been teaching. She was from Peru and would throw out informal Peruvian phrases as examples of the item we were learning and then put them on the test. Only class in seventeen years of schooling to make me cry. 

That is not what I want for Monkey at all. Lucky for me, my Puerto Rican paternal unit is one of Monkey's favorite people. The opportunity to instill everything I love about my island heritage is strong since Monkey hangs on everything about his Gramps. I want him to not only love the food, but also the music, the art, the strength that comes from being a Latino. In fact, as I sit here writing this, I have the Viva Latino channel from Spotify playing and all I want to do is jump up and dance but then I'd block my husband's view of the TV and quite frankly, I'm at an age where I don't really "jump" to do anything.

What I find most interesting is that my sad relationship with half my heritage is more accepted than say some of my choices as a mother. I'm more likely to be criticized by other moms for working full time, or not breastfeeding long enough or letting my son sleep on sheets where the monkeys have pink hair bows than I am for the sad way I roll my r's. I have been and will be a Boricua for far longer than I will ever be a mother but to me, both are an integral part of who I am, just like being German and having an amazing career make up other parts of me. In fact my brothers and I even created a term for our mixed heritage, Gerican. I wish it was that easy for being a working mom. Well actually it is. I call myself bad ass. 

Dark haired mom and blonde boy
Best of both sides