I have a new motherhood project: creating a community of bi-lingual parents to share resources, tips and stories about raising children with two (or more) cultures and languages. I know I would benefit from polling my friends and their friends to help me build a rich identity for my child as I try to get her familiar with her Hispanic roots while living in the U.S.
My first trial as a bi-cultural mom was my daughter’s name. It was important to me that she had a Spanish name (Alma Lucia) since her father is American and thus her last name was going to be in English (Miner). I really didn’t want to bastardize the family name by hyphenating it because the Miners have a looooong history in the U.S., like Mayflower-days type of thing. Thomas Minor founded Stonington, CT and from there on there’s a few family books and associations that track generations right down to my baby girl. Unfortunately, we can’t go that far back on my side of the family. All I know is that like the majority of Latinos, I come from a huge mix of people — from Venezuela, Argentina, Italy, France, Spain, indigenous Guayus, Andinos (from Venezuela) and Germans. I myself grew up ‘bi-cultural’, while I was born and raised in Venezuela, my dad is Argentine and his culture is quite different than the Venezuelan one. I always felt a little different, a little alienated in my own country, and only as an adult have I really embraced and felt lucky to have such a different upbringing.
Now as a mom I face this journey of raising my child in a foreign country that I now claim as my own. I hope she is able to feel proud of being Hispanic-American or whatever the appropriate hyphened description is. I also hope she learns to be critical and see deeper into our world beyond the headlines, as it’s not just about speaking a language, or eating yummy food like FRIED PLANTAINS!