(another installment for “Chicken Mole for the Mexican-American Soul”)
Family… enough said (Part I)
In these desperate times I have prayed, hoped, and dreamt of my family reuniting, becoming strong within the blood of our roots, the wisdom of our ancestors. Instead, we have lost faith within the absent generation of our parents; their clouded views, distorted beliefs and lifestyles. They have become the hopeless, the runaways of hard work of becoming someone, having strayed into the confines of dark empty closets of shame and despair.
Now here we are, another generation that has been trapped in this crazy repetitious cycle unknowingly passing these ways of life onto the next generation. When will this vicious cycle end? How much longer must the oppression of my family rage on within the wombs of our mothers and the wombs of my generation, generations thereafter? What are we leaving our children if not a closet filled of painful shame of skeletons and bruised egos?
I have come to plead, on battered knees, to make you, my family, understand how sacred family is and how wrong we have been by ignoring this fact.
To my Juarez Familia:
The Juarez family began with hard labor, making a mark, standing on solid ground with great achievement and long-awaited accomplishments. My great-grandmother was Native American, her family knew the ways of this world before they were stripped of all worth. She lived to see so much, at times, far too much of this world to make one’s heart grow weak. But then there were the images that would send her relief; her granddaughters and with them; new dreams, her great granddaughters and the beginning of change, her great great granddaughters and the last of any hope in their eyes, and all would be alright again.
My great-grandfather; the provider, the educator, the laborer of sacrifice who cleared a path for his children’s future, a future with promise with more than just labels. Providing shelter, nourishment, and all his wisdom of life before, sadly taken before I had been born. I see his influence passed on to my great uncles, great aunts, my own grandmother. They all knew what it meant to be strong in a world where you weren’t wanted unless a house needed cleaning or a war needed bodies. I am proud of my Juarez heritage, proud to know that success is not proven by the language one speaks, by the brown in one’s skin, by the labels one used.
Family is the world that matters…
I give you my thanks for it is because of you that this strong blood runs through my veins. It is because of you, my beautiful great grandparents, that I have the courage and values to look back on when I am afraid of looking ahead, I give you my respect for bringing up my great aunts and uncles with importance and love, I feel that love from them still…
And when our grandparents came to be, and everything meant to continue, meant to hold up the ladder of the past, it resulted in Uncles and Aunts, my parents, they had given life to. But sadly, this is where life has come to a halt, has lost all sacred values and we, the product of these children, are drowning suffocating in the lapse of a once meaningful life. It’s time to get that life they were meant to give, back.
To my Peña Familia;
It is because of you, mi Abuelito y Abuelita. You both knew the meaning of hard work, you both knew the blessings of a family. It is because of you that life can change. The mistakes of the past can stay that way. I know you tried as hard as you could, but it wasn’t always easy. You tried, like so many others. How were you to know what the future held? And like all things, times change and sometimes not for the good. When did you realize you had lost hold of your children? When did they decide to think for themselves and stray from the family before them who brought them great principles? There were many obstacles, many changes along the way. Did you struggle with some private pain while trying to raise a family of your own? Did it become complicated and too much to handle? It seemed that you worked your whole lives just to give your children what you never had.
Was that asking too much of you? These children of yours are my aunt and uncles, my mother. These were the voices, the examples I was to learn from; lean on. But it only happened way too late, and now it seems that there is no home to go back to. It is because of you; my grandparents, I had a place to stay, I had advice to take. It is my turn to give back before those once important morals float silently out to sea. I give you my thankfulness, for not turning me away. I give you my respect for doing all that you could to give your children the best. I praise your admiration for diving head-first into the role of parenting. You weren’t perfect as I’m sure I don’t know the half of it, but why would anyone want perfection? I’m sure your children only wanted you to be there, only wanted your acceptance and love. Life is such a strange thing. We strive for things we can never seem to achieve.
My Aunts, Uncles and my Mother;
Wake Up! Before the rooster crows and the time for adjustment becomes yesterday. Remember what you always wanted from the ones you looked up to. Remember these feelings and these dreams you once had and how your children wished for the same. In the end, we all just want to be loved; affectionately. In the end we all just want to be accepted without any strings, without any “buts”. Remember the meaning of familia and what you want to leave behind. We, your children, are waiting on you. We can’t solve your problems for you, we can’t always make the first move. Be strong like our ancestors were strong, be wise and patient, be all that you wanted to be when you first looked down on your newborn child. If you have made amends with yourself, then it is time to work on others.
I am grateful for your love, your advice, your motherly type love when there was none around. I am honored that I can call you family. I am hopeful that time will tell when all will be right with our family again. Not perfect, but harmonious and full of life.