Arts & Culture: Diversity Dialogue

Cultural Diversity and Inclusion in the Arts in New York State’s Southern Tier

New Mom!

May is the month in which some countries celebrate Mothers’ day, and this year the celebration was particularly important for me, because I am debuting as a mother. So, it was like finally belonging to that club I could only see from the outside before. I enjoyed the going out for brunch with my husband and baby and being celebrated was a great experience. The weirdest feeling was when my own mom called me to say Happy Mother’s day! Wasn’t that supposed to be the other way around? Oh! It was awesome to share that feeling with her!

I thought about how that day would have been celebrated if I would still live in Mexico. There, mother’s day is always on May 10th, no matter what day of the week it is. People go to their mother’s houses or to cemeteries to leave flowers. We not only celebrate mothers, but also our grandmothers, godmothers, aunts and every women that has given us love in those early childhood years…A traditional Mexican mothers’ day celebration starts in the middle of the night with a Serenata (it goes from a couple of guys to a whole mariachi group singing love songs at the mother’s window), then the mother goes out and receives a bunch of flowers while listening to the songs that the husband or the son/daughter brought to her. Mexican families are in general large in size, so mothers are celebrated thru the whole day….of course, chocolates and flower sales are huge that day…the sweetest thing for that day is that most elementary schools have big celebrations in which kids  put together dances and present them in a kind of festival, you can even see 6 yr old kids dancing to the compass of traditional mexican music…I remember dancing every year for my mom…I cannot imagine what would I feel if my little one dances at a Mother’s day celebration one of these days….

While I was pregnant, many people told me my life was going to change a lot. Of course, my schedule is now all changed and my priorities are different also…but I think the most important change was in the way I see life now…Motherhood came to me as an eye opening experience, suddenly I realize how blessed I have been all my life in many different ways. I also realized about the impact of the decisions my husband and I will take that will affect the life of this little one…starting with the language we are teaching her first…the daycare we choose for her…and the other many decisions we already took that will impact her life…like the religion we have, the city..the country where we live now…

Of course there are many new questions in my mind, how are we going to make her feel proud of her heritage? would she ever want to leave our house at 17? I don’t have the answers yet, and all I know for now is that I want her to have a happy life so one day she can look back and see all the blessings God gave her thru her life… I guess the only thing we can do for now is to try to provide strong foundations so she can build from there…and if she decides to be a mother…one day it will be my turn to call her to say Happy Mother’s day chaparrita!

6 comments on “New Mom!

  1. Connie Sullivan-Blum
    May 26, 2009

    Maritza, What a wonderful posting! Will you be teaching your child Spanish as a first language? I am interested in hearing your thoughts on this issue.

    I am a second generation Hungarian. As a child, I asked my mother to teach me Hungarian and I was so disappointed that she could not. My mother could not speak Hungarian, but she could understand it. I have heard similar stories from the Italian Americans I spoke to for the lace research.

    Language is so much a part of identity. I am thinking of friends and acquaintances who have themselves learned second languages as part of a religious or ethnic identity, and made sure their children did as well. When a child goes to Hebrew school or Chinese school, they are learning their heritage language after having learned English.

    There are some people who argue that English must be maintained as the pre-eminent language in the U.S. Some even argue that it should be the only language used in commerce and education. But, I think these approaches are an attempt to water down our separate cultural identities and make our national identity less rich in diversity. What do you think?

  2. Maria Garcia de Martinez
    June 2, 2009

    Maritza, Muchas Felicidades!! Siempre va a ser muy especial tu primer dia de las madres y que mejor que dejarlo plasmado en este blog. .Me encanto, muy bonito. Sigue adelante. Tu amiga Lupina.

  3. Maria Dolores Antepara de Moreira
    June 2, 2009

    Hola, querida Maritza…

    Me emociono mucho todo esto que escribiste. Se parece en muchas cosas a todo lo que hacemos en Ecuador para el Dia de las Madres. Estoy de acuerdo contigo, la primera vez que celebramos este dia como madres es realmente emocionante! Disfruta mucho esta nueva aventura, y que Dios los colme de bendiciones a ti, a Enrique y a Natalia. Un abrazo, tu amiga MADO.

  4. marloph
    June 5, 2009

    We speak Spanish at home and we will encourage her to do the same, however, she now goes to day care and of course they talk to her in English…so I think she will have a great learning opportunity since she might be able to pick both at the same time…I have heard that sometimes kids take longer to talk when they live in situations like this…it is a big challenge and I think it might get frustrating at times, but the rewards of being truly bilingual are worth it…
    By truly bilingual I mean someone that can professionally speak both languages with barely noticeable accent…I had met people like that, so it is doable!

  5. Connie Sullivan-Blum
    June 9, 2009

    I have also heard that truly bilingual children have a slight delay in speech. But, there are long term benefits for brain development.

    It is obviously possible because there are many people in the world living in multilingual countries like India where that is simply the norm.

  6. vani akula
    August 27, 2009

    Maritza, Congratulations new mom! I am a first generation indian and my 2 kids do speak telugu, my native tongue. Speech was delayed for one of my child for both english and telugu but once it started it just went fast and steady. I have a lot of friends whose kids spoke their mother tongue whn young but slowly lost it as trheir child progressed through school. It requires a lot of persistance. What has helped me most is their visits to india once every 2 years. I don’t translate between my kids and their relatives and other people they converse with. I stay completely out of it and they are on their own (no, when it comes to telugu their tears don’t melt me :-)). The first time my son went to india he was 2 and half. He stayed for 2 months and the first one month he didn’t talk much telugu. The next month he spoke telugu very well and when returned to the US he didn’t speak english for a month. Poor kid, he was completely confused! Soon however, he was speaking both fluently!! This was interesting. I am thoroughly quadra lingual and can understand 2 more languages though am not fluent at speaking or writing it. However since I don’t write as frequently (some in as many as 3-5 years) in my indian languages I tend to sometimes intermix the syllables and have to think a moment to write the correct language! The interesting sideeffect to learning so many languages when young is when I am on vacation in a foreign country with a different language I am constantly trying to read and compare notes and learn without any conscious effort! The result can be extremely tiring and I have to make a conscious effort to shut the process to relax 🙂

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This entry was posted on May 25, 2009 by .
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