It's silly the things you're proud of as a parent. But I think I almost burst with pride when the other day in our living room our 2.9 year old turned on her little radio and started singing along to one of her favorite CDs. When she sings along, it's kind of like her mother -she says a few key words then kind of mumbles the rest. It started off with a sweet little, "Opa!" Then I caught little bits of "hom-eh see-cero" and "almas" followed by the sweetest damn sound of all "guana-mera". My lovely little New England Cubanita was shaking her hips and singing along to Guantanamera.
I don't say it often but there are thoughts always floating around my mind that my daughters will grow up and not identify one bit with their Cuban heritage. It crushes my heart to think it's even possible. I bust my nalgas speaking Spanish to them, reading to them in Spanish, sharing traditional ursery rhymes and songs, playing salsa music. I struggle to bring a little bit of my island fever to our very non-Cuban New England home. I tell myself I'll do what I can to the death so at least I'll know I've tried. And it's no easy feat, considering I'm not exactly the most Cubanita on the block.
But to hear my little girl belt out those lyrics with her hips giving a good shimmy, I almost cried. Actually on the inside I did; I cried a sobby, over-dramatic Cuban cry with one hand on my heart and the other waving in the air mumbling something about my baby having the island in her blood. I don't know if I can take any credit for it or if she really was born with a hint of the island in her but it made me proud and it gave me fuel to keep on doing what I'm doing. It's my job to nourish the island in her. One day she will find her own way there and figure out how to live somewhere between that lovely isla and the mainland, on the hyphen.
Yo vengo de todas partes
Y hacia todas partes voy.