Growing Up

English: Mother and child at the show, 1938. B...

College. It’s a very difficult transition between childhood and adulthood. After high school I packed my bags, bought a winter coat, and moved two-thousand miles away to school in the Midwest. I considered this growing up, living on my own. My mother did not.

Letting go doesn’t come easy to any mother. Mine grew up Mexico with uncommon philosophies: family first, blood is thicker than water, and care for your own. She found many American practices cold and heartless. She never understood how a parent could push their child out of the house at eighteen, or how that child could turn around  and place his parents that raised him into an institution to be cared for by complete strangers:  An act she considers void of love.

As you can imagine, I can’t just tell my mom that I am an adult. She disregards the fact that I’ve moved out. I still come home for summer and Christmas holidays after all. When she looks at me she still sees her little girl. She says no age can change the fact that I’m her daughter, and she’s my mother.


A Word From the Black Sheep

I’ve always joke with my parents that I am  adopted, and it’s not just because I’m suspicious of those baby pictures.  Actually, I came up with a couple of reasons.

1.) So…I’m not outdoorsy

I know my parents have always felt a tinge of disappointment when they dragged me along on their family vacations. Through all their nature hikes as they strove the rugged terrain almost effortlessly, I lagged behind swatting mosquitos and kicking pebbles out of my shoe,  panting the whole way. They would also wake up early for these “excursions.” My father would be lacing up his hiking boots, and I would be applying my last two coats of mascara that my father would try to convince me were unnecessary. I knew better. After these hikes, my father would be inspired to take a family picture. Without fail, that would be the picture that would be sent with our Christmas cards to the entire church congregation. I’d suffered through enough bleary-eyed, sweaty and  sticky images of myself on my friend’s  fridges.  So..yes to that pre-hike touch-up.

This is an old picture, but in case you didn’t know I’m the one on the far right.

2.) Uh…I’m not athletic either

I really feel that genetics owes me an explanation on this one, or at least an apology.  My father was captain of his high school football team, and he continued to play football in college. My mother played on a women’s volleyball team growing up; she’s a natural on the court and lives for Memorial Day volleyball tournaments at church. My sister was elected Most Valuable Player on her soccer team two years in a row. My brother is an accomplished soccer player and gymnast who can run for miles and miles. What happened to me? The minute I set foot on a court or playing field of any kind I’m usually greeted with a  cacophony of groans and grumbles. After about a decade of receiving this reaction I’ve  learned it’s probably in everyone’s best interest that I avoid these situations in general. It keeps everyone happy, points on the scoreboard, and my self-image intact. Let’s just say the last day of girl’s Jericho sports was one of the happiest days so far.

3.) And those baby pictures!

As you can see in the above picture, I’m a five-foot-seven, brunette with green eyes and fairly tan skin. My baby pictures, however, portray a pale-skinned, blue-eyed infant that I refuse to believe is me.  The child in the pictures does not look like it has a drop of Hispanic blood in her veins, not to mention her eyes are so big they take up half of her face. I would always kid with my mom and tell her that she (the child in the picture) was her real baby; I was probably kidnapped as a child from some shopping mall somewhere years ag0.

Obviously, I realize I was not adopted. I look too much like my mom. I’m reminded of this constantly by those galling mall salesmen who pull the classic “You guys are sisters, right?” My mom loves it; I hate it. I do find it ironic that what I like in genetic traits I made up for in physical resemblance. It’s probably God’s way of assuring me that I actually was born into this family, that despite all that I do belong.