I stared at the two pictures for a couple of days and I then added a third picture I took of my sweetness last Fourth of July. Something very profound came to me when I looked at all three pictures collectively, "This is the triangle of our lives." The surface … one side of the triangle is a picture of my beautiful all-American girl, the other side a picture of my little nena … half of me (third generation Mexican-American) and the other side my little chador baby … half of my husband (first generation Iranian-American). Looking deeper … I see a triangle of language, culture and faith. This is how we balance the triad of responsibility bestowed on us as the proud parents of a multicultural child … how we live our days as a melting pot family:
My Spanish is not so great, but I do all right … my husband's Farsi, perfect. My culture deep rooted … my husband's the same. My faith, devout Christian … my husband is a Shi'ite Muslim, and not as devout, although much of his culture (to me) is faith based.
When our child wakes up in the morning the first thing she wants to do is dance and sing. I have a mix of her favorite music that ranges from mariachi, ranchera, cumbia, music in Farsi and country all the way to Laurie Berkner and Dan Zanes. Our child just loves to dance and sing (in any language).
For breakfast some days it is homemade flour tortillas (quesadillas if she wants cheese) … she loves them! I can't wait until she tries her first bowl of menudo! Some say menudo is an acquired taste. I hope she acquires the taste because it is the best food in the world. The next day for breakfast it's oatmeal or cereal or naan va panir (Persian bread and cheese), but some days she just wants a croissant or a bagel (so American). For dinner it is arroz (rice) con pollo (chicken) y frijoles (beans) or jujeh (chicken) kabob, berenge (rice), maasto khiar (cucumber yogurt). It's chicken and rice all time in our house people! I've tried to force my carnivorous ways on our child, but she's not having it (that's another story)! Funny, our child loves chicken, but hates eggs. Go figure (LOL). Our child also LOVES to make chai (tea) with Daddy Jan (dear) at night (she dips the tea bag) and eat chocolate rollete (a yummy Persian pastry), but she also likes pan dulce (Mexican sweet bread) and leche con chocolate mexicana (milk with Mexican chocolate … Abuelita chocolate is the best).
We speak English, Spanish and Farsi in our home. I have to say, Daddy is doing a much better job of passing along Farsi than I am Spanish. I am so proud of him. It is a chore for me because Spanish is my second language, but I do it gladly because of what it means to my child and her future. I'm actually getting much better now that I have been speaking more in Spanish. Some days she's, "Lida Khanoom", "Missy Muffin" or "Mija". Other day's she's "Traviesa", "Shatoonak Khanoom" or "Little Devil", but most days she's just, "Lida Khoshgeleh" (beautiful Lida) or "Mi Princessa" (my princess). We say our ABC's in English and in Spanish, but when Shatoonak Khanoom (Ms. Little Devil) does not listen it is: (1) one, two, three; (2) uno, dos, tres; or (3) yek, doe, ce, and then a timeout! She responds to all three.
We celebrate Christmas, Easter, Norooz, Las Posadas and Mexican Independence Day … all with faith and pride.
I have known my husband for 24 years (we met when we were both 17 … yeiks do the math). We had always talked about what it would be like to raise a family with both of our languages, cultures and faiths. How would we do it? We're doing it now and it is nothing like I imagined, but more than I could have ever dreamed. This is the triangle of our lives … making the cultures, languages and faiths all melt together and keeping it all balanced. We are giving our child strong roots (raíces) so she can grow strong and pass this along to her children. This is important to us. Do what you can to teach your child what you know and more. Language, culture and faith are their history and will give them a connection.
Story submitted by Sandra of MPM - South OC