When I was a teen my mother mused about the day I would marry. It wasn’t that she couldn’t wait for me to marry but it was her subtle way to inform me what was expected of me.
In am a first generation Mexican-American (if you need to be politically correct) and as an immigrant my mother expected me to marry a Mexican immigrant or another Mexican-American.
In my late twenties after I passed “the ideal” marrying age my mom announced she would accept any Hispanic nationality as a son in law. “As long as they speak Spanish” Hmm.. I knew many who were NOT of Hispanic heritage and spoke Spanish very well. It went in one ear and out the other.
I really never encountered racism living in south Texas; may be because most of my friends were from mixed races or because I was blessed to have always gravitated to open minded people (cultures, politics, and sexual orientation) that prejudice was never an issue. I’d been blessed to grow up in America, the melting pot and believed if love was going to find me I wasn’t going to dismiss it because it wasn’t in the “acceptable packaging” I was told. Hearing my mother’s “requests” was like listening to stereo type characters on a sitcom.
I took it as something to tease my mom over, because my mom would be offended if I called her a racist. She just wanted things to be easy for me; and for her of course. Her desire to able to communicate with her future grandchildren (in Spanish) was A MUST! As if we were not bilingual. Why wouldn’t she be able to communicate? She didn’t want race to be an issue in my marriage. I think she was more afraid my future husband’s family, if from a different race would give me a hard time.
In my early 30’s she was willing to pawn me on to anyone that would take me. No matter the race, color or language they spoke. She let me know she could not die in piece knowing I WAS ALONE! (How dramatic!)
I have known my mother to be old fashioned, but I had not realized to the extent she felt she had failed as a mother for not having all of her children married. I was the difficult one: the oldest of three. What was WRONG with me? She blamed my temper. She would advise me to not be so picky. I had to refrain from arguing with her because I knew she didn’t mean any harm, but I wondered if she knew me at all?