Rebecca, your piece has a special place in my heart. No, I am not Mexican. I am very WASC — white, Anglo-Saxon, Catholic — the Catholic part stems from my Irish and French ancestors. But, I adopted an Honduran teenager and my grandchildren are Honduran /Puerto Rican. My second and current husband is Argentinian. Many of our friends are Hispanic and Spaniard. I struggled to learn Spanish so I could better communicate with my family and friends, so I could be part of their Spanish conversations. I even hired a personal tutor, who tactfully and gently suggested that I don’t have a talent for languages. I am currently working on a piece for Medium about that experience.
I see my grandchildren, like you, floating between cultures. Besides their quick-to-tan skin, they look no more Hispanic than I do. New acquaintances always assume they are my blood grandchildren, remarking how they look just like me. They understand Spanish well but are reluctant to speak it, although they, especially my grandson, can communicate well in everyday Spanish — simple conversations.
I watch from the sidelines as they navigate two cultures, searching for their places in both.