I'm the bridge between Latin America & the United States in my family
I was eight years old when my family moved to the United States. It was just my parents, me and my younger brother, who was only 2 at the time. My family adjusted quickly to life in America. I learned English, went to school and pretty much consider myself an American. My parents had a bit of a tougher time learning English, of course, but--despite their heavy accents--they are pretty comfortable with the language now and we often talk only in English when we're all together.
They've adjusted to life here and we all consider ourselves proud Americans. I consider myself as having (mostly) grown up here but my brother, despite being raised by a Cuban father and Russian mother, is the true Gringo of the family.
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In fact, if you didn't know he wasn't born here, you would have any reason to guess that he wasn't. Although it's not something we frequently notice, I've started to realize that, when it comes to my multi-cultural family, I'm often the one bridging the gap between my parents and my brother.
When I went to college, I had to check in with them once a day. That was just "the rules" (well, if I wanted their financial help, that is) and I never minded it too much, since I'm close with my mom and have a reason to chat with her almost every day. My brother's reaction to the same college rules, though, has been to get mad.
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He absolutely HATES the fact that he has to check in with them every single day, even though he has it easier what with texting and all that. He doesn't get why it's such a necessity when most of his friends only call their folks once a week. Meanwhile my poor dad has totally freaked out on more than one occasion when he didn't hear from my brother by 10 p.m. that day.
I'm always the one that ends up calming everyone down. I explain to my parents, over and over, that my brother doesn't get it because he doesn't see the same thing happening with his peers. Then I go and tell him why our immigrant, family-oriented parents just want to make sure that he's okay.
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It's not just this situation either. My parents and brother argue all the time over the big differences between the way Latin families and American families operate. I sit there, stuck in the middle, bridging the gap between my parent's traditional roots and the way my brother grew up.
I don't necessarily mind my "job", but it has made me realize how wide the gap is at times. I don't know how our relationships will develop as my brother grows up and matures but I have a feeling that this will probably always be the case for us. Family dynamics are what they are and, hey, at least I love them.
Have you ever had to bridge the cultural gap in your family? What are your unique family dynamics like? Share with us in the comments below!
Image via Irina Gonzalez