Dear son,

You turn 19 years old today.  I know you’re not where you want to be. And I know it’s frustrating. You are strong, much stronger than you realize. Not everyone your age has lived through everything you have, which makes you very unique.  Maybe you’ve had so many different experiences that when you put them all together they seem confusing. Who are you? Where are your roots? Where are you going? What do you want?

You were born in Spain, a foreign country, but a country which is yours by birthright. You were brought up here, though part of you feels like you’re from somewhere else. You’re also from my country and I’ve tried to bring you up celebrating all our traditions. You started speaking a little later than most children because you were acquiring two different languages and you found that frustrating as a young child. I’ll never forget the morning you were playing on the living room floor and I put on Dora the Explorer. Dora said most things in English, but would occasionally say phrases in Spanish. The first time you heard her, your head tilted and you lifted your gaze to the TV set as if to say, “finally, there’s someone like me!”

One day we were at the “secret park” with your best friend and you were getting tired. You said to me “Vamos pa home”. (Let’s go home) My Asturian friend thought that was the funniest thing she’d ever heard. Spanish, Bable and English all in a three-word sentence.

Then you lived through our divorce. You had to adapt to two different homes. You were old enough to remember that, so I don’t need to remind you.

After that time, there were some very happy years. You loved getting together with friends and family to go hiking in the mountains. We had fun get-togethers every weekend and yearly birthday parties at home. We played lots of games and cards. On Friday nights we got to watch movies while eating pizza on the couch. We took you and your friends to beaches, zoos, parks, and picnics.

In sixth grade you even spent a year living with your American grandparents and going to school in the US. That year abroad changed you and forged you into a truly bicultural person. You came to realize that there are different mentalities in different places and that one must know how to behave in each place.

Next you went through adolescence and high school. That’s when things started hurting more. I had prepared myself for an extremely rebellious adolescence, but you were polite, hardworking, loving, considerate, driven, rigorous, and almost too good to be true. I took your black clothes and dark music as your personal way of rebelling. I’m sorry I didn’t realize you were suffering. You hid it too well. But still, I should have known.

When I was your age I was studying at college. I was totally confused and really had no idea what I really wanted out of life. I was scared a lot of the time. I wanted close friends and wished I had a great boyfriend. It seemed like it was easier for everybody else to be happy. Now I realize they were probably just as confused as I was.

Time is on your side now. You are young and there are endless choices and countless possible outcomes. The best thing is that you don’t have to make any decisions until you’re ready. Take your time to learn more about yourself and what you want. We don’t have any say in what you decide. It’s up to you, but we’ll be with you whenever you need us. I won’t say every step of the way because you probably don’t want your parents around all the time now that you’re an adult.

You’re multilingual, bicultural and you’ve lived most of your life between two houses. Your different families have distinct ways of living and thinking. It’s no wonder it’s so confusing. You are a combination of all of us. Your roots spread wider than most. I hope that someday this will make you the strongest, tallest and wisest tree in the forest.

When I was a bit younger than you, I used to listen to a song by Cat Stevens called Father and Son. It’s a dialogue between the two of them. The father says, “take you time, think a lot, think of everything you’ve got for you will still be hear tomorrow though your dreams may not.” The son answers, “All the time that I’ve cried, keeping all the things I knew inside. It’s hard, but it’s harder to ignore it. If they were right, I’d agree, but it’s them they know not me.”

I hope you enjoy the song as much as I do and it helps you to understand that we will all understand and accept the choices you make.

Son, I have never been prouder of you than I am today.

https://youtu.be/X8W5U2tIFQI

“Father And Son”
[Father:]
It’s not time to make a change
Just relax, take it easy
You’re still young, that’s your fault
There’s so much you have to know
Find a girl, settle down
If you want you can marry
Look at me, I am old, but I’m happy

I was once like you are now, and I know that it’s not easy
To be calm when you’ve found something going on
But take your time, think a lot
Why, think of everything you’ve got
For you will still be here tomorrow, but your dreams may not

[Son:]
How can I try to explain, cause when I do he turns away again
It’s always been the same, same old story
From the moment I could talk I was ordered to listen
Now there’s a way and I know that I have to go away
I know I have to go

[Father:]
It’s not time to make a change
Just sit down, take it slowly
You’re still young, that’s your fault
There’s so much you have to go through
Find a girl, settle down
If you want you can marry
Look at me, I am old, but I’m happy

[Son:]
All the times that I cried, keeping all the things I knew inside
It’s hard, but it’s harder to ignore it
If they were right, I’d agree, but it’s them they know not me
Now there’s a way and I know that I have to go away
I know I have to go

 

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