Posted by ZihuaRob on February 28, 2001 at 07:18:46:
In Reply to: Re: Pretty Tough posted by Michael@g2m on February 27, 2001 at 21:21:04:
You most definitely have described the experience of being part of a Mexican family!
It is not limited to just blood lines, but includes relatives from marriages and padrinos, madrinas, ahijados, ahijadas, compadres and comadres. A cousin is a cousin whether he/she is the offspring of your aunt/uncle or whether he/she is the offspring of a cousin of your aunt/uncle. And your aunts/uncles include the cousins of your spouse's parents. It is all treated pretty much the same.
And I thought I had a large family back in Kentucky and throughout the South! I've come to have a much larger and more cohesive family here.
I know what you mean about the protective parents. My suegra, before I married Lupita, would always tell me her daughter was "ocupada" whenever I called on her. It took a very thick skin and lots of perseverance to win my suegra's approval and acceptance and, finally, her affection. Even my wife's friends were protective of her, always trying to run me off. But one by one I won their confidence and respect. And now I can truly feel and appreciate my roots in the family and community of my adopted country.
And a complete command of Spanish makes it possible to appreciate to the fullest what it means to be accepted into such an extensive family. While I was still learning to communicate the acceptance was proportional to my ability to understand, but as the time passed and my Spanish improved so did my relationship with all members of the family, no matter how distant.
I believe the U.S. culture has, in most cases, lost the essence of what the family bonds mean. What was so important in the past has now come to be incidental if not extinct altogether. Truly a shame, and a regrettable state of the current U.S. culture. Hopefully the influence of Latin-American culture on the U.S. will reverse that trend.