I began observing Mexican culture many years ago when I became very close to my friend Carla*, who is from Mexico City. I realized that their mother works her hardest just to have a refrigerator full of fresh food, clothes for Carla and Cristina* to wear, a safe home, etc. Their mother, Maria*, is a house cleaner and she probably cleans 10 to 15 houses a week, no joke. But Maria wasn’t a house cleaner in Mexico. She was an important assistant for the president of Mexico. For personal reasons, Maria and her two daughters moved to the U.S. and Maria’s credentials were seen as insignificant. That is how she became a house cleaner. But Maria does a fantastic job in the homes of her clients and she is very friendly with them, although her English is very poor. Somehow Maria and her clients communicate, and when Maria is lucky one of her daughters translates for her. Maria works hard and spoils her daughters – she gives them what they need and want (which is why they are spoiled). But I noticed that she spoils them because she has no one else in her life that means so much to her. If you look at their situation, they are foreigners in the U.S. with no family. The three of them only have each other, so of course Maria lives and breathes to take care of Carla and Cristina. The three of them do everything together – they go to cafes, restaurants, get-togethers, dinners, movies, shopping, etc. Anything you can think of, they do together. Carla and Cristina also help their mother clean homes when they are not at work or at school. I saw that the value of family is most important to them, especially in a foreign country.
I haven’t been babbling about family for nothing. My whole reason behind this in-depth reflection about family is because I see the family ties at La Lagunilla. I teach the women at the center, so I get to see the women walk into the center and take their child(ren) to the appropriate class, and then they meet me for class. When classes are finished, the children run over to our class area and hug their mothers and show them what they did that day. It is so cute! I also notice a family bond between the mothers. The women in my class are friends, but they treat one another like sisters sometimes. They joke around, gossip and help each other. If Agustina doesn’t know how to pronounce a word Eve will help her. This always makes me feel joy inside, because Agustina is an abuela (grandmother) and Eve is of an age to where she can be mistaken as a daughter of Agustina. I’m not sure if they are related by blood, but I don’t think it matters. These women interact with one another as if they are a family. And in a sense they are. This center is a community. These children and women that come each week are a community, a family.
*Names are changed for privacy
Con paz y amor,