Skip to main content

Celebrating St. Patrick's Day

 For 364 days a year, we're Guatemalan. On March 17th, we celebrate our Irish heritage.

As a bilingual and bicultural family, we focus on keeping the minority culture alive in our home on a daily basis--speaking Spanish, eating Guatemalan food, having a wardrobe of traje tipico, and traveling to and from Guatemala as frequently as we can. 

But because we focus so much on instilling our children with their Hispanic roots, I want them to know the fabric of our family's history is actually woven with thread from all over the globe. The US is often referred to as a "melting pot," as the majority of families can trace their heritage through immigration, albeit some further back generations than others.  I'm Scotch-Irish-English--my dad's side of the family is originated in England and Scotland, and my mother's side of the family is from Ireland and England. We can trade my maternal great-grandfather's family back to the Mayflower, and my maternal great-grandmother was an Irish immigrant herself. 

When we first adopted my husband's youngest sister and brother from Guatemala, I took them to Ellis Island in New York to see how previous generations of immigrants entered into this country to start a new life. My own great-grandmother, Anne M. Kenyon, left 11 brothers in Ireland in 1900 when she immigrated here to the US and passed through Ellis Island with her mother, Nancy. Nancy and Anne never saw their Irish relatives again.

So although my children are only 6.25% Irish, we celebrate St. Patrick's Day every year. We wear green and orange to represent our Northern Ireland Protestant-Irish roots, we eat corned beef and cabbage to remember the struggles of our turn-of-the-century Irish-American immigrant relatives, and we tell the story of Nancy and Anne over the dinner table, to keep their story alive. And maybe one day, all of us will get to visit Ireland and meet our relatives across the pond. 





Comments

  1. Important to share all parts of the family history.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Is 5 Little Monkeys Racist?

I’ve seen a lot of Tik Toks debunking children’s nursery rhymes lately. I have two toddlers, so now whenever I hear one of those rhymes, I think about their unsavory origins. But my son loves, loves Five Little Monkeys. He’s just learning to talk, and can almost say it by himself. I’ve thought about telling him to stop singing it since I learned in the original lyrics it’s not monkeys jumping on the bed, but he just gets so much joy from singing it as he jumps up and falls down, I thought... no harm, no foul, right? As long as he thinks the song is about monkeys, it’s ok.  Until my niece came over one day, and the three toddlers were playing on an old mattress we have on the living room floor for them to jump around on. My son asked me to sing 5 Little Monkeys. At first it was cute, because they literally were jumping on the bed, but then I took a good look at the three of them.  My kids are half-Guatemalan but very fair, like I am. Whereas my niece is half-black, and her skin happens

Storytime Bilingüe featuring “Buenas Noches Luna”

This week's Storytime Bilingue features Buenas Noches Luna , the Spanish translation of the beloved children's book Good Night Moon by Margaret Wise Brown. We love the vivid language and images, and the black and white contrast pages are particularly compelling for the little ones whose eyesight is still developing. You'll see how much Mateo interacts with the book during this reading! This is a story I have nearly memorized, because I read it to Maya consistently before bed during our bedtime routine. We've read it so much, she practically has it memorized, too. Sometimes she likes me to read it aloud, and sometimes she likes to "read" the book by describing the images. I actually wrote about her as an emerging bilingual reader in my earlier blog post,  Today a Reader, Tomorrow a Leader , but the highlight of that post is that research shows repeated readings of the same book really benefit early literacy and vocabulary acquisition. For that reason I

Why You Should Travel with Little Kids

I took my first cross-country road trip when I was six-weeks-old. My parents loaded me up in an old Ford Wagoneer and drove me home from my dad's hometown of Pittsburgh, PA, to my hometown of Ojai, CA. After that, we traveled back and forth between the East Coast and the West Coast every summer of my life. A few times we flew, but most years we loaded up the car with the suitcases, the dogs, and the children and drove 3,000 miles across the country. This early exposure to travel instilled within me a joy of seeing the world, and since that first trip I have visited 34 states and 14 countries. And I hope to share that same joy with my own little ones. Traveling with children can be hard--it disrupts their nap schedules, may involve crossing timelines, and definitely pushes everyone beyond their comfort zones. But seeing different countries and different parts of our country as children gives them a greater appreciation for cultural and regional differences, and it widens their exper