My mama always made sure that we knew and celebrated our cultural heritage (though I never got my own quinciñera, so I'll have to live vicariously through my girls for that one), and Daddy supported her in this. I also strive to celebrate both the American and Puerto Rican cultures in our home. My dear hubby is also supportive, though he sometimes doesn't quite understand it. For example, he doesn't quite get why I see the beauty I see and have the love I have for my vejigante, nor why I was willing to be so preoccupied in finding just the right one during our whole visit to Puerto Rico (and why I spent the money I did for it). But he allowed me to buy it, and he allowed me to spend additional money to mail it safely back home, and he even allows me to hang it in our house (though not in our bedroom--he says it creeps him out. But our kids love it as much as I do. Must be a cultural thing. HAHAHAHA!!).
Another one he doesn't quite get (and, quite frankly, he often laughs at) is the Puerto Rican mouse. You see, when my kids lose teeth, the Puerto Rican mouse comes all the way here on his little boat to take the teeth home and build his house with them. (And the time the tooth was still under my son's pillow three nights in a row, the mouse must have been caught in a storm on the ocean. That's a long way to come for a little mouse, after all. He can't always make it in one night.) I recently overheard my kids talking about the Puerto Rican mouse. They had come to the conclusion that a mouse doesn't need a huge house, and he's Puerto Rican, so he must only take the teeth of Puerto Rican children. They were pitying those poor other children whose parents had to make up silly stories like the Tooth Fairy.
Anyway, my poor guy just didn't quite get what he originally signed up for. When we first started dating and he found out that I'm Puerto Rican, he told me, "I always kind of thought I'd like to end up with someone exotic." Um...yeah....anybody who knows me knows that I'm anything but exotic. Weird? Definitely. Atypical--especially for a girl? Without a doubt. Exotic? Not so much. We moved around a lot when I was little, but when we finally settled down, it was out in the country. I went to school at a back-woods-tiny school, with 12 people in my graduating class. I love shooting guns and riding motorcycles through the fields at my parents' house, and I have a passion for Star Wars. My daddy recently told me, "You're so cool! You're almost a boy!"
But I love my heritage--all parts of it. And I'm making sure my kids are growing up just as exotic and diverse!
After all, it's all part of who they are!