Musings of a new Mommy Roots
by Deepa Mathew
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Does anyone actually fill out and mail the Annual Census form? Well, being the diligent new immigrant and 7 months pregnant, I sat down with purpose one day and filled it out. It wasn't brain surgery, easy enough to figure out which box to check, for Oscars and my respective ethnicity, race, etc. Until I looked at the box 'Other'. It occurred to me that I would have to check that box for my son, who is neither fully Asian nor fully Hispanic. I was horrified that my son wouldn't belong anywhere..... just an 'Other'. Before we even decided to have children, I was determined that they would know and learn to appreciate their mixed heritage. I don't claim to be an expert on the Indian culture by any stretch of the imagination, considering that I can be very culturally confused sometimes, growing up in Kuwait with 20 different nationalities (you can guess the extent of my identity crisis by now). Its a wonder I'm not prancing around with dread locks and a caftan. But the little cultural knowledge and spattering of my native language that I do possess, I'd like to pass on to my son. By the way, Daniels first repetitive word was in Spanish - 'Hola'. For the life of me, I cannot understand how he said Hola after his Grandmother, considering I babble 24/7 to him in my native tongue. The next thing I know the cat will be speaking Espanol! Then again, he is a New Yorker, from Queens nonetheless. A few days ago, we were walking through Jackson Heights in Queens, NY, a.k.a Little India. Ah! I love the smell of Indian food wafting through the streets, looking at the ridiculously expensive colorful clothes and jewellery that are so reminiscent of India. Makes me want to hug every 'Indian' looking person I see, no matter how loony I may come off! It always feels so good to be reminded of my roots. I think that's really important living in a place like New York City, where everyone is a mutt in some form or another.
Daniel deserves to know about his spiritual heritage as well. His great grandparents were officers in the Salvation Army and his great grand uncle was a Pastor. I grew up in a Christian home my whole life and was taught to love God. Its up to me as his mother to impart to him, not just his rich cultural heritage but his Christian heritage as well. In a world where faith and values are so blurred and muddled, its imperative that Daniel knows where and in what his roots are grounded. He is not just an 'Other', lost in the statistics. God knew who he was while he was being knit together in the womb and called Him by name. There is a reason God asks us to keep telling our children about His faithfulness and goodness in times past ....so they do not forget.
Paul's protege Timothy, was a mutt, half Greek and half Jew. But it was his Jewish mother, Eunice and grandmother Lois (I love how the Bible mentions their names alliterating what great women they were), that taught him about the God of his people. Timothy may have been an 'Other', but he went on to be a great leader in the early church. My desire is for Daniel to not only appreciate where his cultural roots lie, but that he would not forget the God of his forefathers.
"...We will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD, his power, and the wonders he has done...... so the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born, and they in turn would tell their children. Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget his deeds but would keep his commands."
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