Because if I titled this post what I really wanted to title it, it would be sure to pop up all kinds of thorns and such...but really what I wanted to say was something more along these lines....
Despite a very happy childhood, despite a loving family, despite some most excellent moments of spontaneity...when I was a kid, I wished my family were Mexican.
Hold-up, what's that?
What U.S. born, white-anglo-saxon kid wishes they were part of a minority group?
It wasn't that I wished we were specifically Mexican, it was more that I liked what I saw when Mexican families gathered together for celebrations. It just looked like so much fun!
I can remember going for Sunday drives and after a bit in the car, my dad would find a park for us to run and play and get some wiggles out. Inevitably, there would be a HUGE (like 40-100) group of hispanic families having a party. Some of the men and boys would be playing soccer, the women would be under the park-shelter tending to food and conversation, and dozens of cousins would be running around the playground having a wonderful time.
I had about one-dozen cousins, but all but one lived in other states. The idea of having dozens of cousins seemed like the perfect way to instantly have loads of playmates and friends.
I remember my mom and dad being bothered by loud "oompahpah" sounding music, ill-behaved children, and inebriated adults. I remember thinking "why can't we have music and pinatas at our parties?"
It seemed to me that there was a richer heritage, that there was more importance placed on tradition, and a deep sense of family that made even a second cousin as important as a brother or sister. Nevermind the whole idea of God Parents who weren't even related but promised to take care of you just like you were their own child. This all seemed amazing to me.
Time has gone on and I've discovered that my family has a far more interesting heritage than I realized during those young years. Our traditions might not be as colorful as other's but they are ours.
We still don't bring our own music to the park, and we've yet to have a pinata, but I'll bet when our family gathers together in celebration, other kids look at us and wish they had a family just like ours.