Dear Mija: A Letter to My Future Bilingual & Bicultural Daughter

Dear Mija

Months before we were ever pregnant I begin wondering and reading about how to raise bilingual and bicultural kids. I soaked up any stories, tips and ideas from other moms and families that I could find. Then my friend Sarah, from a A Life With Subtitles, introduced me to SpanglishBaby. Let me say it is a GREAT resource for parents, teachers, or anyone who works in a bicultural/bilingual setting. It feels like walking into a friend’s living room and finding 10 other moms who are navigating this unique territory, nodding their heads along with you, saying “yeah, me, too.”

I like how the internet can bring people together and sometimes make you feel a little more connected, despite the miles between.

I was honored yesterday that they posted one of my pieces; a letter I wrote to my future bilingual and bicultural daughter. You can read it here on SpanglishBaby’s site.

{photo credit: Dave Christenson}

 

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7 thoughts on “Dear Mija: A Letter to My Future Bilingual & Bicultural Daughter

  1. First off, I somehow missed the post that you are having a girl! Wahoooooo. I LOVE having a daughter and am sure you will too. Will you speak English to her and Gerber Spanish? That’s what Sebastian who taught at SMHS did and it has worked really well (his daughter even thought she had to translate between her two parents!)

  2. Helen, yes…I guess I never did properly announce it on the blog. But yes, we’re having a girl! And so SO excited! We haven’t totally decided on the bilingual piece. It would makes most sense for me to use only English and Gerber only Spanish, but we usually speak English between us and Spanish with everyone else. So I’m just hoping she picks up both regardless of what we do or don’t do. Maybe it’s wishful parenting : )

  3. Hi Michelle, I just wanted to thank you for your letter. As
    a daughter in a bicultural family, I know first-hand the importance
    of addressing this part of parenting. Maybe it was just “different
    times” back then, but my parents didn’t think of their two very
    different cultures as something that would be significant in our
    lives (mine and my sisters’). As a result, I’ve never been able to
    see the beauty in the differences between my family’s cultures.
    I’ve always felt like I had to be “either or” and I’ve never felt
    like I was enough of either one. It has been a prominent struggle
    for me my whole life. It’s something that I am trying on a daily
    basis to come to terms with and to change (that’s how I came across
    your letter). I’m so glad that you recognize that belonging to
    multiple cultures is something that requires attention. Your
    daughter is a fortunate little girl to have you as a parent. I hope
    your guidance helps her to love both of her cultures and to never
    feel like an outsider to either. Best wishes! :]

  4. Lilah, thank you for sharing your experience. I sometimes feel unprepared and inadequate to introduce her to these two cultures and languages…that hopefully one day will be her own, but I’m going to learn along the way. Please stay in touch!

  5. When you think about it as a parent, it does seem like a daunting task. I know you and I are strangers, but for what it’s worth, I think you’ll be fine. You’re off to a great start.

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