Raising Multicultural Children…The Best of Both Worlds

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multi-culturalThis summer marks the 54th anniversary of the Loving v. Virginia Supreme Court decision, one that many people may not be familiar with yet holds a special significance for my husband and me. On this day, also referred to as “Loving Day,” Mildred & Richard Loving won their court case and paved the way for interracial marriage in this country.

When we watched the film “Loving,” chronicling their story, my husband turned to me and asked, “You know that would have been us?” Although in my head I knew he was right, my heart was someplace else. I suppose I’ve taken for granted our Twenty-First Century romance.

I rarely think of race when I look at my husband, and I know he feels the same. In fact, the only time I think about race at all is when it comes to raising our multicultural children.

One of the first texts that I received from my husband was a video of his parent’s salsa dancing. My in-laws were born in Ecuador and took great pride in their Spanish heritage. My husband also took great pride in showing me that video, which was very endearing! I was moved by how his large family was so close and did things like dance together! I grew up in a tiny, very reserved family (we Scandinavians aren’t known for our warmth…or our salsa!) so, I found myself drawn to his family’s vibrant culture!

When our twins were born, we knew that we wanted them exposed to their Spanish heritage as much as possible. We were blessed to have my mother-in-law watch them two days a week and speak to them exclusively in Spanish. From day one, they have heard both languages spoken in our household.

When our babies became toddlers and started yelling at us in Spanish, we realized they really were bilingual!! “Mas” (which means more) has always been a commonly used word in our house, as is “agua” for water. They know how to count in Spanish and know the words for most colors and animals. Although COVID has created some distance between the twins and their extended family, their Spanish is still quite good, and they often teach me a word or two!

Language is just the tip of the iceberg. My in-laws have exposed our kids to Spanish cuisines such as empanadas and plantains. (My cuisine growing up consisted mostly of chicken nuggets and mac and cheese!). We listen to Spanish music in the car and have salsa dance parties at home. And when we attend large family events with my husband’s family, the twins get to see a diverse group of people, Hispanic, White, Asian, African American, all related by marriage and commingling in love.

My husband and I have never faced any discrimination as a mixed-race, multicultural couple; in fact, we see our pairing as the best of both worlds!

Introducing our children to our diverse backgrounds is very important to us. To the twins, living in a bilingual household is all they know. In today’s world, knowing two languages is a great advantage!

Maybe one day, when they’re older, they’ll appreciate the gift they have been given. We also hope growing up bi-racial gives them a sense of empathy towards those who may not look like them or sound like them. And isn’t that all we can hope for, raising kind kids?

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Kate is a working mom who is constantly trying to balance the chaos of a full-time advertising career with caring for her twins. She is a New York transplant who’s fallen in love with the CT shoreline she now calls home. Kate lives by the beach in Fairfield with her husband and boy/girl twins. When not working or chasing her kids you can find Kate sweating it out at a Bar Method Class or watching reality TV with wine in hand! Having it all may be a myth but Kate is trying her damnedest to live a balanced life. She hopes you can relate as you follow along on her crazy journey through motherhood!

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