This is a bit of an impromptu post but I felt like I had to get it off my chest. I got teary eyed today…okay maybe I shed a couple of tears but who’s counting. I swear this is language related! Okay, so there are so many times that we take the languages we know for granted, especially those we grew up speaking. I wrote about Growing up Bilingual earlier this month and in that post I mentioned how at one point when I was younger I wanted to stop speaking Spanish. I hated only being able to speak Spanish at home, I hated having to translate everywhere we went, and I hated being interrupted while playing to have to read the mail. Luckily this didn’t last very long once I realized there were plenty of other kids like me who were bilingual. Over the years I see more and more how blessed I am to have been able to grow up bilingual and to full capacity, meaning reading, writing, listening, and speaking.
Today I had two moments where it really hit me how grateful I am that my mom taught me the language and continues to push me to be even better. Yeah, as a native speaker I still make mistakes. Most stem from me throwing a little bit of English in the mix, but even to this day my mom will correct me and teach me any new words that come up, even fun obscure ones like Ornitorrinco which is one of my favorite words, and means platypus! The first moment is the one that got me teary eyed. I was unpacking when I got a message from my mom on Facebook. She had sent me a 3 minute video in English and had asked me if I could please watch it and summarize it for her. I figured since it was just 3 minutes long I would just translate the whole thing for her. As I was sitting there watching the video and typing the translation in Spanish it hit me how incredible it was that I even had the ability to do this. The fact that I could so easily sit there and have the words come to me in Spanish that I had heard only seconds prior in English, made me so proud to be bilingual and so grateful to my mother.
It’s moments like these that I want to be able to experience in all the languages I study, those moments of pride that make you love and appreciate the language even more. If you are a parent trying to raise your children bilingual, I know it can be a struggle and a fight sometimes. They may not see it or appreciate it now but one day, one day they will be so eternally grateful to you for the gift you have given them. Don’t give up!