My kids are mutts. They have so many mixtures of culture, heritage, and genes in the mixing bowls of their souls. I love to look at them and see who they resemble and whose personality I see shining through them. I remember when I was carrying Gabriel in my womb, my husband and I decided to name him in honor of my father and in honor of my Mexican heritage.....we christened him "Gabriel Ruben". He looks the least Hispanic of all of my children and the most like the fair skinned Irish side of my family. He was born with the bluest of eyes and the lightest blond hair.
I want my kids to know where they come from. I want them to know who their people are, I want then to feel connected to their roots. I want them to be proud of the Mexican, Indian, French, Irish, German little MUTTS that they are!
This is why we celebrate Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead. I want my children to celebrate the lives of their family, even those whom they have never had the privilege to meet. On this day we prepare recipes of my grandmother and eat other favorite foods of loved ones. We purchased my grandfathers favorite beer and my other grandmothers favorite fruit. We lit candles on the piano, and played some of the music my grandmother taught me to play... music I have in turn, taught my children.
We look through old photos and scrap books and I tell them stories about the people in the pictures and hope that, someday when I die, my children's children will tell their kids about me; and what I have taught them.
This has become one of my favorite holidays of the year. I look forward to the return of those who have departed to share and celebrate their memories and legacy with us.