Childhood Memories: Protecting My Mother

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I grew up in Oaxaca, Mexico. Oaxaca is a very active city both during the day and during the night. Although the community is large with many streets, and great groups of diverse people, everybody seems to know each other. My family consisted of my parents, seven brothers, one sister, and myself. We were all very different despite being so closely related in age – each sibling being apart in age by only two years or less. Due to our proximity in age, each of us was closest to the sibling that was immediately older and/or younger in age. This way, the sibling who was immediately older in age would have to take care of the younger one, and so on. We had this system worked out, and it worked. It was like a chain of dependency. Despite being around each other often, we were definitely not the “typical” Mexican family that sat around the table for supper and exchanged stories and laughter. Instead, my mother would make food and store it; we were all expected to serve ourselves whenever we grew hungry. This created a very distant relationship between our parents and their children. But it also made us very independent at an early age. My parents did their best to educate us and teach us manners, but their very long work schedules, at times, made it very difficult for them to give us all the support we needed. I cannot complain, though. We never lacked food, clothing, or a shelter. Our home was dominated by a strong male presence. I recall being aware of the gendered differences between the way that my brothers and I were treated as opposed to my sister and my mother. I accepted this difference without giving it much thought, because I assumed that Mexican households were run. We, as men, were taught to be auto-sufficient ... ... middle of paper ... ...e that my mother had suddenly gotten up and had grabbed a pan from the kitchen to protect herself. I do not really remember what happened after that, I just remember that this affected our family’s dynamics. Nothing was the same after that evening. I think that my mother felt the support that we had for her after we protected her during that violent moment, because she never allowed my father to hit her again. To be honest, I am not sure if he ever even tried. I like to believe that my mother never experienced my father’s violence ever again. I was very close to my mother and after that moment, I felt that she also felt closer to me. I feel like she appreciated my reaction to this violent situation. Regardless, I definitely felt a stronger mutual connection. This was a moment that really marked me as a person and represented my childhood. It was all very complex.
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