Guest Column: A letter to my immigrant parents

By Angeles Coss

A Letter to My Immigrant Parents

Dear Mom and Dad,

I don’t blame you for anything that you’ve done. Leaving everything behind, family, loved ones and friends. You two left everything behind for us, your kids. You guys both came to a country, a country that was a stranger to you both; a country that involved a new language, new culture, and new people. That did not stop you nor scare you, nothing ever has when it comes to your kids. Risking your lives to get to this country just so that we could grow in a better place. A place that gives you opportunities. Opportunities you two didn’t have but we will because of you two. This letter is written from the bottom of my heart.

I hear you guys talk about the money you saved for that beautiful, small and warm house. A house where you two built your aspirations of life and your dreams of raising a family there. It still stands there in Mexico. A small average house, with a white truck outside and a full home full of furniture. A loving home that now stands as lonely and sad. A sad home that after 18 years it’s still waiting for its owners. Standing there through rainy, sunny and dark days. A house that’s slowly dying. No one to keep it warm. It understands that you two left to a better place and a better home. It does not hold a grudge on you, it never will because after all these years it knows it was built with love and that one day you’ll be back.

I hear you guys talk about your childhood memories in that small town. A town that keeps all your laughs, friends, and memories. Memories that will always stay there. I know you two miss it and it makes me sad. Sad because you’d have to choose between your past and your future. A future that involves your kids. I know you two will choose this life you have now. A life that was built to ensure a good future for your kids.

It breaks my heart seeing you two after work. As the years pass I see the white hair that grows, the deep small wrinkles that fill your face, the sad and tired eyes that come home. The battered hands from hard work. I know you two rather spend time with your kids than to work. Meets, games, performances and conferences missed. You’ve missed teacher-parent conferences where teachers would talk and brag about your kids, how good of students they are and all the hard work they put. You missed a reminder that your hard work has been paying off.  I know Dad, that you’ve missed half of your kid’s life because of work. I know you realize this is a time that won’t be given back and that our childhood will never be back.

It breaks my heart knowing that sometime in your life, someone has made you feel out of place. It breaks my heart knowing that someone has been racist to you. It breaks my heart knowing that sometime in your life someone has made fun of that beautiful accent that you carry. It breaks my heart that sometime in your life, someone has made you feel like you don’t belong here. Let me tell you, Mom and Dad, you do belong here and you’ve contributed to our society.

I also want to say sorry, sorry if I’ve ever made you feel like I am ashamed of where I come from or of you. I am sorry If I’ve ever said I am ashamed of my accent and roots. An accent that makes me unique and defines me as a bilingual person. I am sorry If I’ve ever said I am not proud of my Mexican roots. I am proud of my accent and roots like I’ve never been before. I love my culture and I wouldn’t change it for anything in this world. Let me remind you, I will never be ashamed of the two people who have sacrificed their life for me.

Lastly, I want to promise you two that I will make you proud. I will go to college and become someone in life. I will take advantage of all the opportunities that are given to me. All the hard work that you two had to go through, will be worth it at the end. All the missed time with your kids will be forgiven because you two were doing something great. I want to thank you for everything that you’ve done, leaving everything behind and everything was done without selfishness.

Thank you for all the sacrifices you’ve done. I promise that one day your battered hands will be at rest and at peace for life. Thank you, Mom and Dad!

P.s I wish I could give you guys the world but even that wouldn’t be enough.


Your Daughter/Son