As the tears start to fall from my eyes, I try my best to hide the fact that I’m crying, but I’m doing a terrible job because my host mom is asking me what’s wrong. It’s a few days from Christmas and I’m at my first Ecuadorian family celebration. The family is here to glorify the fact baby Nikol has just been baptized. I don’t mean to break down and start crying, but I can’t help it, and as I try my best to perceive what my aunt is saying more tears fall down my face. My aunt is in her early 20’s and has two young kids. When I first got here I noticed most of my host dad’s sisters had children and married with the exception of my aunt Kathy and Jessica. Jessica didn’t have kids but she worked and helped around in the house where my host dad’s parents lived. My aunt Kathy lived there also with her two young children. I found it weird that my other cousins had men to call their dad when little Michael was left calling his grandfather “papa” who was really his grandfather. For this fact I don’t think Michael yet realizes he doesn’t have a dad.
One day while sitting and talking my mom told me that Michael doesn’t have a dad and that he was ‘gone’. Since my Spanish wasn’t so good I swore I heard her wrong and struggled to find the words to ask her if I heard her correctly and if so, How and what happened. Months later after waiting for an Ecuadorean man to appear and Michael run toward him screaming “papichulo!” I realize that wasn’t going to happen and that I in fact heard my mom right and Michael didn’t have a father. I started to feel a sense of sorrow for Michael and Crystal. I was now reminded of that sadness I felt and as my aunt starts to thank her family got helping her, more tears start to fall. I start to think about how it was for me being raised by a single mother without a bunch of cousins, aunts and uncles there to help me grow up. I’ve always wanted that sense of family which I see surrounding me now but I guess I just have it because unfortunately my family on both my mother’s and father’s side either doesn’t know me well enough since my late introduction or because of not having that family bond all families have once they watch each other grow. I feel an overwhelming sense of sorrow when I think of how it will be for little Nicole and Michael.
Since I also didn’t have my father in my life I know how it feels and it’s really hard. But as I look at all the people around me I realize Michael has the family I’ve always longed for and that even though it will be hard, it won’t be as hard as it was for me. He also will have all his uncles to look up to as a father figure and grandfather who has stepped in to help take care of him. I also realize that even though I don’t have a big family here who care about me and I’m starting to feel like an actual part of their family. I start to feel a little better as this relocation comes to me, and if course my aunt and mom ask me if I’m alright and my dad starts to try and cheer me up with corny jokes and dancing. And that’s what families are for, they’re suppose to be there for you and help you grow up into a respectable adults. As the saying goes “It takes a village to raise a child.” and I have no doubt that’s what they will do for Michael and Nikol.