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Experiences

A Love Letter to My Parents as a First-Gen Daughter

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

Dear Ma and Pa,

I’m proud to call myself your daughter. I am proud to wear the name given to me, running on our strong blood like gas in an engine, taking me to distances that you always hoped to reach. 

It wasn’t always like this, though. When I was younger, I used to be ashamed of the fact that you did not have certain opportunities like other parents we knew. I always dreamed of a home to call our own, instead of renting from a neighbor who resents us for causing so much noise upstairs. I resented the fact that you did not speak English, asking me to translate from financial documents to doctor visits when I barely knew how to balance my Spanish and English. I resented the fact that we were Mexican with a darker complexion. I refused to go in the sun because I was afraid of getting darker.

I resented the fact you were immigrants to a country that tried to break us down in a system not built for us, living in fear of deportation every time we went out for a drive. For that same reason, I resented the fact you would be unable to help me move into my college dorm, a dream you always admired to see me pursue, and instead, you watched me grow through pictures and phone calls. 

As I got older, I appreciated more and more the sacrifices you had to make to get my siblings and me to this point. Every time I cook something in the dorm kitchen, I think about how food was always on the table when I got home from school despite money being scarce at times. Every time I go on a drive, I think about how you would take me anywhere I needed to go for school and would wait in the car for hours after work when I had meetings. When I wash my clothes, I will always remember going to the laundromat together, staying there for hours, and ending the night with Chinese food. Happy Family special with fried rice and a single eggroll that my sister and I would split. Same order every single time. 

Even though there were moments where you felt like you didn’t understand me, you always tried your best to make me feel loved. You always tried to make me feel beautiful even though there were days I felt ugly in my skin. You reminded me that my complexion is full of rich history, commenting that it is the color of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the ultimate Morena. You taught me to love Mexican culture through the Spanish language, native dances, and food. 

You taught me to love unconditionally and refuse to accept less than what I deserved. You taught me to love learning, as nobody couldn’t take away my knowledge. You taught me to be strong. 

Thank you for being you. Thank you for getting me here. 

Te quiero para siempre,

Pamela 

Hi! My name is Pam Gonzalez and I am a first-year here at DePauw! I'm originally from the Southside of Chicago and a big music fan. I'm hoping to major in Communications with a minor in Film & Media Studies!
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