Mi familia

I didn't take a lot of pictures while in Tucson last week. I snapped this one while visiting Grandpa at the hospital, along with my cousin Alison and her daughter, Ashley.

I spent a good amount of time last week at the hospital visiting my grandpa. (I was there every day for four days in a row. I also visited with him twice the day before he headed to the hospital.)

Last Tuesday my grandpa had surgery. I spent between 6-7 hours in the surgery waiting room. That’s a lot of people watching.

I am 75% Mexican American. I have a mother who is 100% Mexican American and a father who is 50% Mexican American; 25% Czech American; and 25% Irish American. (My grandpa is 50% Czech American and 50% Irish American.)

I identify with all parts of my ethnic upbringing. The most prominent, of course, is being a Mexican American.

I observed a couple of different Mexican families in the waiting room. Family is very important to Mexicans and Mexican Americans. (I realize it is important to other cultures as well. But I observed the love and loyalty of Mexican families last week. And Tucson is full of them.)

According to this Kwintessential link, the family is at the center of the social structure. Families are still generally large. The extended family is as important as the nuclear family since it provides a sense of stability. And Mexicans consider it their duty and responsibility to help family members.

That last point was very evident at the hospital last week, especially on Tuesday. There was one family waiting in the surgery waiting room for another family member. They started off with 16 and ended up with 27 members of all ages waiting for hours in the waiting room.

Years ago when my nana was sick and in the hospital there were many Islas family members in the waiting room. They were so noisy that at one point they were told to be quiet. I believe my nana was one of 11 children. And before she died many of her siblings were still alive. (My dad has 40 first cousins.)

According to the article, Hispanics in America: Culture and Mexicans, Cubans, Venezuelans, the core of the Mexican-American social structure lies with the family. Families are typically very large and the extended family is considered just as important as the immediate family.

While in town over the past week my priorities were to visit with my grandpa and get him whatever he needed, then to help my dad out as much as possible, and then a visit or two or three times with my mom and grandma. My family is important to me. But I can’t possibly run all over Tucson to visit them. I will always make sure to see my parents and my two grandparents. Anyone else is the cherry on top.

According to my research on PubMed, which has more than 21 million citations for biomedical literature from MEDLINE, life science journals, and online books, articles and research have been done on Mexican families, their cultural norms, family loyalty and caregiving.

In an article published in Journal of Nursing Scholarship titled Effect of Acculturation and Mutuality on Family Loyalty Among Mexican, it concluded that Mexican American caregivers with strong Mexican orientation may have high expectations of family loyalty toward elderly relatives, mutuality exhibits more significant effects on expectations. Among Mexican Americans, mutuality between the caregiving dyad, as perceived by caregivers, may be a better predictor of filial values than caregivers’ acculturation alone.

Unfortunately I don’t have full access to the article, just the abstract and some notes.

The fact that studies and articles have been done on this topic makes it clear how evident and important the Mexican American family is and how their love and loyalty is so strong.

I feel an immense amount of love and loyalty for my family. Family is everything. I felt it was very important for me to be home last week, for myself, my grandpa, my dad and my family.

Not that I was surprised … but I was amazed at the support and agreement I got from so many people (especially my co-workers) about dropping everything and heading to Tucson for the week.

Thank you to everyone for your love, support and concern. It warmed my heart.

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