Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Happy Birthday America...and Mom Mom

The 4th of July has always been a big celebration for us because it is my grandmother's birthday...sort of. Actually, it was her whole family's birthday, at least, legally. when they came over from Eastern Europe and were waiting to speak with the immigration people, they were coached on the right answers to the questions they would be asked. They were told that they needed to be amply patriotic to be allowed in. So when they were asked for their date of birth, they all replied July 4. After all, what could make you more American?

As a member of that magic third generation who has no ties whatsoever to any other nation or culture it has always allowed me to remember that while we welcome immigrants in the United States, we're not always as welcoming as we could be to other people's grandparents-to-be. The lesson seems particularly apt this year.

So to my grandmother and my country, I wish you both a happy birthday. I love you both very much and may next year find you both healthy. (My grandmother, actually, is a little trickier to shop for. The country, I just send a gift certificate every April 15 and let it get whatever it wants. I just wish it would stop spending it all in one place overseas...)