Thursday, January 15, 2015

ten years a citizen

In February of 2005, my mom became a U.S. citizen.  For all of my years growing up, she'd always said she wasn't interested in becoming one, she was fine with her "alien" status while remaining a citizen of the Philippines.

So when she mentioned that she was jumping through the various hoops toward citizenship while in her 70s, I was feeling a bit protective.  Was she planning to go on exotic travels?? NOW??

Thankfully not (because if she did, I probably wouldn't have slept a wink the whole time). Recall that after 9/11, "aliens" were scrutinized a little harder, sweet and fully legal or not.  We actually knew of a couple who were sent packing.  I'm sure my mom wasn't at any risk of being deported, but I guess for her sake, she decided to be safe.

The day of the ceremony was a fun one.  Mom had gone up to brother Hagrid's the day before, then Hagrid drove her to Denver and I met them at the venue.  Guano didn't make it, probably off fighting the wars somewhere.

It was actually quite nice.  I was expecting the thing to be rather dry - a monotone reading off of names as each new citizen stood to get their official documents.  Now, ten years later, it's all a bit blurry, but I remember a video that made us feel all patriotic, a speaker who had herself recently become a citizen and had found wonderful success, and of course, my brother Hagrid quietly making funny comments.

As this was happening, I looked over the crowd of pending new citizens, about 50 or so.  There was a good variety of ages and nationalities. And there was mom, impeccably and appropriately dressed as always.  She'd always had such a strong fashion sense, knowing just what to wear for any occasion.

Side note:  for my wedding, she didn't even shop for a "mother of the bride" dress, just looked in her closet and said, "I think I'll wear that blue one".  It was perfect.

Side side note:  I did not inherit this trait.

ANYWAY, it was a nice ceremony, and when it was done, Mom was already friends with a few fellow new citizens as well as the immigration official who'd sworn them in.  I remember the official kept saying nice things about "Josefina", since that's the name on my mom's paperwork, although she'd never gone by Josefina.  My mom was Pining, (peh-NEENG), which is the my-friends-call-me version of Josephine in the Philippines.

We snapped a few happy pics afterwards.  I've got a few with Hagrid too, but recall that he needs to remain all  mystery man, so I'll just post the above pic...

For Mama Kat's prompt:

1. Find a photo of yourself taken 10 years ago and display it on your blog along with a current photo. How have you changed since the day that photo was taken?

I'm breaking the rules a bit by not posting a current photo - y'all know what I look like now, right?  And as far as how I've changed?  Well, I miss Mom now, but I'm still ever proud to be her daughter.



Anonymous said...

Wow, this is such a touching story. I do understand you wouldn't want your Mom traveling the world at her age, although my grandma did exactly that. I'm proud of her for making the decision to become a citizen and for passing all the exams and stuff. I am a native Dutchwoman, and when I hear what immigrants need to do to pass even become legal residents now, I'm rather proud of them, because I barely passed when I took an online version (a modified one made for the Internet for Dutch natives to test themselves) of a test. I know in the U.S. it's even harder to become a citizen than in the Netherlands.

LL Cool Joe said...

That's a cool story. And yes some people have the ability to wear just the right clothes to any event, and other people do the opposite - like me. :D

That's a very sweet photo of you both.

terri said...

That's a GREAT picture of you and your mom! And you've hardly changed at all since then.

What an accomplishment for your mom to become a citizen after all of those years. I've often thought that all of us natural-borns should have to go through the hoops, just so we can appreciate everything we take so for granted.

ShadowRun300 said...

What a beautiful picture of you and your mom! And a great story to boot!
I wish I had your mom's fashion sense. I NEVER have anything appropriate. I wear a uniform or sweats. So if I have to go to a function of any kind, I have to go shopping. And of course when I shop for a specific function, I can never find the right thing....
Anyway, thanks for the look back at Hagrid. I had forgotten about that post until I flipped over to it.
As for you, you haven't aged a bit. I'm afraid to find a pic of me from ten years ago, but I am a bit curious. Fun post topic!

Junky's Running Dry said...

NIce pic! Your mom was pretty damn awesome! I went to a US citizen's ceremony in the early 90s for one of my good friend's parents at the time. They fled from Hungary in the 80s. Pretty cool. An interesting experience.

Mel Bee said...

Cute picture..what a nice memory!

Mia said...

I love it, such a touching story!

agg79 said...

What a beautiful memory of your mom. It's an incredible accomplishment to gain her citizenship after all those years. I think that those of us lucky enough to be born here take the challenge of citizenship for granted at times. Your mom was an awesome example for her kids. Thanks for sharing her story.

Mama Kat said...

10 years a citizen! That's awesome! I love that she took the initiative to start that process. It could not have been easy!

Riot Kitty said...

That's so cool that she did it after all of that time.

Anita said...

That picture is one for the frame!

I'm glad you gave us the pronuciation of Mom's nickname. A name should not be messed up.

Like everyone else feels - this story is so touching. Post more stories of her here and there between your usual adventures.

Abby said...

Hmmm... I just might have to start a Mom category. And yeah, after I typed her name, I figured no one would get the pronunciation right!