Beginnings of the MinMex Readers

Thanks for joining me! A decade ago, at what seemed to be the beginning of the blogging phenomenon, my husband and I took a two month road trip from Minnesota to Mexico, where he is from, in a quest for his permanent residency card. At the time (way back in the dark ages of 2008, before smart phones and FaceTime, when all we knew was Skype), our blog was a great way to share pictures, travel information and emotions with friends and family and create a record for ourselves as well. Since our relationship had been – and always will be – full of finding ways to mix our two cultures and languages, the journey was called Minnesota and Mexico Mix. Now that we have two children, I feel like our lives and cultures are  more intentionally blended, although admittedly, living in Minnesota causes us to fall a little short on the Mexico balance.

Reading to our children has brought us so much joy, but in completely opposite ways. I was raised as a voracious reader. My mom has told the story multiple times of my first trip to the library and how wide-eyed with wonder filled with joy I was when she told me I could take home as many books as I wanted. I filled an entire grocery bag full. I was eight. I have early memories of my parents reading bedtime stories to me. My father was a farmer and had big, think fingers rough with callouses and stained with dirt. I remember clinging to one of his fingers as he read to me and thinking if I could just hold on tight enough I would magically wake up in the middle of my parent’s bed (it seemed to work a time or two). When I found out I was pregnant, the first thing I did was run out and buy books. “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” and a handful of picture books. It was like a guttural instinct. Reading is so ingrained in me and such a big part of who I am that buying books calmed my nerves and brought me excitement for the life-changing event.

My husband, let’s call him Mex, had the complete opposite experience. He lived in a rural town in central Mexico, about the same size as my town in central MN. However, books were a luxury item and there were no public libraries. His parents, who couldn’t read very well themselves, never once read him a story. In school he struggled with reading and there were no extra tutors or resources for help to improve. When our son was born, I introduced him to the idea of reading books aloud. We started when he was only 2-3 months old, basically when he could sit in the crook of our arm and keep his eyes open for more than a couple minutes. At first, Mex struggled. A lot. Even when reading Spanish I would hear him stumble over the words, his native language looking foreign to him when viewed on the page. It didn’t take long for his own excitement to explode. Suddenly, we were friendly fighting over who got to read our infant his bedtime story each night. We settled on two stories a night, one in English and one in Spanish, and are now on year EIGHT -and child two – of our commitment (P.S. why do kids grow up so fast?!?!). Mex is now fluent enough in reading to translate English books in to Spanish as he is reading and it is pretty amazing for me to see how far he has come and how excited he is to hear the stories, too. Taking away bedtime stories is the one consequence my kids have never had because it would punish us just as much.

Watching this transformation in my husband and seeing my own kids grow and find joy in imagined worlds, I decided to create this blog as way to share some of the books we enjoy as a family and that I enjoy on my own. I grew up exploring magical worlds and I never plan to stop. I kept the name MinMex to represent not just me (the Min) but our whole family (Min & Mex) and our journey together and individually through the world of literature. Thank you for stopping by and reading along!

“Books are a uniquely portable magic.”                                                                                    – Stephen King, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

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