March 1, 1981 is one of the most important dates in my life. It’s not my birthday, nor that of either of my children. It’s not a graduation date nor is it a national holiday.
Sunday, March 1, 1981 is the day when my life changed forever and it’s the day I became a resident of the United States of America.
To this day, I remember the mixed emotions of leaving the only place I knew. On one hand, I was leaving behind a loving grandmother and grandfather whom I fiercely adored. I was leaving uncles, aunts and cousins. I was leaving friends with whom I played cops and robbers and who shared my love for those plastic green soldiers. Who wants to lose that network at the age of seven?
But I knew what, and who, awaited me on the other side of customs at JFK. I hadn’t seen my father in almost a year and my mother in three. I yearned for them and missed them and I wanted to desperately be with them. I knew a different language was spoken in The Nueva York and it didn’t matter. I knew the weather was different and it didn’t matter. I knew by regaining my parents, I was leaving others I loved, but it didn’t matter.
I was handed a gray peacoat, gloves and a…