Saturday, April 05, 2008
As I'm sure most of our readers know in order to travel between Mexico and the US one needs a passport. Due to our summer plans to fly to Mexico this summer, we had to get passports for all three kids. This proved an interesting and amusing experience. Umberto and Camille sat willingly for their pictures but Piper was not having it. She refused to look at the guy taking them. We had to go to another drug store, and the woman there let me take the picture. Then we had to stand in line at the Post Office with all three kids which was a nightmare. They were all over the place, and we were trying to sign stuff, etc. Then there was the huge amount of money we had to pay to get them...but two weeks later they arrived. And they are adorable...who would ever think of passport as adorable. But there was something neat about having passports so young.
Maybe this sense of wonderment I feel has something to do with what I see passports as meaning. They are a concrete sign of boundaries and belonging. This document gives a material feel to being a citizen. It tells you and everyone who sees that you "belong" to a country. On the other hand, this is what allows you to experience the world as a bigger place. This bit of paper opens up the world. It is the ticket that allows you cross boundaries.
I know it opens up the world because it did so for me. I was sixteen when I received my first passport. I was going to Haiti with my high school. I remember holding it my hand and how exciting it felt. I suddenly could imagine the possibilities of going elsewhere. Maine got a lot smaller in that moment. My family has rarely left the state much less the country. In fact, most of my family members do not have a passport. The idea that one could leave Maine to go elsewhere was not something we considered a great deal. Like most poor people in the U.S., moving involved trekking from apartment to apartment not from country to country.
And it blows my mind, that my kids, my babies, are already open to so much more. And they will further screw with these boundaries when they have their official Mexican citizenship as well. They will have two passports, two countries to belong to, and better yet, a whole world to explore.