In the end, all that has ever rung true for me is this: Here I am, Polish born raised and living in Amerika, with two beautiful daughters who I love. And, really, that's the most important fact. My daughters.
I hope one day they understand what I mean when I hug them and say "Life is a complicated, strange thing. And it led me to where I needed to be so that I could be sitting here hugging you. That's all that matters, really."
Other subtle facts float by on the edges. I have an American accent, not a Polish one. My kids are Polish-American, not just Polish, not just American. We are the bridge between the two worlds, as there always is in every American family. At some point in all of American family history, there is a bridge between the two worlds.
There is nothing wrong with preferring a snack of pickles over potato chips, or loving barbecue pulled pork, or not knowing what it means to stand in line for hours for food. There is nothing wrong with continued contact with the family left behind. There is nothing wrong with speaking English, the third language of a person's life, better than their mother language.
So, how to answer my daughter's question? I don't know. And part of it comes from the fact that, in order for my parents to answer it, they will have to look back on that time and embrace homesickness as well as the feeling they had watching the news, seeing with their eyes what was happening, and then snuggling their little baby girl after standing in line for food. They can't answer it all the way, nor can I.
So, I started looking for videos I could save to show my kids later in life to explain. I found this one. I'm not sure if I should share it. I don't fully understand the facts, whether it was really like this, I'm no historian, no sociologist, no diplomat, no expert. I'm just a Mama. That's enough.
To those of you who remember this time, or understand it, what do you think of this video? Does anyone else struggle with how to answer this question when your children ask?