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When You're Adopted Into Your Wife's Mexican Catholic Christmas

How this raised-Jew-gone-agnostic celebrates the season without their biological family in this year's first

By Oneg In The ArcticPublished 2 months ago 5 min read
Top Story - January 2024
When You're Adopted Into Your Wife's Mexican Catholic Christmas
Photo by Lauren King on Unsplash

I'm not going to pretend and say that this season was something I was looking forward to. In a lot of ways, it has had too many unwanted firsts and this has caused a lot of stress.

Regardless, there is a lot to be grateful for and the big ticket item this year is my wife's family.

Allow me delve further...


This past summer I had made the incredibly difficult decision to cut off contact with my parents and most of my family. It was a decision long time coming, and honestly was inevitable. I had done all I could to try and make the relationship between my parents and I work. And honestly, I deserve better than how I have been treated.

It was my first true act of self love in my whole life

This is the first year I have been doing life without my biological family. Birthdays, holidays, life events- without them. And that is the hard choice that I made. And I bare the weight of it everyday. But it was the much needed choice.

I won't go too in depth into my complicated and toxic relationship with them (primarily my parents), but I will say that I have not regret my decision for even a second.

Has it changed a lot in my life? Yes.

Do I feel a lot less triggered and attacked? Yes.

Do holidays feel a lot lonelier now? Also yes.

But I know that I deserve healthy love, a love that doesn't come with pain attached.


Now I haven't shared too much about the intricate details of this complex event, and I don't know if or when I ever will. And that's okay. Those closest to me know what I want them to know. And of course my wife, has been there by my side through it all (as difficult as it has been).

But the beautiful thing is, is the love and care her family holds for me. They are my family too, of course. But now they're all I've got to be honest...

Sometimes that's a really scary thought, having to depend on others like that

It's definitely a unique and special experience being adopted into a Mexican Catholic family; I've never felt so seen. As a raised-Jew-gone-agnostic queer genderfluid butterfly, you'd think a Catholic Mexican family wouldn't be the best match. But on the contrary, my mother-in-law loves me! And maybe she can't quite ask me all about my gender expression, whether for lack of language or understanding, but I've never felt judged. I've always felt safe. And that's huge.

My mother-in-law and I have a real special relationship. I don't speak a lot of Spanish, and she speaks basically zero English. But she'll always accept my hugs- as much as she isn't physically affectionate with anyone! My wife will bug her to no end, and they playfully fight all the time. But when I hug my MIL, she accepts and reciprocates it in such a meaningful and genuine way. It sometimes makes me want to cry!

And she knows I do my best to keep her daughter safe and taken care of while we live two countries away.

Even though my MIL and I can't always speak to one another in the same language, we still communicate with intention and love

By Markus Spiske on Unsplash

This holiday season I had to celebrate Hanukkah without my wife as she had flown to Mexico ahead of me. She wanted to spend more time with her family, and definitely wanted to avoid the 24/7 dark period in the Arctic! Last year was very difficult for her to be without the sun for 2.5 months. I don't blame her.

Although, that meant that I was celebrating one of my favorite holidays with no family physically with me, nor any biological. And it was okay. I'm immensely grateful to my friends who really showed up and still helped me cook, decorate, and throw a little Hanukkah party.

And for Christmas... I flew 5 planes south to Mexico with a two-day delay! That was wild.

I also caught a cold, and developed a beautiful sinus infection while in Mexico and wanted to chop my ears off Van Gogh style due to the constant airplane pressure changes.

But Christmas with my loving Mexican family was awesome!

It was so much fun to: eat endless tamales, play Loteria (kind of like bingo), play the Mexican version of dreidel and clean out the kids, give and open lots of presents, and just be surrounded by good fam. I never once felt like I didn't belong.

Sure, I couldn't communicate as much as I would have liked- but it didn't matter in the moment. There was respect, safety, and celebration. Three things that I really need and quite frankly deserve.

And yes- my wife did make me be there when they prayed for like an hour. Thankfully only the kids had to be on their knees. But my wife told me I had to be there otherwise I wouldn't get food or presents! And it never felt weird (except when everyone started to clean and then kiss baby Jesuses and I was like... not for me...) But no one ever judged me or thought ill of me for it. They actually appreciated that I was just there in support.

As much as my Spanish sucks, and my conjugation of everything is... creative(?), my wife's family has always opened their home and their arms to me. They'll do anything for me, and it really feels like it.

I am so grateful to be able to have the privilege to be a part of the fam.

I feel at home with them.

And considering everything that's happened this year, that truly means the world to me.

Happy Holidays everyone, and cheers to more respect, safety, and celebration this year!


About the Creator

Oneg In The Arctic

A storyteller and poet of arctic adventures, good food, identity, mental health, and more.

Co-founder of Queer Vocal Voices

Some other rad writers to check out:

James ❄️ TheDaniWriter ❄️ Melissa

RiverJoy ❄️ J. Delaney-Howe ❄️

Water is Life ✊

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Comments (26)

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  • Martina Marriott2 months ago

    very beautiful story

  • Caroline Jane2 months ago

    ❤️❤️❤️ I am so happy to read this. You are a real heart warrior. But... the really wonderful thing is... you don't need anybody to tell you that! Beautiful.

  • Suze Kay2 months ago

    I'm proud of you for making a hard, good choice to defend your well-being. I hope in the years to come, you continue finding warmth and love in unexpected places and cocoon yourself with more love than you thought existed in the world!

  • JBaz2 months ago

    A very lovely story, thank you for sharing this with all of us. You have such a wonderful way of inviting us into a glimpse of your life.

  • Rene Peters2 months ago

    This is so sweet! 2024 is going to be a great year! 💜

  • Rachel Deeming2 months ago

    What a heartwarming story. And you are right. You do deserve healthy love and it sounds like you've got it. Here's to a great 2024!

  • Tiffany Gordon 2 months ago

  • The Dani Writer2 months ago

    Such heartfelt sharing here. Floods of understanding coming back at ya Oneg! Like gargantuan amounts. I am just glad that you are happy and I KNOW what that belonging feeling FEELS like. And it's worth all the struggle and stuff it took to get there. Light and Love Dear One!

  • This was so heartwarming and touching Oneg. Thank you for sharing your story with us. Feeling safe and being respected as such very important aspects of life and in this time that I have been caring for my mom I have learned that firsthand.

  • I'm so sorry that your family of origin is not supportive of you, but thrilled to know that your in-laws are so wonderful. I had a similar experience with my mother (my father loves everyone) vs. my in-laws. They welcomed & embraced from the moment they met me. I always felt at home with them while spending time with mom always felt more like the awkwardly not quite welcome guest. Happy New Year to both of you. And may you always know that you are loved.

  • Adam 2 months ago

    congratulations! for the top sory.❤️

  • Gina C.2 months ago

    Sending you all the love, Oneg! ❤️ I'm so sorry to hear about your difficult relationship with your biological family, but I'm so very glad that your wife is there to offer you support and love! Happy New Year to you, and thank you so much for sharing this touching story 🥹❤️

  • Naveed 2 months ago

    Exceptionally good work! Keep it going—congratulations!

  • Scott Christenson2 months ago

    Great to hear it went well. If she's from Mexico she might have had some adjusting to The Arctic, might be a story in that;)

  • Grz Colm2 months ago

    Best wishes for you too Oneg! It sounds like you wife is very supportive! ☺️ Excellent!

  • I’m so very sorry about your relationship with your biological parents. I hope that one day your parents will reach out and offer a relationship that is not toxic. I am also so very happy your wife’s family has been so loving and accepting.

  • Huan Huan 2 months ago

    Kudos to you! This really is a act of beautiful self love <3

  • Hannah Moore2 months ago

    What a wonderful thing for you!

  • Melissa Ingoldsby2 months ago

    I am truly happy for you and your wife, and I love how you and your mil have such a close bond! Your personal essays also hit close to home. ❤️Happy New Year and keep up the great work

  • Celia in Underland2 months ago

    Have tears in my eyes over here. Love how you are creating your own traditions and blending them. Super cool. Extracating yourself from family i so, so hard but I so pleased that you have found a place of acceptance, within you and with them. Such a heartwarming story. Hope the new year brings many more smiles for you!

  • Canuck Scriber2 months ago

    I'm glad things turned around for you over the holidays!

  • Lamar Wiggins2 months ago

    Such a feel-good story. In the end, you still have family that truly cares about you. Thanks for sharing... And 2 1/2 months of no sun 😮. That would take some getting used to. When it finally comes back, how gradual is it?

  • Mariann Carroll2 months ago

    I am glad you got a new loving family that you feel safe and secure even if there is a language barrier. Actions always speak louder than words. 2.5 months with out sunlight, wow!!! Thanks for sharing an intimate story . I admire your resilience and your love for your wife.

  • Babs Iverson2 months ago

    Heartwarming and loving!!! ❤️❤️💕

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