In addition to touring her daughter’s nursery, we recently chatted with Leah Carriger of Beijos Events about how she celebrates her family’s unique heritage. A first-generation Mexican-American, Leah has a deep respect for her own roots as well as for her husband’s European-American background. Below, she discusses their desire to pass a similar appreciation on to their two daughters.
First, a little bit of background about me. I’m a first-generation Mexican-American. My dad was born in Chihuahua, Mexico; he immigrated to the U.S. when he was 8. My mom is also of Mexican descent, but she was born in the U.S. (her family originated in El Paso, Texas). My dad is fluent in Spanish, but my mom couldn’t speak Spanish as well as he could, so growing up we spoke mostly English. However, my dad’s mom—my strong-willed abuelita, Juana Paula—lived with us, and she spoke only Spanish. If it weren’t for her, I wouldn’t know conversational Spanish today. My childhood home was full of cultural traditions and flair. It was my comfort zone. I still deeply adore and appreciate it.
I love my mixed heritage. I feel American, but deep down, my heart is with Mexico. My love for creativity and design started with entertaining and interiors—I’m primarily drawn to the rustic, bright and colorful feel of Mexican and Spanish art. I also love the food, music and lifestyle in Mexico. I’m slowly but surely incorporating a modern Hispanic aesthetic into our ranch-style home.
I was really lucky to meet my husband in high school. We were always such good friends, and then later we fell in love and got married. Although he is Swiss, German and Irish, he has always supported my love of Mexican art and the way I incorporate it when I decorate or entertain at our house. Thankfully, our tastes are quite similar when it comes to design, although I may have been a bit a forceful at times.
When we were thinking about tying the knot, there was no place in the world we considered getting married in but Los Cabos, Mexico. We had spent some time there and fallen in love with it. It’s relatively easy to travel to, and it’s so relaxing and beautiful. Our beachy wedding décor was white with pops of bright colors. The colors were a nod to my love for Mexico and the arts—and the way I feel inside!
Fast-forward to today, and we have two beautiful little girls. My oldest daughter, Edie Lola, is almost 3 and a half. Wow, time flies even faster when you have little ones—I blinked, and suddenly she was a “threenager.” We have begun the conversation about our heritage with her—we tell her that we are Americans first but that our hearts also have roots in Mexico and Europe. We are committed to teaching the girls about where we came from and about the cultures surrounding our backgrounds.
My hope for my daughters is that they will feel their Mexican ties on my side and their European ties on their dad’s side. I hope that our first trip to Mexico together is special, and that they will share in my love for the culture, colors and design. I hope that when they see the bright, beautiful colors of Latin America, they are reminded of me as well as who they are and where half their roots lie. (After all, they are little Latinas, too!) I hope to make them proud of their heritage.