Ever since I can remember, I have been providing English interpretation and translation for my parents, who are monolingual Spanish speakers. Without other options, my parents were forced to rely on me to help them communicate, not just at grocery stores or school functions, but also as they tried to navigate more serious things like doctors appointments. As young as age 10, I can remember specifically providing interpretation for my parents and younger siblings at our family clinic for our routine check-ups.
Growing up, and being the daughter of immigrants from Mexico, I always thought this was normal. I thought of it like a debt I needed to pay for the advantages of being a first generation U.S. American. But I also remember feeling very alone in my experience. I thought that only my parents struggled to communicate, and that made me think of my family as the problem.