How did you do, Mommy?
The first words out of my small girl’s mouth as she walked in the door from school. She knew this day was a big one for me. Maybe it shouldn’t have seemed so heavy, but it did. And somewhere in her eight-year-old heart she grasped the magnitude of it. She wrapped her sweet mind around the depth of my anxiety and kept me afloat over the past few days as I studied, as she quizzed me, as I paced, as I worked to convince myself it would all be just fine.
You see, as you may or may not know, I was born in Toronto, Canada. I claim California because I was raised there. We moved to the United States when I was only 5, so I have been in U.S. schools my entire life. But I’ve always been a ‘Permanent Resident’. Yes, I have a ‘green card’.
This year, I officially applied to become a United States Citizen. There was a lot of thought and heart behind my decision. Yesterday was my ‘test’ and ‘interview’.
I passed. In fact, I don’t mind telling you, since I was NERVOUS, and I studied like mad, I aced it.
Now, if you had asked me, I would have told you I believed in my heart, it would be fine. But it still felt like a BIG deal. The process had been overwhelming. The application required everything except drawn blood and my first born child. I was meticulous as I prepared it. I provided copies of my birth certificate, my marriage license, proof that my husband and I do live together, that HE is a United States Citizen, that we have shared finances, notarized letters affirming our marriage, my children’s birth certificates, copies of full tax returns for the last three years and so much more. (I was even asked to prove he had never been married before – what? I had to call to clarify that our marriage certificate should be sufficient.)
And then I waited.
My appointment letter for fingerprinting was lost in the mail.
And even though I was panicked and positive that having missed that appointment would result in some black mark against my name and require me to start over, the Department of Immigration and Naturalization was incredibly kind and understanding. I was rescheduled within 2 weeks.
And yesterday’s test and interview soon followed.
I had 100 questions to study. I would be asked 10 orally. I needed to answer 6 correctly in order to pass. Funny that even typing that today still makes my heart race – and I’m done.
Done. Finished. I answered everything correctly. I ACED it.
I was told I should soon expect a letter with my date for my official oath ceremony. The Immigration Officer expects it to be in September.
You know what that means?
For the first time in my life, I will be able to VOTE.
And THAT is worth celebrating.