Many thanks to my best friend, Father to our beloved children and love of my life hubby for his reflections on our family’s immigration to Mexico…
By Frank O’Grady
Our immigration to Mexico was my dream, not my children’s.
We moved here when they were eight years old, and in my eyes, still babies in so many ways.
They just turned 18 this June 2022 and have now lived more than half their lives in our adopted country of Mexico.
Their faith in us was paramount to us having a successful move to a part of Mexico where we were not going to be able to bounce back easily over the border to whatever perceived comfort zone that might have existed.
I knew there was a different and a better way and like with many of my other dreams I laid plenty of groundwork. We did not just pick up and leave a life in the USA on some fantastical mid-life crisis.
My dream for Liam, Mairead and Katie was for a life that was not completely centered on commercialism and struggling to keep our heads above water…a life without the incessant chasing and worrying about dollars in a world gone mad with the need to buy and consume just a little bit more than can be reasonably earned. A life with involved parents instead of home just being a place everyone gathered at night after a day or days at work.
Baja California~Our First Mexico Home
We prepared our children in a multitude of ways with many experiences in and about Mexico well before we even broached the subject of moving to mainland Mexico.
Katie was only a few months pregnant with Mairead and Liam fishing with us on the Sea of Cortez out of a tiny aluminum boat.
We journeyed down the Baja Peninsula, stopping at the same restaurants, rest areas and hotels…our twins hugged and held and squeezed and cheeks pinched by every female worker in these stops.
A Love for Mexico was Nurtured in Our Twins from A Very Early Age
As Liam and Mairead became more aware of the differences in their country of birth and the country we vacationed in, they eagerly looked forward to our journeys to a place where we all felt very much at home–a place where we had the time to be together as a family instead of constantly trying to meet an agenda or drive across a city of two million to get somewhere.
It Felt as If Every Time We Went to Mexico That We Were Actually Going Home
At a certain point in our careers, Katie and I both realized that continuing to support our lifestyle in Southern California was going to essentially condemn us to many decades of work so that someday, when we were close to 80, we might have a paid off house that we hadn’t had much time to enjoy because we were constantly working to pay for it.
When Liam and Mairead were around seven years old we really started talking to and involving them in our plans to move to Mexico. The existing paradigm wasn’t working for us emotionally, physically or mentally–we knew there was a better way and we were determined and committed to create it together as a couple and as a family.
We viewed this move through our children’s eyes…how they would experience it as 8-year-olds, as 10-year-olds, as now young adults. We knew that we had an age window to move successfully with them and to do it as a team.
Immigration to Mexico
I retired from firefighting at 50, Katie from teaching at 44 and with our 8-year-old twins and 5-year-old chocolate lab, we immigrated to Mexico in 2012.
Our children speak, think and navigate life in two languages and through the lens of two–if not multiple– cultures.
Moving to Mexico with our children was a decision that we have not once regretted. They know that their lives are not just their parent’s dreams and creations, but also their own evolving adventure and story–that living a life with intent and purpose is both a choice and an opportunity.
~Thank you for reading, Frank
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