For the little girl who grew up in a family of 7 living in a two bedroom house. Who watched her barely speaking English mother struggle to provide for her babies because her alcoholic husbands were unable. For the little girl who worked in the fields to help pay bills but was treated like an insect sprayed with pesticides. For the little girl who grabbed a frying pan to hit her stepfather on the head to protect her mother from another clenched fist.
For this little girl who partied, used drugs, and barely made it through high school. Using sports as an outlet and was given an opportunity to earn a college scholarship. She took the chance and was finally free…until she received news of her big brother’s murder. Grief-stricken and once again burdened for her own mother, she returned home as the little girl who couldn’t catch a break.
This girl, expected to be a woman, carried the weight of the world on her shoulders. She met a man, got married, had 2 babies and lived her life. At the ten year mark, a divorce meant her cards were once again a bad deal.
With the weight of the world weighing her down instead of folding, was determined to spin it on her finger like a basketball. So she learned. Learned to fight for her children but for the first time, learned to fight for herself. It took the sacrifice of time, money and sanity. One day it would all pay off and she would walk across the stage not once, twice, but three times to earn her Doctorate’s Degree.
To this little girl who grew up and became my mother. Who is far from perfect but taught me what it means to dream. Who opened my eyes to understand what reality looks like. That life is hard, and people will fail you, but regardless of the cards one is dealt, the future is in the hand of the individual.
For every door slammed out of frustration, every word spoken back in anger, for every time I misunderstood how hard and for what you were working toward. For the moments we missed, for the moments I thought were lost. I now see were moments I was being taught the most valuable of lessons. I can do anything, I can be anything when I work to become whatever that is.
To mothers everywhere. Dream for yourself. I can see that it’s easy to get lost and overshadowed in the lives of your children. They become your whole heart. So wrapped and intertwined that you can no longer recognize where they begin and you end. Fight for yourself because they are watching and will one day use it as fuel for their own fight.
To all mothers, who are hard of themselves for the guilt they feel. Your children may not quite understand. They may be distant, say hurtful words and take you for granted. They may not have words of gratitude to speak yet, you may have a broken relationship but one day, all children see their mother’s for exactly what they are. Our rock, our foundation, our home.