A mother's love..
When I close my eyes, I can still feel the fatigue and heat of that Miami day. I was around 6 years old, and, with my sister and mother, spent an entire day standing in a line that snaked around the embassy parking lot.
To be sure that we would see someone before they closed the office for the day, we had woken up by 6 AM to get in line. We had already been turned away once or twice before, and we knew there was no choice. Everything is pretty far in Miami when you don’t have a car, and we were still taking the bus to get around at the time—which made the commute even longer.
The only food or water in sight (without losing our spot in line) was a food truck. Me and my 3-year-old sister begged for food, but my mother reminded me that we had food and water at home and we didn’t have money to spend “eating out.” I knew I shouldn’t have asked, since I had gotten this response enough times that I was conditioned to know the answer. But I was so hungry and thirsty I couldn’t help but ask for an exception.
Many times growing up, I would close my eyes and remember this day. There were many days like it, but because we were at the embassy, it underlined the struggle my parents faced as immigrants.
My father is Cuban, my mother Ecuadorian, and my sister and I were born in Ukraine—I had lived in 4 countries by the time I was 5. My parents, both engineers, were taking all sorts of odd jobs washing plates, cleaning floors, and stocking shelves to provide for us because they didn’t speak English yet, and their degrees were not valid in the United States. We were seeking political refuge in the US and state assistance until we got back on our feet again. Our family experienced so much poverty that my parents decided to leave every country before this one with just a few suitcases, heart full of hope, and a dream of a better life for their children.
While my father worked long hours, studied, and looked for work, I spent a lot of my time with my mother. I watched her go through all kinds of hardships: mental, emotional, psychological, and physical. Often, her tears felt turned into my tears.
Through it all, she remained firm that she would sacrifice all parts of herself for her children. Because of this example, I was a mother long before I officially became one. Because above all things, my daughter was my motivation long before I ever met her.
When I close my eyes and remember this day, it reminds me of the promise I made myself that everything I would ever do in my life would be to ensure that when I have children of my own, they would never ever feel hunger or thirst out of financial necessity.
It’s incredible how a mother’s love for her kids is so powerful that it could ignite that drive, long before coming close to meeting them, seeing them, knowing them, or feeling them. My daughter is the inspiration for InspireMia but she’s been inspiring me long before she met me. ❤