Reflecting on Mother’s Day, Being the Daughter of an Immigrant

It’s Mother’s Day. My son and I Face Time my mom to tell her happy (American) Mother’s Day. We get two mother’s days because we also celebrate Panamanian Mother’s Day which is December 8th. She is getting ready for work. Which is not surprising because she is always working. However my mom looks on the bright side and says “at least I have a job to go to.” That’s how she has always been. My mom has an incredible work ethic. To say she works hard is an understatement.

However it took us a long time to get here. There was a time I felt we didn’t understand each other.

afro latina mom and daughter sit reflecting on mother's day

Reflecting On Mother’s Day

For as long as I can remember my mother has had two jobs. She never learned how to drive so every morning she wakes up at the crack of dawn to walk and/or catch buses just to make sure she makes it in to work. She gets home late, and does it all again the next day. When we were younger and it was snowing she would even stay the night at work to make sure she was there the next day. She knew that there would be no way she could make it back in to work. Those were the kinds of sacrifices she made, because she couldn’t afford to lose her job. I didn’t even know what kind of influence it would have on me.

Whenever she could she would send money back to Panama. At the time I didn’t understand it especially when we were barely making it ourselves. This is something a lot of people who come to the states do though. Even through her struggles she never forgot where she came from. She never forgot her country or the family she had to leave behind.

There were times I needed help with my homework, but she didn’t have the education or language skills to help me. I never stopped to think about the disappointment she must have felt. There were so many challenges she faced, but she did her best to make sure we had everything we needed.

afro-latina mom and daughters reflecting on mother's day

That’s what immigrant mothers do

She left her family behind, had zero knowledge of the English language, and she moved to the United States. I will never know the loneliness she felt. She came to make a better life for herself and for us. Through her actions she has taught me to never depend on anyone else, to always work hard for what I want, and to never lose my sense of culture.

It took me having a child of my own for us to finally understand each other. As an afro-latina, I am happy with the mother I have become. With the stories I will be able to share with my son about his abuelita. I hope he will appreciate it and so much more.

Because of my mothers strength and sacrifices I am able to sit here today, stare at my beautiful son, reflecting on Mother’s Day.
afro-latina mom and son reflecting on mother's day

Until Next Time!

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