Translated from Spanish
When I was six years old, the same age that my daughter is now, my mother left me with my grandmother. Nearly every evening I would peek out in the street to see if my mother had arrived. But six years passed and she didn’t come back. I missed her so much.
Even though my grandmother was attentive to my needs, it wasn’t easy. When I wanted to share something with my mother or ask her a question, she wasn’t there. I needed a lot from my mother as a child and I feel as if I still need her today.
Afraid to Speak
Finally, when I turned 12, I went to live with my mother again, but our relationship never grew strong. My mother is a woman with an explosive character. It was very difficult for me to adjust to her personality. I never had the confidence to tell my mother what was going on with me. I don’t know if it’s my nature to be timid, but I don’t remember my mother ever asking me, “How was your day?”
My daughter is just the opposite. America (that’s her name) is a very pretty little girl with dark, clear skin, long eyelashes, thick eyebrows, and a small mouth. She loves to color, draw and read, but what she likes best is to talk. Even as a baby, she was a screamer. When she wanted her milk, she wanted it instantly and hot. We say that she seems like a parrot. She says, “I’m not a parrot! I just like to talk.”
Encouraging My Children
I admire America’s confidence. One day I was chatting with my sister-in-law in the kitchen and America came out of her room and told us to be quiet. “The only person that can talk a lot is me. I am the queen!” she told us.
I try to give America and my son, Alan, the confidence that I never had with my mother. I do my best to be loving toward them and to show them that they are important to me by chatting with them about school and their days.
Obviously there are times when I get angry and speak harshly. But when they are fighting, I try to stay calm, saying, “That’s not OK. You have to help and take care of each other.”
I think that without my realizing it, my grandmother taught me to be the mother I am today. My grandmother was loving, although on occasion a little strict. She always taught us to be well organized, and she tried to teach us patience. She didn’t yell at us if we didn’t do things right the first time, which my mother often did.
Sometimes I wish I was more like America. If someone bothers her—Oh! She lets them know. If something makes her uncomfortable, she easily defends herself. She’s not afraid to say how she feels.
Me, I don’t do that. First I get nervous, and then I cry. I would like to express my feelings without fear of being criticized. I feel afraid of hurting other people if I speak my mind, because I know how that feels. When my mother yelled at me, she said so many terrible things. She didn’t care if she hurt my feelings. Those things she said left a mark on me, even though I try not to remember them.
I have tried to become more confident. Now I can ask questions if I need to, without feeling afraid. Whenever we’ve had people over to the house, I used to stay apart from everyone else. I’m more sociable now.
My mother and I still don’t communicate well. I want to let her know how much I missed her when I was a child and that I wished she could’ve given me love, confidence and tenderness.
I don’t have too many good memories of my childhood. Once my mother brought my sister and me to a circus. I took a picture in which I had on a white blouse and a checkered skirt. I remember this as a moment when I felt happy and content with my mother.
I want to give many moments like that to my children. I still have a lot to learn about being an excellent mother, but I hope that America and Alan will always confide in me.