My Hardworking Mother

A letter to my mother:

Throughout March it seemed as if the world was collapsing beneath our feet. Our neighborhood became the center of the United States' COVID-19 crisis: schools closed, businesses shut down, people went on unemployment or even went hungry, and thousands of lives were lost. 

My mother was fortunate enough to keep her job as a school paraprofessional; she was even more fortunate to have all of our family survive--my mother and father were both sickened with the virus. Despite all the obstacles and chaos that happened during the three-month quarantine, my mother never got down. She always stayed positive and kept hope for me and my sister.

The students that my mother assists are low-income and have their own unique ways of learning. As difficult as her job sometimes is, my mom tackles her tasks with a positive mood and maintains her patience. Every day, she does her best to keep her 5th grade students on the path to graduate.

This year is a milestone for me and my mother; I’m her first daughter to graduate and go to college. We were both looking forward to my graduation ceremony, to my college open house and orientation, to me getting dressed up for my prom and taking pictures with my mother, and much more. These have all been cancelled now. 

This is hard for us both, but my mother made the best of it. She tailored my prom dress anyway and asked me if I wanted to wear it in the house, and she held a graduation party for me here at home. Despite such a difficult year so far, my mother always teaches me to have an optimistic outlook. 

Mami, I recognize all these things you have done for your students and your family. I want to thank you with all my heart for being a strong woman, an inspiration, and a model to all mothers out there. I would not be finishing high school and going off to college without all your support, your encouragement, and your love. I am grateful to have you in my life, and I hope the world sees what I see in you.

My mother takes advantage of the warm weather to do her online shopping on the balcony.

After doing her own hair, my mother pins her hair up to protect it from the humidity. 

Our home does not have a drying machine, so we have to hang clothes to dry in order to save money. After they dry, she folds the clothes and puts them away.

My mom rests her hand on the doorframe as she cleans the toilet.

The closed hair salons made my mom have to do her own hair with the skills she acquired when she used to own a salon.

During the quarantine, my mom tries to go to the supermarket on days with bad weather in order to avoid the long lines. Here she is getting ready to leave the house.

Every weekend, my mom often goes alone to buy several bags of groceries for the family.

Our local bank is located in a low-income neighborhood. My mom never lets her guard down and uses her peripheral view in order to look after herself.

My mom likes to keep the house clean. Right after she cooks, she immediately washes the dishes.

Mangu is a very popular food in my mother’s home country, the Dominican Republic, and the family enjoys eating it for dinner.

After online school ends, my mom often does extra work on her laptop.

My mom relaxes and reads a book after a long day at work.

On June 6th, my mom threw a home graduation party because the original date of my graduation was on June 5th. She is proud to have her first daughter graduate high school.

We have several statues and images of saints and Jesus all over our home. She holds the small statue of Jesus on the cross, which symbolizes her hope and motivation.

On Fridays, my mom tends to take a nap on the living room couch at the end of the day due to the exhaustion she faces from work.

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