On October 2006, I became this super-uber-zealous Cuban mama bear. My son, my three years old Cubanito-in-the-making is, literally, the sunshine of my days.
Yes, I have that type of personality with the four letters, the natural guardian/supervisor that breathe through the breaths of her brood. Guilty as charged.
This Cubanita over here, despite living a lot of changes in the personal relationships department over the last months, never loses sight of the future because of a very simple reason: my son.
I am who I am because of him.
I do what I do because of him. I did what I did thinking of him – even before he was born.
And I keep doing, and I keep going, simply because of him.
So yes, yesterday was a blast and will always be, no matter how old I am or how old he is.
That being said, on Mother’s Day, I also celebrate the biggest turning point of my life – after the birth of my son… or at the same time… anyway, one thing wouldn’t have happened without the other.
Nine years ago, in the wee hours of Mother’s Day, I set foot in the United States for the first time.
Sick, exhausted, scared like never before in my life and full of dreams and real hope, I step in American soil and nervously managed to utter the words: “I am Cuban and I want to request the protection of the US government” – or something like that ;-)
My own mother thought I was taking a few days off from work. I just couldn’t bear the heavy weight of telling her in advance my plan, and have her worried to death precisely on Mother’s Day.
Nine years have passed and Mami and I, now living together again in the land of the free, in the foothills of the Rockies, often joke about it. And she always reminds me that I’ve always been very good to keep secrets, even since I was a little girl.
Yes, I was born in Cuba.
But as I told a Cuban I met in this altitude last week, I am being made in the USA.
As I’ve often posted before, I am that kind of nerd that every single day thanks God for being in this country.
Left behind are those first days in a relative’s modest home in NW Miami, the first driving lessons, the English classes in the Miami Dade Community College REVEST Program, the first language assessment tests, the first job interview, and the countless nights in my little studio apartment in Miami Beach, where I would woke up in the middle of the night, sweating, having nightmares that I was back in Cuba, arrested by the Cuban police that would not allow me to come back to my tiny and penniless corner of freedom in South Beach.
Behind – but not forgotten – are the days in Bayside when I would choke eating an ice cream cone, just by thinking that my little niece and nephew left back in Cuba were not able to enjoy that “luxury”.
Or the unbelievable sense of guilt when buying $9.99 shoes, after doing the math of how much basic food staples would my parents buy with that money in the tropical gulag.
Many things have happened since those first days.
I climbed the ladder to better jobs. I put myself back to school and got my Master in Journalism and Mass Communication at FIU. I relocated out of my beloved Miami homeland, more than one mile high above the sea level – quite a change! (Have I mentioned that I bleed through my nose for three months in a row when I moved to colorful Colorado?)
I “built” a home and a family.
I was able to get both my parents out of that communist hell hole of misery that Cuba has become.
My son was born here and I was blessed with sleepless nights and the endless responsibility of raising a fine and honest human being.
[I was that kind of young “new generation” Cuban female that up to nine years ago, lived up to the mantra I was never going to have children if I had to have them in Cuba]
I became an American citizen in early 2008 and due to a mix of the my own experiences as journalist, my communism-induced post traumatic stress disorder and the environment of the presidential elections, I became more in tune with my political views and my conservative values.
And can proudly say that now I have a better sense of who I am, the things that I hold dear and the principles that I want to pass onto my kid.
I also discovered the blogosphere and have made amazing friendships while doing my modest contribution to the freedom of Cuba and to keep my adopted homeland in the spirit our Founder Fathers envisioned her.
Things have changed lately, but I am still the Captain (la capitana, as my mother says) of this unconventional ship. I can say, with absolutely no regrets, that I have made true the American Dream.
All that has been possible because of a very simple reason: because on that Mother’s Day of 2001, I step a foot in the greatest country on Earth.
For those reasons, and for the many miles I still have to come in my endless journey, Mother’s Day means a whole big deal to me.
I celebrate not only having welcomed my papichulo to my life, but also the simple fact of being in this country, where I first met my right to life, freedom and the pursue of happiness that, ultimately, made possible the birth of my child.
All that on top of endlessly thanking the person behind the scenes that made me a tough cookie: my mother.