1,000 miles: step 53

Have you ever heard your name pronounced over and over

over the course of 3 hours by a toddler?

Try unexpected, last-minute babysitting for a friend of yours. It’s like listening to the many Claudia-named songs out there, minus the easy listening…

Lesson learned: I should change my name and address the next time I hear, Claudia, where’s the bathroom?

I’ve been saying Mamí for over 19 years now, nearly my entire life. I’ve been called niña for about the same time. When my mother uses “Claudia” to talk about me to others, sometimes it feels like she’s just talking about the dozens of other Claudia’s she knows.

Mi madre, my mother,

Mi madre bonita, my beautiful mother

could have been so much more under different life circumstances. I know because every bit of resilience I possess, I’ve learned from her. And I recognize how corny it may sound, but I’m so glad the mother I have is mine. I didn’t get one of those overprotective dads, trying to beat up boys for glancing my way. I didn’t get one of those supportive dads, ready to take me to the moon if that’s what I wanted. And even though that would’ve been nice, I rather take what I have: a most amazing woman who decided to take on the role of being my mother.

I have always suspected that if I had been in her place, I could’ve not have brought myself to raise a kid when 8 days ago I was 15 years old. Or to know that I’d be doing most of the raising on my own because her father had decided to leave for America indefinitely.

And honestly, it’s more than that: I wouldn’t have had the patience to deal with a kid, even a well-behaved one. I’m so grateful my mother still has that patience; that gratefulness comes with a bowl of love.

I look forward to the days when our mother-daughter conversations aren’t squeezed into 15 minutes gaps of her free time, to the days when the conversation moves beyond what bills are due and whether or not there’s money in the bank.

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