13 May Isn’t She Lovely
By: Stefanie Castro, RN, BSN
I can still hear the humming of the airplane engines as I traveled to Brazil. I was 8 years old and with my mom, the best travel companion a girl could ask for. When we started to have turbulence, my eyes were closed tight and my heart raced, but she was there to talk me down. Afterwards, I looked up at my mom in complete awe. She was always calm, always there to protect me. As a child, I never put much thought into what my mom was feeling. All I knew was that I was loved and cared for.
Now that I’m a parent, I look at my mom with different eyes. I’ve realized that being a mom is so much more than putting cute outfits on my children and taking sweet pictures. In reality, we juggle a million activities throughout the day, yet by the end we may feel like we have an even longer list waiting for us the next day. Truth be told, our list is endless. I’ve had days I felt empty and discouraged, and now I know my mom must have felt the same way and never showed it. I bet most mornings, like I do, she took many deep breaths, hoping what she did was the right thing for me to grow up safe and healthy. Mothers are incredible beings: they stand tall, protecting their young, while deep down they’re trying to find confidence.
Every action as a mom is pretty much a shot in the dark, in which we hope we’re getting it right. I never took a special class to be a mom. I was ill-prepared, yet they handed me a baby. Over the years, those fears and anxieties haven’t just faded. Self-doubt, questioning my every move is something I still constantly face. But I keep going, praying I’m making good choices for my kids in the long run.
I think that’s what I admire most about my mom, now more than ever. I know what being a mom entails. And my mom raised me, primarily on her own, in a country that wasn’t hers, with strength and perseverance. She had a certain determination, something I thought was just her personality, to show me that the world was mine for the taking. It’s extraordinary to think about how a person could be so selfless. We give so much love, devotion, and energy to see our children succeed. My mom taught me how to fight for what I want. I’m constantly giving my children the same lesson. Even when life was challenging, my mom found a way to put a new plan in place. She had to juggle working, caring for me, and keeping up with the home, all while my father worked in a different country for most of the year. My mom and I became each other’s companion through life, really leaning on one another during what felt like a lonely time. On top of it all, we had times of financial hardships. Affording college seemed like it might not be possible. But both my parents worked hard to assure my future was bright. While here, my mom put in the time and effort to make sure she could find another way to pay for it. Even during those challenging moments in our lives, she always made it a point to reach beyond the stars to achieve our dreams.
Today, I often get comments on how close my mom and I seem, particularly since we live so close to one another. It’s hard to explain how this dynamic works for us, but it simply does on many levels. That doesn’t mean we always see eye-to-eye, but I choose to be close to her, not only for my children’s sake, but because she is my best friend. I continue to appreciate how much she gave of herself to raise me into the person I am. She remains the one I lean on for guidance and support when I don’t have answers.
Becoming a mom was eye-opening for me. I bet many woman can relate to that feeling. A new perspective erupts and we suddenly see our children in the same way our parents saw us. It is then we have new-found respect for our parents. I constantly call my mom to apologize for ever making her life harder. And although we laugh about those memories now, I know she had to work through real struggles to get to where we are at today. I will always be grateful I was given such a powerful and poised role model as a mother. It just took raising miniature versions of myself to realize it.
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