Today is Mother’s Day. Here are some random thoughts about my mother and I:
1. When I had a cold, my mother used to clip a handkerchief to my sweater and wrapped a pañoleta around my head. This made me an incredibly happy child.
2. My mother almost died when she gave birth to me. Years later, during one of our many fights, she told me I continued to kill her a little every day.
3. Growing up, I saw little of my mother. She was a migrant worker. She left every spring and returned home every fall. She came back home on the day I made sure I didn’t step on any pebbles on my way home from school or on the day I kept my fingers, tongue, and eyes crossed for a long time, or on the day I continuously said the magic words: please come home, please come home, please come home, please come home, please come home, please come home...........
4. I didn’t learn to read until I was in second grade. Reading didn’t make sense to me until the day she sat me on her lap and read me a book. She never read to me another book, but that enough for me to fall in love with books.
5. Unaware of my presence, one of my mother’s friends told her that of all her daughters, Carmen, my sister, was the prettiest. My mother nodded in agreement.
6. Accidentally, she ran over my dog with my father’s Grand Torino. She didn't apologize.
7. Once, after not seeing each other for a long time, she sent me a Greyhound one-way ticket home. I was in deep shit and hungry. I got on the first Greyhound bus immediately.
8. Years after graduating from college, my mother told me she was disappointed in me because I was a communist, a feminist, unmarried, and penniless.
9. When I finally got my first apartment, I told my mother I was leaving home because I didn’t want to take care of her when she was old and frail. I wanted a life of my own. A year later, I ended up in the hospital for three weeks. She took care of me the whole period.
10. On the way to a panaderia in Modesto, California, I told my mother I didn’t love her. She cried nonstop. I was 10 years old. Perhaps I should have said I don’t know how to love you instead. We still don’t know how to love each other.