The one thing my mother truly laments about her life is not being able to get an education. Being a woman from a third world country made this incredibly difficult for her. She’s always said if she would’ve been given the opportunity she would’ve been a teacher.
This is one thing, among many others, my mother never wanted us to feel. She never wanted us to lament not having an education. Frankly, my brother and I didn’t have a choice. As kids, I remember her always telling us:
“Tú vas hacer abogada y Renecito va ser un médico.”
(You’re going to be an attorney, and René is going to be a doctor.)
For the record, neither of us became either of those but her whole point was to ingrain the idea of higher education in our minds. I thought this was the norm. I thought this is what everyone was told at home. I was wrong. I was also incredibly lucky.
Having raised us by herself she talked to us about a lot of intense topics early on. One of those included what she wanted for us if she passed away before we finished our schooling. These were always her words to us:
“Si yo me muero y ustedes no se han graduado de la universidad, el día que se gradúen ustedes van a mi tumba y me dicen ‘Mami, cumplí.’”
(If I die and you guys haven’t graduated college, the day you graduate you will go to my tomb and say, “Mom, I did it.”)
As an adult, I can’t imagine how hard it is to say those words to your children. Today is five years to the date that I graduated college. I’m a journalist and my brother, who also graduated, works as a marketing manager in Chicago. She told my brother and I the exact same thing when we graduated:
“Ya usted cumplió conmigo.”
(Loosely translated: You’ve done all I’ve asked of you.)
That’s all she ever asked of us, to get an education. She said it was the only gift she could give us. It will forever be the greatest gift she gave us.
Victoria Moll-Ramirez is a broadcast journalist based in Atlanta, GA. She is originally from Miami, FL and had the great fortune of being raised by the sassiest, spunkiest, wisest, most hysterical Honduran woman in the world. Victoria’s mother, Bélgica, is 60-years-old, resides in Little Havana (Miami) and enjoys a good margarita accompanied by a heartrending ranchera. Victoria blogs about her mom’s funny and wise sayings on, “In My Mother’s Words.”