As my mom and I sat in the airport waiting for our ride when we came back from South America this summer, she started telling me how clearly she remembers the day she arrived to this country. She said she remembers the times she got lost. The times she felt such relief when finding someone who spoke Spanish to help, and how tough it was the times she couldn’t find someone.
I asked her if she had to do it all over again if she would. Without any hesitation she said to me,
“Uy, claro que sí! Yo a este país le vivo muy agradecida por que me dio a mis dos hijos y oportunidades que yo nunca hubiera podido tener en Honduras.”
(Oh, of course! I am very grateful to this country, because it gave me my two children and has granted me opportunities I would’ve never had in Honduras.)
My mother is one of the most grateful people I know. Frankly, I sometimes think she’s grateful to a fault. She never forgets the favors people did for her during some of our most difficult times. Her life here has not been an easy one, life in general isn’t meant to be easy. But, it takes a certain level of badassery (not a confirmed word in the Oxford dictionary) to pack up your bags and move to a whole new country you’ve never even seen. Not to mention, leaving your country and family not knowing when you’ll return.
My mom is the ultimate American. She listens to the Star-Spangled banner carefully every time it plays. She likes watching shows like Family Feud bc she says they teach her new words in English. She LOVES Facebook and her iPhone. She’s full of hope. Hope granted to her by living in a place where if you work hard you can come from an impoverished country, not know the language, and raise two professionals. Hope is a gift my mother has never taken for granted. She is forever grateful to this country for granting her that hope.
This Thanksgiving we spent it apart. We have lots to be thankful for- my mom’s health, my new job, amazing friends along with a roof over our heads and food on our tables. My mom came from very little and is always reminding us to give thanks, no matter the occasion. To her you need to be thankful for everything from the bus driver who gets you home safely to the steady paycheck.
Maybe that’s why when it comes time for Thanksgiving if we can’t get together none of us feel all that terrible. When your family consists of three people every gathering is a family gathering. We know how lucky we are and even if we’re apart we know we’re not alone. We’re a formidable army of three who eat turkey weekly (lean meats, ya know?!). We look forward to the next time we see each other and figuring out what vacation we’ll take next.
We’re three people full of hope and for that we are grateful.
Victoria Moll-Ramirez is a broadcast journalist based in New York City. 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.”