Earth to Mom

I'm a first generation college student, meaning I am the first in my family to ever go to and/or graduate college. It took huge strides for both me and her to keep me in school –– working extra hours, forcing me to help my siblings with their arithmetic, buying one book from every Scholastic book catalog we got in school, urging me to take the SAT again and again. Ever since I was young, my mom strove to keep me in school –– and I owe it largely to her that I'm in college. 

As a little boy (or better yet, littler), my mom took me to McDonald's every Sunday, after church, and bought me a Happy Meal. If it was a lucky day, there was a toy sale happening, and I got to have two toys. I would pull out my pocket-sized notepad and write down what I saw. Menu. Pesos. Hello Kitty. Chicken. And she would repeat the words to me, over and over again, just so I knew how to say them correctly. 

I also knew that she has lost days and weeks of sleep, sitting at the side of my hospital bed, just to ensure that my asthma wasn't eating me up. When I woke up, there was always a juice box and a little present from my grandmother. Once, I woke up and started crying, because there was only a nurse by me. My mom ran late, but when she got there, she got there.

Over the years, her hair started to speckle –– a dash of pepper. The cracks on her fingers started to connect with the ridges on her forehead, then to the valleys of her voice. I don't know how else to thank my mom. She's done so much for me. When I (the first of her kiddos) graduate, I want to give her a diploma too.

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