Happy Mother’s Day, Moms! In honor of this day, I want to take a moment to recognize all of the motherly love I am blessed with in my life.
I have always been surrounded by strong and supportive women. My dad passed away when I was just 10 years old and my mom was left heartbroken and with the duties of both mother and father. It could not have been an easy task, but luckily other moms stepped up to the plate (as mothers tend to do) and formed a powerful child rearing team. My grandmother moved down the street and became a strong support to our family. My mom’s friends were always around to be there when we needed them. And of course, my mom did everything in her power to not miss a beat when raising her three children. She is a real superwoman.
There is not one day in my life that I have not felt love from my mom. There is not one crazy endeavor that my mom has not been there to cheer me on, even when she does not completely agree with the decision (*cough*PeaceCorps*cough). Now, at 28 years old and with some more life experience, I realize how much of a blessing it is to have a mother like her in my life.
I arrived in Perú lucky enough to have one mom, and now after one year, I can call three women “Mom.” First, is my host mom from my training days in Lima. Anamelba. This woman is amazing. She is the strong head of house, a teacher, and a neighborhood leader. She has an incredible sense of humor and enough patience to put up with my broken Spanish for three months. I remember my first day in my new house in Lima. I realized I was in over my head when I sat down on the couch to learn about my host family and I realized they spoke no English. We communicated mostly through body language until she got the hint that I was not ready to have full blown conversations in Spanish. She then spent the next 30 minutes walking around her living room, pointing at items, and telling me what they were in Spanish. She is a real teacher. She packed my lunches every day for training and at dinner we would sit and she would always encourage me to speak Spanish by asking me about my day or my life in the United States. I quickly learned that complementing her food was the way to her heart, but one day she made Quinoa in a red sauce for my lunch. I didn’t love it and I didn’t eat all of it and Anamelba was quick to notice. She now always jokes with me by inviting me to dinner and telling me she’s going to make my favorite quinoa dish. I have so many fun and happy memories with Anamelba and I’m so grateful that she made me feel like I had a family and home away from my real family and home.
After moving to Ancash, I met my third “Mom”, Vilma. Vilma is a devoted mom of 4 and definitely the boss of the house. She starts every day by opening her bodega; killing a chicken to eat for the day and sell in her store; cleaning the house; tending the sheep, chickens, pig, guinea pigs, and dog; taking care of the crops; cooking; paying the bills; buying goods for the store; and knitting for the Italian organization, Don Bosco. She does all of these things with a choreographed ease that makes her job seem deceivingly doable. Trust me, it’s not. She went to Lima for one week and I couldn’t keep up with it all. She has spent her entire life in Ancash and happily lives day to day resourcefully with what she has available to her. Culturally, I have learned the most by observing and speaking with Vilma. She knows everything and everyone in my town and is a great source of knowledge for me. She is also a native Quechua speaker and has helped me as I have been learning this complex, Incan language. As can be assumed by our large cultural differences, our relationship has required a lot of learning, patience, compromise, and I am grateful for what she has taught me and the value she places on her family and children.
Thank you for all of the women in my life who have served as a role model and a source of love for me. There are too many to name but I am so appreciative of the impact you have had on my life. Your encouragement and support is a gift that I am undeserving of, but eternally grateful for. I hope everyone has the happiest of Mother’s Days. Love to you all!