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From Mamá to Abuela

Photograph by Rachel Matos

I was raised by a hard-working mom, who knew no limits when it came to pursuing her dreams — no matter the obstacles. How she worked, got a PhD, raised me and kept the house clean is beyond me. But she did it, and I learned a lot about sacrifice, perseverance and the journey of motherhood from her.

Although my mother was no slacker when it came to parenting, to make sure I was taking care of my responsibilities during very busy times, my grandmother always checked in on me.

Nena, ¿hiciste tu tarea? ¿Enjuagaste tu uniforme? ¿Arreglaste la cama?

It was her way of helping my mother out and keeping me on track. I also spent many weekends at my grandmother's house while my mom studied and worked. She was the true definition of the perfect abuelita, who always cooked the best homemade meals and fussed over the comfort of her nietos. I have the fondest memories of my weekends with her. But of course, I had to do things I was not crazy about, such as go with her church, where services could last up to four hours. But it was her passion, and I'm happy I got to share that with her. When I was 11, she took me on my first flight ever to Puerto Rico to visit family. She threw a huge birthday party for me when I was there, showed me off to her friends and took me sightseeing.

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My mother got her generous spirit, kindness and tenacity from my grandmother. Fast forward to today, and my mom does the same for my son. She lives in Texas, but she calls every day to check on her "prince." When I was not doing well due to dealing with a chronic pain disorder, she flew out multiple times to help me with housework and her grandson with his schoolwork.

My son is a great kid, but he does not like school work and requires many reminders. And just like me, he has to do things he doesn't always want to with his grandmother. Education is my mother's passion. To help him stay on top of his grades so that I could get some work done (because she remembers the juggle all too well), she checked in with his teachers, the school homework site and with him on Skype. In fact, she still does these things even though I'm feeling better because she is just as invested in him as I am, in the same way my abuela was with me.

My mother even took him to his first trip to Puerto Rico recently to show him off to family and go sightseeing. Except this time, he and my mom visited my abuela, who is buried there. She passed away in 2002 — but not before meeting her bisnieto, which was her biggest wish.

Happy Mother's Day to my beautiful mom for passing down traditions and the same unconditional love to my one and only son. I don't tell you enough, but I love you and appreciate all the sacrifices, support, and unconditional love you've given us as a mamá and abuela.

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