Making the decision to isolate at home in Miami with my family during the pandemic was a testament to another one of her lessons: “Cherish the time you have with your family and appreciate it, always.” And after several weeks, I couldn’t help but to notice that my mom has been reinforcing a new set of lessons I needed reminding of during these unknown times.
All my life my mom has taught me lessons that range from, “be humble and kind,” “live life to the fullest,” to ” if you don’t have sazón don’t even bother cooking.” When I was away in New York City for college her lessons played their part during every struggle and success. It’s easy to apply my mother’s wisdom when I am discovering what it truly means to be out in the world on my own.
A lot of the lessons have come from the kitchen. She re-taught me how to bake a cake from scratch when she told me, “Use the Betty Crocker cake mix, I’m tired.” I nailed those 4 steps!
Flip them! Why are you afraid of the oil? If you get burned, you get burned y ya.
By yelling “You have to use Adobo y sazón!” she taught me how to perfectly marinate meat, and when she added, “Flip them! Why are you afraid of the oil? If you get burned, you get burned y ya,” not only did I learn how to fry tostones, but also to not fear any drop of oil that jumps out of the pan.
My mom also taught me what type of guys I should be “going for” when she suggested, “You need someone like Kemal, el de la novela Amor Eterno.” As for her, “I will marry Denzel Washington one day,” she said, encouraging me to use this time to dream bigger.
Another thing I’ve learned from my mom during this time is to always put a little extra effort and never expect anything in return, especially when it comes to chores. “Oh my God, you did the laundry, swept, and cleaned the kitchen! You get extra rice for dinner,” she told me one glorious day.
Oh my God, you did the laundry, swept, and cleaned the kitchen! You get extra rice for dinner.
At the same time, she’s made sure we understand the importance of self-care and taking breaks by surprising everyone in the house one day by saying “I’m not doing anything today, if you’re hungry there’s chips.” This goes aligned with the fact that it’s okay not to call people to check up on them all the time if you haven’t checked up on yourself first.
“Kim, have you spoken to your primos Jessica, Daniela, Kaylee, Elson, Chris, Johnny, Omar, Kenneth, Kevin, Stephanie, Robertico, Michelle, Michael, and tías Suyapa, Ingrid, Sandra, Eli, Michelle, Yali, Griselda, Nohemy, and tíos Elson, Danny, Kevin, and Tito today?”
When my mom was talking on the phone with my tía and said, “Kim no va tener novio until she’s 80,” she taught me that it’s okay to not have any expectations during this time, especially romantic ones.
However, one of the most important lessons has been to appreciate what I have. “Kimberly, no hay el soy milk ese that you want, ni coconut ni nada, you’re stuck with the milk de vaca in the fridge,” my mom said as she called me from the grocery store one day.
I’ve become a motivator because of her: “Tell your sister to do her homework or I’m taking her phone away.”
I’ve become a motivator because of her: “Tell your sister to do her homework or I’m taking her phone away,” and I’ve learned that it’s crucial to be a good listener: “What did you say? I was watching this video of J Lo & A Rod haciendo ese challenge.”
My mom and I are experiencing this unknown time together, although internally we are dealing with our feelings about our lives during this pandemic differently. However, on the days when I feel defeated, my mother teaches me to lift myself back up again when she says, “You are capable of anything Mami, you are so strong Kim.”
After a full day of nonstop writing for school assignments, my mom came into my room and said, “I’m so proud of you,” which reminded me to celebrate myself no matter how small or big the success. She reinforced gratitude in me when she said, “Thank you for being my daughter.”
When my mom squeezed me tight and held me in her arms as if I was her premature five-pound baby again, and said, “I love you, I love you with all my heart,” she taught me to love unapologetically and to say it, as scary as the words are to say sometimes, and to express the love in my heart for others, always.
Thank you, Mami. I love you, I love you with all my heart.