I look throver to the passenge seat. My mother sleeps as I drive us through cities. I’m taking her to the outlets in San Marcos, Texas. Nothing Fancy. Just a day trip. Just here and I. And as I drive, it’s crazy to sit here behind the wheel and realize that I’m taking care of my mother, just as she did when we were small.
Brown: The color of my skin.
Kids made fun of me. I had all kinds of nick names. “Hershey” hurt me the most, so “Hershey” was their favorite. On sad school days when other second graders would make fun of me, I would ask my mom, “Mami, why do I look like this?” “Mija, it’s because of the sun. We walk too much and this happens sometimes. Don’t worry. You’re still pretty, negrita.”
When we were smaller, my mother did not know how to drive.
“Ninas! Es hour to picorr. ( It’s time to wake up).”
She would wake us up at 6:30 AM every day, ready to head out the door by 7, in order to get to school at 7:45. Right on time before the first bell would ring. At times it seemed like she was a single mom, doing it all on her own. My father was away working, absent on those hard times when we needed him. When my mom had to walk down Chicago streetw towards Farias Elementary with her seven-year-old by the hand, her five-year-old on her back, and her new born in the stroller.
The sun burned. We were sleepy. Whe had to stop at certain corners for breaks. But there my mother was, making it her mission to get us to school on time.
There is something so great about knowing that she trusts me that much; her, falling asleep, motionless, loose and vulnerable. The fact that she decided to put her sluombering life in my hands, making sure we arrive.
“Mom, wake up. We’re here.”