To some, she was Rosaura, Nena, or Nenita.
To me, she was my mother, my world.
She was my first piano teacher, instilling in me a life-long passion for music.
She was Mother Courage, defying Castro’s regime and committing the ultimate sacrifice: sending her children away so they would be safe from communism.
She was Florence Nightingale, helping to care for others’ ailing children while taking care of her own.
She was Mother Teresa, helping the poor before it became fashionable to do so.
My image of her organizing the first food drive in our town, and canvassing poor neighborhoods to determine the health need of people who could not afford to pay for health services, served as inspiration for work I performed as an adult, helping impoverished communities across Latin America and Africa.
From her I learned the meaning of compassion. Although I still struggle to find the right words when trying to soothe a hurting soul. At this she was masterful–she was always able to deliver the perfect message weather the receiver was an adult or a child.
In Cuba, on Mothers Day, it was customary to wear a white flower if your mother was deceased or red if she was alive. I remember once when I was around five, holding onto her hand and crying because the woman we had just met was wearing a white rose on her blouse. “She doesn’t have a mami.”
“Yes, she does. Her mami is an angel, watching over her from heaven. Let’s wish her Happy Mothers Day.”
On this Mothers Day, I will wear a white flower knowing that my mother is my angel, protecting me from above as I walk through life remembering all the lessons she taught me.
Mami, I love you and miss you every day.
To everyone who’s wearing a red or white flower, and to all the mothers in the world, Happy Mothers Day.