∞ Brittany Schwanke 

Mi Madre Hermosa
My mother is from Pericos, Sinaloa. She was born in 1962, in a time where things were much different. My mom lived on a ranch, where there was no continuation of school after the fourth grade— therefore she had to start somewhere else if she wanted to continue her education. Education was important to her family. She was forced to leave her home behind at the early age of nine without choice. I can’t imagine leaving my family at such a young age and how different my life would be today if I did so. My mom being so young and innocent, she didn’t know what was happening or understood why—all she knew was that she was scared to go by herself. My mother’s parents insisted her to not be scared, that everything would be fine and that her sister will accompany her because she was leaving to get an education as well. My mother’s parents sent her off to live with relatives that she had never met before. When arriving, my mom found out that her sister will be living with one aunt and she would be living with another. She instantly felt pain, and abandoned but knew it was for the right reasons.

She moved to Mexicali Baja California where her parents had sent her off to to live with her tíos. Although they were family, she claimed that they were practically strangers because she had never met them before. Immediately my mom felt emptiness and heartbroken as she thought of her dad and siblings but mostly her mom. It wasn’t long before my mom figured out the way things worked around her tío’s house. Her aunt favored her children, and made my mom clean dishes, wash and iron all the clothes, help around the house, run errons and much more in return for her stay there. I remind you she was only 9 years old at the time. My mom has told us her stories of how she would barely receive gifts from her tíos— and when she did, her cousins, the children of the tíos she was staying with, would get jealous and mad at her for receiving these things. They would yell out things like “Ella no es tu hija!!” Her cousins would throw dirt in her food and steal her car and money at night, and while my mom would tell her tíos about these incidents they would do little to nothing to them and these things continued to happen to my mom. She told me she would cry every night wishing she was just with her family. My mom would feel neglected in this household often, and it was something she had to live through in order to have a better future for herself.

While suffering, my mom was still there for a reason, and that was to get an education. She started school immediately after moving in with her tíos, and finished doing eight years of school in Mexicali. In result, she worked at a bank for seven years after her studies and continued to stay with her tíos for a better opportunity. She helped out in paying rent, paying for food and continued to clean around the house. My mom was grateful for what she had, even though she didn’t have much. That’s the thing I admire most about my mom, her humbleness.
My mom met a man who she stayed with for around a year. In Mexico its tradition to get married first before you live with them, have kids with them ect. This guy wanted to be with my mom but made it clear to her he did not want to marry her because he wanted to be with more partners before marriage. My mom was devastated and left him. As time flew by she was invited to a wedding in San Diego by a friend where she met her husband, my dad. And that’s where my moms life was changed forever.

My dad is a white American who was not accepted by the family of my mom. However this did not stop their love for each other. My mom, not having her papers, made their relationship difficult. My dad would cross the border once a week, every week and go back home to work in the U.S. My dad and mom got married after a year of meeting. After, they worked on getting my mom her papers following a heavy process in which they asked for paperwork, interviews, and 18 months of time before she finally became a resident ALIEN. Still not being a citizen, my mom attended school and took several of classes where she had to pass a test and soon became a American citizen. By the age of 28, my mom had three kids with my dad. She promised herself she would never let her children study somewhere else. Por or rich, she would raise her children and watch them grow every day—she would give everything she had in order to make sure her children didn’t live the life she lived. To this day, my mother has fulfilled her dream, raising her children to have a great life if we put our hearts to it. My mom worked hard and loved even harder. She says that we have forever changed her life but little does she know, she has changed mine forever.