On this Mother’s Day weekend, MEDA encourages everyone to take time to celebrate the power of maternal love. We asked MEDA staff to tell what they learned from their mothers and how that made them a better person. Here are a few of the inspiring responses.
“Today, on Mother’s Day, I would like to say, ‘Thank you’ to the woman who not only gave me life, but has taught me much about it. Things haven’t always been the easiest, but my mother has always been the strongest. I can only dream to be like her, for she is perfection to me. I will forever be thankful for all that she does for me, our family and even for those little ones she has been teaching every day in her classroom for so many years. I strive every day to be like my mother. I don’t know if I will ever be as great as her, but I can only try.
“Gracias por siempre tener la fortaleza para seguir adelante y apoyarme en todo lo que hago. Sin usted, no sería yo quien soy hoy.”
Staff member: Laura Olivas
Mother’s name: Magdalena Villalba
“Cuando veo mi reflejo en el espejo, veo el rostro de mi madre.
Veo su sonrisa, veo su mirada y hasta las mismas entradas.
Ya veo arugas, las mismas que acaricio, cuando toco su piel.
En el espejo, veo su quijada, las marcas en mi frente, por corajuda, y sonrió, al saber, de quien lo herede.
Y aunque en este momento también se asombra una papadilla, a un me siento bella, pues soy un pedacito de mi madre.
Y el amor que conservo en mi interior por ella, es incomparable.
¡Te amo, mamita!”
“My grandmother–Mama Carmen, as we call her–was instrumental in raising me. This was because my mother was a single, working parent of four–three boys and one girl. I was the oldest of the bunch. Mama Carmen, who lived three blocks from us, would see us off and pick us up from school. My grandmother would also cook for all of us. Mama Carmen would sew my pants hem or, if they ripped, she would patch them up. She would clean my wounds from playing outside, too. My mother says Mama Carmen is my mother, not her.
“Mama Carmen was my hero. She instilled good values in me. She told me to be honest and get good grades. She taught me to be respectful to all people and don’t talk back to your elders or teachers. The day of the photo accompanying this story was just a couple of weeks ago. Mama Carmen looks beautiful–as always!”
Staff member: Gabriel Medina
Mother’s name: Raquel Medina (photo, top right)
“My mom has been the breadwinner of our family for most of my life. She was certainly the one that made a dollar out of 25 cents–the backbone that allowed my dad to take risks. An intentional foundation of my family who stayed in the background. My mom is an unstoppable force when she chooses, either by brute force or slow, unrelenting attrition. She’s worked at almost every bank in the Mission.
“My fondest memory is when my mom took a year off to volunteer at Hillcrest Elementary School here in San Francisco, when I was in the fifth grade. I was never the cool kid in school–unbelievable, I know–but my classmates loved her and that made me the coolest kid in class. I had the best grades I have ever had in my life that year: straight A’s, except for the A- in penmanship. It is the only report card I have ever kept.”
“The most valuable gift my mother has given me was never asking me to live anyone else’s dream. When I was younger, I would often ask, ‘What should I be when I grow up?’ She would always answer, without fail, that I could be anything I wanted to be, and do anything I wanted to do—with the one caveat that those choices must make me happy. My mother still tells me the same thing.
“Later in life, I realized just how valuable it was to have a mother who supported me in my dreams and goals–no matter what they were. She taught me to be nobody else but exactly who I was, and that my best was always good enough. More than anything, my mother has shared with me her love of life, and ability to have fun and find happiness through hardship and any circumstances she faces in life—something that I see as the true meaning of strength. That’s a lesson I hope I will always carry with me. I couldn’t ask for a better mom, and for this I am truly grateful.”