The day was gray and smelled of rain, and I had come from the future to warn the people of the past. After running various fate-altering errands, I ended up across the street from my old house, looking at my mom holding my sister's hand and playing I Spy with me as we waited for the school bus. It was a prime opportunity to warn her that she was going to succumb to cancer, that she needed to cherish every moment she had with us, to make sure we were prepared for life's hardships. I started across the street, but before I could, the school bus arrived. I watched as my mom kissed me on the head, said good-bye, and waved until the bus was out of sight. She picked up my sister and walked into the house. Watching from across the street, I realized that my mom was already so full of gratitude, love, joy and selflessness that there was nothing to warn her about. She was so grateful just to be a parent that even at our young age, she had done everything right and had nothing to change. I woke up crying.
As my dream showed, my mom's influence started early. From the beginning, she strengthened my mind with trips to the library, word games, and alternative learning. As I grew, she taught me how to clean, cook, change my oil, invest and budget. She made me take CPR and encouraged me to take dance, music, horseback riding, swimming and soccer.
I learned about yoga, truth and soul searching, and subsequently I knew how to save money on a therapist. I learned the importance of taking advantage of new opportunities, as she voiced her annoyance every time I didn't. Even now, I hear her voice in my head if I do not rise to an occasion.
When my mom became bedridden, my responsibilities grew. My parents were divorced, my dad had his own problems, and outside aid often added more confusion than help, so I was left with the responsibilities of an adult. Though she did not know it, my mom gave me a priceless gift by forcing me to learn how to juggle a household, a job, school, friends, plan a future and self. She taught me a strength and maturity I could not have learned anywhere else.
Due to my mom's impeccable parenting, I have managed to handle all that life has dealt with grace. I am a more balanced person because of the challenges. I feel satisfied with my life, and know that there is a greater plan I just need to discover. -
Editor's Note: This college essay was written for Brown University.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.