The person I admire most is my mother. She has done so much for me. My mom has been through an immense amount of suffering, but she has persevered. My mom never had a chance to have a prestigious career, and during my childhood she always had more than one job. I almost never saw her. She would be home long enough to ask if we behaved that day, then leave for another grueling shift. All the work she did, hour after hour, year after year, was to earn a few extra dollars. She could have used the money to buy things for herself, but she never did. She only bought herself the bare essentials to make sure her children had food on the table at every meal. My mom moved us from one of the worst neighborhoods in Los Angeles to a nice home in the San Fernando Valley. Who helped her? No one. She did it on her own. She alone made the down payment and paid the mortgage every month. My mother’s education was limited; she did not even finish grade school. In her country, where she lived until her 20’s, she had to start working at a young age so her family could survive. School was not an option. My mom rose above poverty and made something of herself. Despite her lack of formal education, she became a successful life insurance saleswoman, and has won many awards from her company. People used to say she was living off the government because she received welfare when we lived in L.A. My mother showed those critics she could better her situation. They no longer look down on her; she proved she could overcome anything. Only recently has she slowed down, but not by choice. Many surgeries on her back have improved her chances of living pain-free. Doctors thought she might never walk again, but only days after she was released from the hospital, she was on her feet watering her garden. Her accomplishments are many, although not world renowned. They are amazing because she achieved them in spite of the distrust people showed her. She defied the stereotype; people thought a single mother on welfare living in the worst part of L.A. would never make it out, but she did. My strength comes from hers. She is my inspiration. All I want in life is to make her as proud of me as I am of her. I will always remember what she has taught me and who she is. I love you, Mom.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.