I reflect constantly on my upbringing and the events that shape me to be who I am today. As of today, my brother is seventeen-years-old and was left in Guatemala with a family friend of my mother; against his will and on the last day of the forced winter vacation he took with my mother and sister. My sister lives alone with my mother, but would rather live with her father because my mother spends little to no time with her. My sister is fourteen years old and the last one of my siblings. I am twenty two years old with a bachelor’s degree in psychology received by the University of California, Riverside last year. I no longer live in the apartment on Valencia Street in San Francisco and honestly, it was difficult to move back again. The last time I left was due to my mother’s insults and her inability to understand the consequences of her actions on my sibling’s future. Traveling to your parent’s home country should be fun and an escape to be children, but for my siblings, it was not the case. They had no idea they were leaving and always asked me when they would return, worried they would miss school. And miss school they did. I am getting a little bit sidetracked, but it is because there is a whole story with many chapters of negativity and many more with moments of sunshine. Today I pray to one day soon be reunited with both my siblings and show we are capable of more light and love than the woman who raised us. This is our story, from what I experienced and from what I was told many times, which I will never forget.
My siblings and I are not outcomes of loving relationships, but of a woman who was sent off to another country when she was eighteen. From her words, retelling the story to family, friends, and myself since I was seven-years-old, her mother and her butted heads often. My mother no longer desired to study and even though the times were tough, she had the support of her father, who she admired and loved very dearly. The day of my mother’s eighteenth birthday, her mother surprised her with her decision, to get my mother to pack her bags and accompany a coyote through Mexico and across the border to Los Angeles, California where the rest of my mother’s extended family lived. My mother was fortunate to be taken by someone who did not harm her or use her for ransom, as many other northern travelers sadly experience. Every time my mother told the story, you could see it in her face as she revisited the experience the emotions she strongly felt against her mother. Many years later, my mother and her mother amended the relationship momentarily, and since then, they’ve seen each other but my mother continues to hate her mother— with an intense passion, I may add. If someone else experienced what she did, they would probably try to do better in raising their children. In my mother’s mind, she does not realize her action to leave my brother in another country with limited contact with his sisters and no contact with his friends and family in the United States parallels what her mother decided to do with her.
See, my mother thinks my brother is tough to deal with and it is slightly true. My brother is stubborn, but he gets it from her. When I left for college, I left with one simple instruction for my family: to get along and work together. I believe they tried for a few weeks, maybe a month, but the chaos continued to rule the apartment. My mother enjoyed poking the bear and most often it was my brother’s character who she decided to poke. I know, and many others who know and met my brother also know, he is not a violent or angry kid. He treats everyone with respect and always finds a way into their hearts. His kryptonite, as well as mine and my sister’s, is our mother. We are all well-mannered children when we are with others, but around her, we have many levels to our voices and our attitude changes completely. Many times I would receive calls from home while I was in Riverside of my brother either running away or my mother screaming profanities because he would not abide by my mother’s rules. My mother is an authoritative parent, always wanting to put down the law and expects her children to listen with no room for compassion or loving connection between child and parent. If someone were to ask her today, what is your children’s favorite whatever, she would not have a clue. No matter what time it is, during the day or at night, my mother is out “working.” Being a single parent, I understand, it's hard and takes a lot of determination and faith to keep a roof over our heads but she decided to go down that route.
Marrying only my father, then cheating on him with my brother’s father (who, by the way, my brother did not know of until his seventeenth birthday) and finally having a toxic relationship with my sister’s father who, at the time of her conceiving, was married. A telenovela may seem like the right genre for our lives since there are way more twists and turns I have yet to get into, but no worries, no one comes back from the dead. At least not literally.