I went to an NCJW luncheon today that honored Regina Montoya, who was one of the first Latinas in the U.S. to earn a partnership with a major corporate law firm. While she was speaking, I very unexpectedly got teary eyed and thought about Mom.
Mom always made sure that I knew that I could do anything I wanted in life. She went out of her way to ensure that the books I read were diverse and full of role models, specifically those who happened to be People of Color. When I was packing up back in December, I came across a couple of special edition Barbies that honored Latina women. I remember when she bought those for me and how she explained why they were important.
During the summers, she would enroll me in educational camps and programs, like art classes at Mountain View Community College and math camp at UTD. Part of her reasoning was that I needed to be occupied so I wouldn’t have a chance to get into trouble, but it was also because she wanted to expose me to the possibilities of what I could do in the world. I may have grumbled about some of those things, like math camp (ugh), but I realize now that she wanted to give me the opportunities and education she didn’t have. As I’m writing this, I’m thinking about how expensive all of those things must have been and how she was likely able to afford them because she worked lots of overtime. She sacrificed a lot for me.
When Justice Sonia Sotomayor was confirmed onto the Supreme Court, she was so excited. I had the opportunity to attend a lecture and book signing with Justice Sotomayor and my mom bought her books so I could get them signed. I think that’s why listening to Regina Montoya made me think of Mom.
I know I keep saying it, but I really, really miss my mom.