Feeling God’s love in my heart. Smelling Imari perfume and finding comfort. Seeing mothers and daughters shopping together, laughing together and just simply loving each other. Those are just a few things that remind me of my beautiful late-mother, Lydia Gomez. Most recently, an article I read also reminded me of her and what made her such a special mother and friend.
According to a new study by the University of California, Berkeley, Mexican-born mothers come out on-top when it comes to parenting skills. The reasons – relying on “cultural strengths.” So what does that mean? Well, the study complimented Mexican mothers’ “ability to provide warmth and support to their children.” It also pointed out “Mexican mothers do well by their children in spite of limited means.”
As soon as I began reading this study, I immediately thought of my Mom. Warmth and support were two things she always provided to all six of her children. “In spite of limited means,” yeah, she did that, too. How? Because unconditional love doesn’t cost a thing.
Mom’s warmth came from a million things. Her loving hugs that made me instantly feel safe surrounded by the smell of the Imari perfume she loved so much. Her loving eyes that told me everything was going to be okay without saying a word. Her beautiful smile that, not only lit up her face, but instantly made me smile, too. Her loving hands that rubbed my head as it lay in her lap when watching T.V., talking or sometimes crying. Her voice when she answered the phone saying “Hola, mi vida” (Hello, my life). That simple greeting can either make you smile or cry instantly. No matter what, a loving Mom’s voice is heard directly by the heart. I especially got a kick out of hearing her tell my Dad that “La Bebe” (the baby) is on the phone, as he grumpily replied “She’s 29 years old!” Yes, up until the 29th year of my life when I lost my Mom, I was always “La Bebe.”
Mom’s support was just as pure. Her comforting words that explained why life may be tough but God, love and family will always get us through. Her and my Abuela, her mother, driving me to Dallas for my first job interview because “mija can’t drive over there by herself!” Her digging into savings and helping Wela make tamales to pay for college tuition and books. Her cards and letters filled with loving words of “this is a little something to help you through” and much-needed money. Her care packages with new clothes and makeup, home decorations and always a “Living Faith” book filled with daily scriptures and encouraging words. Inside the book was always a hand-written personal message of love for “la bebe.”
After Mom passed from cancer in April 2008, I found one of those care packages in my closet that I somehow had not yet opened. It was a light red, old-fashioned wooden make-up box with flowers painted all around. I opened the box to find a guardian angel pin, a Living Faith book, some Avon lipstick, a daily calendar titled “Every Day Thoughts for Daughters,” and a beautiful letter that read:
“To my baby who I am so proud of. I’m blessed to have seen you grow from a little cocoon into a beautiful butterfly. I love seeing the young woman you have become. Love, Mom.”
So, did my Mexican mother have the “ability to provide warmth and support to (her) children?” Well, my mom had the ability to make all six of her children feel like they were the world with two simple words – Mi Vida. So, I’d say yes. I love and miss you always, Momma. Love, La Bebe.
Read the entire University of California, Burkely study: http://blog.mysanantonio.com/latinlife/2012/09/mexican-moms-come-out-on-top-in-parenting-study/
Rosa Gomez is a journalist and public relations specialist in San Antonio, Texas. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.