The Pain of Leaving My Grandmother Behind for a Better Life

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My parents left Mexico to go to the United States when I was three years old, they left me in the care of my grandmother. At the age of five, I remember waking up every morning to help my grandma make tortillas although at that young age helping meant keeping her company and eating her delicious homemade tortillas with salt. I still remember the fresh smell of corn and the way she would roll it up with so much love. After she was done making the tortillas, I would deliver them on my red bicycle to her customers. They didn't really seem like a customer but more like close friends. The whole block knew who I was: Fatima, Irma’s granddaughter.

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While I was gone, my grandma would be waiting to take me to school in the afternoons. At the age of five, I did not really like school especially because I had moved to a private school, and left my friends behind. At that new school is where I learned how to read in Spanish. I remember hiding under my auntie’s bed while my grandma was looking for me because I didn't want to do my homework. Those days were fun, but then it all ended the moment I found out I was coming to the United States. It was not that I didn't want to see my parents, but it was the fact that I was leaving my life behind with lovely friends and family. It was extremely hard leaving my grandma behind. She was always there for me and took care of me as if I were her daughter. My grandma said to me, “Don't cry. Don’t be scared. America will give you a better life, a better education.” I remember seeing trees and clouds, thinking that I was still in Mexico, but it didn't smell the same, look the same, sound the same or felt the same. I remember seeing a sign that says, “Welcome to Laredo, Texas.” I asked my grandpa how far away we were from my parents and he said they were in Nashville Tennessee, which was going to be a long ride, so I just sat back and relax. I couldn't sit back and relax when I was in a whole new place. Thoughts were running through my mind. I asked myself, “What if the new people don't like my skin color? What if they don't like me because I speak another language?” Trying to figure out what will be my new goals, dreams, plans and most importantly how will my life change? It was a nightmare; I was too little to be stressing out over life.

Ten years passed of not tasting the warm, loving tortilla that my grandma used to make. Ten years of not seeing her or my family in Mexico. Then the happiest day came in 2016 when I found out we were going to Mexico to see my grandma, my uncles, aunties, and cousins. I was crying with emotion and happiness because I remember the love they showed me. I thought that I would never get to visit Mexico again. I remember getting there and seeing my grandma making her delicious tortillas. When she saw me she said, “I remember when you were at the height of my hips, and now you’re the same height as me.” I missed her so much. She pushed me to work hard in my education in Mexico. As a teenager, viewing the way my grandma and other people in Mexico lived made me realized that I should take advantage of the things that come to me because not everyone has the opportunities that are given to me. For example, the opportunity of living in America. My grandma spends all day working: making tortillas in the morning, cleaning the house up, checking up on her cornfield, buying groceries, and making tamales at night to sell early in the morning. Then waking up around 6 am, to repeat the same thing. She would kill herself working hard to make very little money. The moment I saw how hard my grandma worked I realized that the purpose of my parents bringing me to the United States was to give me better, education, a better secure home, and better living.

My grandma deserved way much more than working all day, she did so much for me and in return, I promised her that I will keep my grades up and making it to a 4-year university. We stayed in Mexico for the whole two months of summer and in those two months, I reflected on how I will push myself better even if I’m already doing great, I will keep pushing for more. I will do whatever it takes because my parents worked hard to get me to where I am now. Nothing and nobody will stop me from becoming an anesthesiologist and saving people's lives. One day I will bring my grandma to visit America and will be proudly to say that because of her and my parent's hard work I am a successful woman.

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