An open letter to my ‘abuela’

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Communications freshman Amanda JimenezGuest Viewpoint by AMANDA JIMENEZ

How I miss you. You passed away when I was about 2 years of age. From time to time, I have this recurring dream.

I am a toddler taking a nap during the midsummer’s day. I feel the fan breeze and I can hear you cooking in the kitchen. I can hear my cousins playing outside.

In this dream, I feel very happy and safe, knowing that you are here. Even though I was very young when you passed, I still remember your warm voice and presence.

When I see your face, I see the face of my lovely mother and her sisters. Like them, you had a warm smile and motherly love. You would be so proud of your daughter.

I am very blessed and thankful to call her my mother. Her guidance has taught me how to become and grow into the happy young woman that I am. I wish you could have been here to see me graduate from high school and been there when I first fell in love.

I am now 25 years of age and am experiencing what it feels like to be an independent, single, Mexican-American young woman. I sometimes look back and think about how life was for you in your early to late 20s.

You could not exhibit the independence and freedom young women have today. You really are from a different era; there is so much opportunity to express and live our lives the way that we want to. I tell you this because I wish you could have lived in my shoes.

I have known you all my life, through family photos, memories and stories. I know that you were a very strong woman, an amazing wife and a great mother.

I know you were an inspiration to me. I know that you were a very young wife and a very young mother, which was very traditional in those days. I put myself in your shoes and can’t even imagine doing that. It takes a really strong woman to raise 12 kids and take care of her husband.

I sometimes wish you could have had more life experiences as a woman.

I have been on my own since I was 20 years old. I have had the experiences to go away from college and live away from home. I have fallen in love more than once. I have had the opportunity to travel. It saddens me that you did not have that.

Though I am not married yet, I have an incredible man in my life. He has a beautiful soul and an incredible heart.

It is so freeing to live in a world where you have the choice to choose who to love rather than be made to love someone because of what is expected of you.

You were born in a different country: This innocent country set you down in a ghetto which, in fact, extolled the rule that you only follow tradition and have no voice. You were born and faced the future you faced because you were a woman. There was no money for college and none for travel.

You learned at a very early age what real labor was. I am very thankful for the hard work you and my grandfather did to bring our family out of Mexico and into the United States. You worked very hard taking care of the family, but did you ever have a chance to worry about yourself? What I would give for you to live in my shoes.

I am focused on achieving an amazing career and doing what is suitable for me. I know one day I will marry and raise a family of my own. Until then, I am just finding my way through this world, living vicariously through you, counting my blessings and living the best my life has to offer.

Until we meet again, my dear grandmother. I hope you are looking down from heaven with a happy heart and a proud smile. How I miss and love you so.

Amanda Jimenez is a public relations freshman.


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