While my grandmother, a 70 year old beautician, was over last week to give me a quick make over before going back to school, it dawned on me that I’ve never seen her take a day off of work in my life. My hair, although well-kept because of her, isn’t the point of this story. I’d like to share with you how my grandmother came to this country, many years ago, and what she had to do to better the lives of her children and her grandchildren.
My grandmother was born in Mexico, as was many generations before her. No one in our family had ever come to the United States before her because they simply just couldn’t afford it. My grandmother would work 15-20 hour days as a maid, often never having the opportunity to spend time with her children. My mom always told me she had vague memories of her mother teaching her how to cook and sew, but she rarely ever got to see her. My great grandmother raised my mom as well as being a mother of 7 children of her own. When my mom was just a few years old, my grandmother left Mexico in pursuit of a better life in the United States, but she had to leave her entire life behind. She had to leave her kids. My grandmother couldn’t afford to bring three people across the border, but she couldn’t stand raising her children in poverty any longer. She was gone for 8 years. What that meant was that my mother didn’t have a mother, she didn’t have a mentor, she didn’t have someone there for her when she came home from school, and she didn’t have anyone there to read her bedtime stories at night. My mother didn’t have a mother. For 8 years, my grandmother struggled working multiple jobs just to save enough money to bring my mother and uncle to the states with her. She cleaned toilets and scrubbed floors with toothbrushes and saved every penny she had. The only thing driving her forward was something she kept with her at all times: a picture of her family. My grandmother went on to pursue an education in cosmetology, hoping that cutting hair for a living would be enough to bring her children home. It was. After 8 years, my mother and uncle were finally reunited with my grandmother again, but they still lived in poverty. My grandmother continued to work 5 jobs to support her little family so that they could have a better life and so that I could have a better life. Even today, in her 70’s, my grandmother still continues to work day in and day out to provide me what most people take for granted, the simple luxury of a new shirt or pair of shoes.
From scrubbing floors for 20 hours a day just to see her children again, to taking her grandchildren out to lunch every Thursday during the summer, my grandmother has worked tirelessly to make a better living for her children and her children’s children. So, when you say that ALL Hispanics should be sent back to where they came from, remember that some have immigrated legally to this country that worked more than most have ever worked in the entirety of his or her life just to be relatively normal. There are people who slave away at jobs and yet still get chastised with derogatory comments on the streets and there are people who are cleaning up others’ messes so that they can see their children again.