El Amor De Una Madre (A Mother's Love)

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Memoir  |  House: Booksie Classic
Thoughts and words of an adopted child to his biological mother.

Submitted: April 20, 2012

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Submitted: April 20, 2012

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El Amor De Una Madre

(A Mother’s Love)

By James Pacheco

 

In the small West Texas town of Plainview there is a barrio. In recent years there has been an increase of vacant and dilapidated homes, and the streets of the barrio have almost become vacant of children playing and running around. But back in the day the barrio was alive with people moving in and coming and going to work. The young hoodlum vatos ruled the streets of the barrio back in the day. Ah, but that’s another story for yet another time.

 

In the mid-1950s in the barrio there was a long barracks-style structure that was home to many seasonal migrant workers and their families. This structure was further de-compartmentalized into several smaller-sized apartments or living quarters. A young mother – a very young teenage girl actually, lived in one of those apartments with her children, a two-year old son, Andres, and Jorge, and infant baby son. Esperanza Gomez, the young teenage mother, had to go to work in the fields from sunrise to sunset to earn money and be able to support her children Andres and Jorge. This young teenage mother already had two previous children – a daughter named Veronica, and a son named Pepe. Both of them had been living with Dona Tomasa Nunez, Esperanza’s mother. From her earned wages working the fields she also had to make monetary contributions to her mother to assist with food and clothing items for Veronica and Pepe.

 

Across the street from this barracks-style structure lived a family that consisted of only a husband and his wife – Jesus and Consuelo Jimenez. They had gotten married late in life and the wife was well over the child-bearing age. Consuelo, the traditional old-school Hispanic woman was a homemaker staying home to tend to the various house chores and looking after her husband. Jesus, a WWII U.S. Army veteran looked after the financial aspects of taking care of his household. Jesus and Consuelo had met in Brownwood, Texas in 1945 when Jesus was stationed at Camp Bowie after the war. Consuelo had been a domestic maid cleaning people’s homes in Brownwood. After Jesus’ discharge from the Army both he and Consuelo decided to get married and move to West Texas. Several years had passed while they were living in Plainview. By 1957 Consuelo has befriended young Esperanza Gomez and arrangements had been made that Consuelo would babysit and care for baby Jorge when Esperanza had to go work in the fields. Arrangements had also been made with Dona Tomasa Nunez and her sister, Dona Merced Castillo for Merced to take in Andres and raise him as her own son. Young Esperanza, knowing that financially she was unable to properly care for her children carefully weighed her options, and realized that she was out of options. Consuelo had often asked Esperanza to give baby Jorge to her. Esperanza had seen the love and care that Consuelo could provide for him….in 1957, Esperanza, with a heavy-stricken and saddened heart, told Consuelo that she could have Jorge and raise him as her own child.

 

Dona Consuelo never forgot that act of kindness on Esperanza’s behalf. She realized that it must have been a very painful and sorrowful decision to come to, to give away her children. She never denied Jorge the fact that he had been adopted and that just down the street  lived Dona Tomasa, his grandmother. She never denied the fact that Jorge had other brothers and a sister. But Dona Consuelo also recognized it as a mother’s strong love for her children that since Esperanza was not able to take care of them the way they ought to be taken care of that they be given to homes where they would be properly cared for. One can only imagine what kind of upbringing Veronica, Pepe, Andres, and Jorge might have had if they had remained with their own mother. And one can also imagine whether any of those young children would have survived.

Baby Jorge had always been a sickly child during infancy. So skinny….nothing but a bag of bones as the saying goes. In the mid-1960s Dona Consuelo took a bus trip to Ballenger, Texas where her family lived. She went to show off the little bundle of joy that she had been blessed with. Her family members felt so proud of her that she, in her old age, was given the opportunity to be a mother. But at seeing the sickly baby Jorge her family members also warned her not to get too attached to him because they were afraid that Jorge would not survive his afflictions and die. Dona Consuelo wouldn’t hear of it. She repeated that her nino (son) was going to pull through and survive. With the tender loving care, faith, prayers, and with juevo de arroz (rice juice) little Jorge pulled through and survived. He became a healthy young boy, running around the streets of the barrio. 

 

That was many years ago. A life time ago. Jorge is now a much older man – so much older that he is considered to be a senior citizen. The years have started to whittle away at his memories and he fears that someday he will awaken from a deep slumber only to realize that the cherished memories once held in his mind are all gone. The black hair has given way to becoming gray. The eyebrows and moustache have also turned gray. Wrinkles and puffiness under the eyes have become a permanent fixture as well. Jorge still remembers his biological and adoptive mothers, and in his sometimes foggy brain he has rehearsed over and over what he would have said to both of his mothers had they lived longer. Jorge had not been that lucky, nor had he been given the opportunity to speak his mind to both of his mothers. If he had, it would have been – “Esperanza, I am so sorry that your young life started out so rough. I think I understand how overwhelming it must have been for you, a very young girl having so many children so soon. It must have been scary for you…and I am certain that you worried how you were going to manage to take care of all of us with the meager wages you earned. It must have caused you much anguish and tears and tore at your heart knowing that you could not afford to take care of us. At the time, you did what was in our best interest. Thank you for loving us as you did – it hurt you to give us away but you did it out of a mother’s love for her children.”

 

To Consuelo, Jorge would have said, “Mama, que falta me as hecho en mi vida. I have missed you so much in my life. You cared for me so lovingly when I was a baby. I would have loved to be there for you too as you got older. I would have given up everything to take care of you. Thank you for not giving up on me when others thought that I might die. I love you mom. Te quiero mucho mama”.

 

So much of Jorge’s life had been spent on rehearsing those words to both of his mothers. Those words that revealed the inside of his soul, words that would never be spoken to anyone, words that remained only in his head.

 


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