And I am certain that
Had anyone else birthed me,
I would have been settling.
And I, I am no Plymouth pilgrim
I desire the irrefutable best and nothing less.
But as an American minority I know that things sometimes
“Just don’t work out” or “simply weren’t meant to be” and yet,
There you are, worrying about me from a hundred miles away because you know that
Growing in your nest was the easy part, and now this infant bird must fly and needs you
More than he ever has.
You see, I did not mind those years of tribulations where fathers came and went like precious weekends,
Weekends that I would spend in the projects of lower Manhattan. Nor did the leaky roof,
Fickle hot water, and flickering electricity in our shack of a home in Brooklyn, irk me in the slightest.
I tolerated the daily leather lashes meant to teach me how to be a man, but in spite of it all
It was a woman who headed my utmost aspirations.
I accepted all this because it was the narrative of single mothers
Who have sons at 19. Who was I to question the system from the bottom of it?
But neither are you a Plymouth Pilgrim, and since roots have a hard time planting themselves
Through the cracks of crack-head riddled concrete slabs, you lifted me and thrust me to the top in desperation.
You exposed me to uncharted territories, and embraced my trembling hand the entire way because
There’s nothing scarier than “being different” and boy was I.
You support the abusive weight of three children with the grace of a bodybuilder,
Except with more smiles.
You showed me that
I did not have to change how I am, talk, dress, or speak to fit in with these white kids.
You instilled hope in me to pursue the fallacy of the American meritocracy,
And sacrificed more than I can imagine to assure that my only priority was studying.
When I would be doing homework on the wooden floor on West 5th Street because of the poor lighting, you got as little sleep as I did.
You abandoned your home state in order to indulge your innate drive to provide.
But I guess what I really learned is that
Poor, single-parent, Black, Hispanic, and First-generation are just words that
People conjure up to pity us.
However our emotional undulations have reached peaks of euphoria
More pure than I have seen any privileged person describe, and I pity that.
I believe an amazing family is all the privilege anyone ever needs.
I suppose what I am trying to articulate is that
I came into this world a stubborn child, wanting the best from day one.
And I just wanted to thank you and God for spoiling me.
Happy Mother’s Day, mom/ma/mother/Nicole Judith Gutierrez.