A Mother’s Day tribute to an immigrant mom

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EL PASO —When someone is asked, “ What do you think about your mother? ” the immediate answer is “my mother is the best.”

But could one really describe a mother with all her attributes and her flaws?

Personally I describe my mother as brave, with a bold attitude someone who has worked non-stop for her family and her community.

Veronica Macias, 46, a single mother has sustained her children alone, and without an education for 26 years.

Born and raised in Ciudad Juarez, and the youngest of 11 children she immigrated to El Paso in July, 1973.

Veronica Macias with her children. (Courtesy of Macias family)

Veronica Macias with her children. (Courtesy of Macias family)

Coming from a large low-income family, her childhood memories include rag dolls, low cost meals and the unconditional love of her family. Although she lacked privacy and other comforts girls her age often had, she says she lived a peaceful life in her crowded home.

Three rooms including her mother’s were not enough to fit the 13 members of the household. “ There was no room in my house. I slept in my mother’s bed until the day I got married,” she said.

The difficult circumstances of a big family, a small home with numerous necessities forced her to put aside her education and start working at the early age of 15. “My first job was at West El Paso plumbing.  In order to work I had to drop out of high school,” said Macias.

The teenage girl had strong religious beliefs. Along with the rest of her family she congregated at Iglesia Cristiana Pentecostés. It was there that she met her future husband. Shortly after she married, her father passed away of diabetes.

At 19, Joshua, her first child was born. Four years later in 1989 she gave birth to me. After the birth of her children, tragic occurrences followed. Divorce was one, but it helped to keep her moving forward.

Depending solely on herself, she maintained a healthy home and was an active member of her community. Along with others she fulfilled their goal to raise $600 weekly for underprivileged people. “Vero was in charge of collecting the groceries to make food for the homeless,” says her brother, Maurilio Macias.

She was also a counselor for prison inmates and their families. Saturdays were devoted to the visitation and prayer for patients with terminal cases along with frequent visits to elderly homes. “Visiting prison inmates in La Tuna FCI of New Mexico and at the Centro de Readaptación Social, also known as El Cereso, in Juarez was a weekend routine,” she said.

Aside from this she was the leader of the women’s ministries and event coordinator at her local church. “ The woman’s ministry is very special. As women we are more sensitive and require attention and counseling for inner healing, as well as touching on subjects like how to control emotions. I like to give other women advice based on my own experiences,” she said.

Life has not been easy for this woman, however her perseverance and contribution have made life for those around her better.  She says she couldn’t be happier that both of her children have the education she lacked.

“My biggest accomplishment as a mother is knowing my kids are happy. That they have grown to be intelligent, and responsible adults who pursued their education and live a stable life,” she said.

There are countless women who have struggled to give their children the life they could not have. Still, of all the great women who devote their lives to the happiness of others, to me my mother is exceptional, my brother Joshua agrees.

A million positive adjectives could not describe the way I feel about my mother. Every son and daughter may have a genuine story to share about his or her mother. Esther Sanchez Guevara, 22, also admires her mother.

Josefina Reza Sanchez,42, grew up in an apartment in  Segundo barrio while her parents worked in Ciudad Juarez. An ear infection caused her to loose her hearing, and later she found out she suffered from asthma.

“She is s strong woman who doesn’t acknowledge her incapacity as a sign of weakness but as a reason of motivation,” says Guevara. Till today she works a full time job and sustains her children.

Honoring hard-working women who gave life and give love should not be something that is done every second week of May, but on a regular basis. Everyone who believes their mother is the best is truly blessed.

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