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Enrique's mother really does not want to leave her kids. The choice to go to the USA is an agonizing one but, like thousands of other mothers, she makes the sacrifice to give her kids a better life.
"'Dónde está mi mami?' Enrique cries, over and over. 'Where is my mom?'"
These haunting words, spoken by Enrique when his mother first leaves, touch at the center of the book's themes. No one tells five year old Enrique where his mother has gone, or when she is coming back. Lourdes and Enrique’s long distance relationship consists of telephone calls and short letters. This particular quote resonates throughout the text as Lourdes struggles to be separated from her children.