Mother's story

Describe the world you come from — for example, your family, community or school — and tell us how your world has shaped your dreams and aspirations.

People often tell me how much I look like my grandmother. They say we share the same eyes, the same nose, and the same eager smile. What they don’t realize, however, is that the five-foot, white-haired, 61-year-old woman beside me is not my grandmother, but my mother. My mother’s frail exterior belies a rambunctious dreamer with an enduring passion for life. My mother is the type of woman who can unseal a tightly-closed jar, carry a sixty-pound rice sack on her shoulders, and sprint up several flights of stairs. Her jokes are sometimes fractured by the uncontrollable laughter that engulfs her words. My mother is a woman with a capacity to love everyone, one who has shaped my life by giving me the example of her own.

Perhaps my mother’s seeming frailty stems from the many reasons she might have to be disappointed with the circumstances of her life. Many years ago, she had to give up her dream of becoming a nurse to take care of her dying father. She worked tirelessly for twenty years at a jewelry store in order to make sure that her children would have opportunities that she never had, and instead of studying new medicines and treatments, she spent her time stringing pearls and fixing watches. I have watched several times as my...

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