Exhibit 7 – A Hero Beyond Words

I looked through the window at our favorite coffee shop overlooking the choppy silver water and I stared in awe at the woman before me. Her back was turned to me and she sipped a craft beer sitting at the outside patio while reading her book. I pretended to toil over my project yet, I was struck in astonishment and surprise at her. I gazed lovingly, longingly and in amazement at this woman who is flesh of my flesh and blood of my blood. In fact, I AM her and was a part of her for the nine months that I grew inside her womb. You don’t get much closer and intimate than that. THAT ISthe essential and the essence of life giving and life getting at it’s finest.

To encapsulate all my intense emotions, love and connection towards this incredibly strong woman who gave me life is a nearly impossible task.

The greeting card that makes a cheeky joke about a tired mother who wishes her kid would just go away for a bit giving her some respite elicits a truthful chuckle but doesn’t tip the iceberg of what I’d really hope to convey to her. Or the sappy card that does a beautiful attempt in telling a mother all the thanks that should go to her in a generalized and short space. However, those still yet don’t describe all of the personalized details that are my mom.

A flash of mortality blinked before my eyes and the thought of it makes me weepy and fearful and yet so damn thankful all at the same time. I know I will not always have this most beautiful goddess before me and the pain that that thought conjures in the deepest part of my soul also knots up the back of my throat with such intensity it nearly causes a

panic in my chest.

This woman who gave me life has walked with me every step of my own life meanwhile walking her own. To see a piece of herself in a child, then as an adult making choices, failing and succeeding and learning in life must be the scariest and proudest moments of her life. This connection is so complex, yet so primal and natural, weighty and simple and unexplainable all at the same time. I flounder to find the right words to give a glimpse of this hero of mine and I try in vain anyway!

There are too many memories to flesh out in a simple entry about this wonder woman before me. The best I can do is to remark on how freaking fortunate I have been to have her as my mom.

She imparted in me a fierce sense of self and independence and I know that no matter what I face in life, I am worthy and will be ok. She fought to learn those lessons too as a young woman who struggled with her own demons of self worth from a tumultuous yet loving childhood. Her father abused alcohol and that created rocky times at home and periods of risky experimentation leading to a strong pull to find stability outside of turbulent times at home. Her own mother worked her ass off to provide for a family and bring up seven children often alone. The dysfunction of that life had lasting effects but my mom persevered to go to college, find a loving husband and eventually find herself along the way.She has had her own spiritual journey of making mistakes and coming to grips with being her own person, being a partner in a marriage and a professional as a social worker. I can imagine that becoming a mother may have had its share of unexpected detours but rounded out her journey in ways that she didn’t expect. I can’t answer exactly her experience but I would venture to say that she has grown in ways she never knew she could ( as I have in simply by being her daughter.) There is not a memory in my mind where she hasn’t been there to comfort me in my doubts about myself or trying circumstance in life. I may not always have valued and trusted her wisdom in adolescent youth as I fought to find my own way.

Yet, I count myself damn lucky to have grown out of girlhood quickly (I hope) to fully appreciate her advice. Whether it be an occasion in which she’d talk me into staying home and going to bed instead of running myself ragged in going to yet another social event. Or not taking a job that deep down she knows wouldn’t suit my temperament or talents. Or trusting my intuition on whether to pass on a person who did not have my best interests at heart. Whether in pursuit of my own life partner or navigating those who rattled me, she is there as my constant calm. There is just something about a mom who has known me since before I knew me. She generally just knows where I best fit and when I can’t see it, she helps me to see me as sheseesme and I’ll soon catch on.

From college days to finding myself, through a wedding and my careers…she is one HELL of a mom and I am enormously blessed to have her on my team cheering me on.

I would count myself as a success if I can be an ounce of the mother she is someday if I’m graced with my own kids. It is often lamented that we as people can’t find the right words to say what we are thinking or feeling about those that we love the most. I hope I could string together a few good ones in this garland of words to convey my love and gratitude to my MOM!!! I would love to give her gorgeous gifts from the treasures of the world to adequately express my gratitude, but this is my best offering from what I’ve got. Good thing words are free!!

I love you Teresita, mi mama!!

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