Fandino: Proud to be a “mom’s girl”

"I am now 20 years old and with Mother’s Day just around the corner, I can’t help but think about just how much these two spectacular women have shaped me throughout all of the phases of my life." - Photo via Sophia Fandino

I didn’t really grow up with a present father in my life, so in retrospect, the only parent I actually had was my mom. 

My mom is quite literally Superwoman in my eyes and has been since I was a kid. Being a single mother meant that she worked twice as hard to be able to support me and my two older brothers growing up. She worked long hours and commuted daily for 4 hours (to and from) her job. Yet, she always managed to wake up earlier and get ready for her day before me. I look back now knowing that she did this, sacrificed some of her own sleep so that I could rest a little longer.

Whilst being the youngest of three, I never noticed this, but she never let me see how tired she was. No matter how long her day was, she took care of me at the end of it every single time without failure. Which allowed me to endure less worry throughout the transitions in our lives, and develop as any other “normal” kid would. She set aside her own time for us regardless of her energy levels, which is something that only a true Superwoman mom can do.

However, a woman who was and still is also such a vibrant force in my and my brothers’ lives is our grandmother (better known as abuela). I am proud to say that this woman has been my best friend since the day I was born. 

I remember being so scared to sleep by myself as a kid, I also knew that my mom highly encouraged me to get over this fear. Yet there I was, quietly sneaking up to my abuela’s room to sleep with her. Always being greeted by a warm smile and a small scoot to make room for me. 

My grandmother was like our second parent. She picked me up every day after school for the majority of my childhood. She made sure that I was not only always getting my homework done, but that I was also having an enjoyable childhood. Additionally, she helped us hone in on our passions and lived vicariously with us in our imagination. This allowed me and my brothers to dream big and to pursue what makes our hearts sing. She helped raise us to prioritize independence, confidence, and security within our own skin. 

She is also the reason we are all wildly addicted to Panera’s broccoli cheddar soup, a meal only that is fitting to share with her. 

I am now 20 years old, and with Mother’s Day just around the corner, I can’t help but think about just how much these two spectacular women have shaped me throughout all of the phases of my life. Yet I am 20 years old, and they are still always there for me to fall back on. I feel extremely lucky to have women in my life who will care for me with their entire hearts, no matter how much I grow up.

Most of all, I am comforted by the fact that no matter what happens, I have them to come home to. My mother, with tacos and hugs at the ready, and my abuela with a joke guaranteed to make my belly hurt.

My father’s empty presence in my life was, luckily for me, never fully felt due to the abundance of love both my mother and grandmother provided me. This upcoming Mother’s Day, I grew even more grateful for them. They are my inspiration in so many more ways than I could ever muster onto a page, and it’s extremely difficult to wrap my head around what my life would look like without them as my pillars. I don’t think I would be half of the person that I am today if it weren’t for their graceful guidance. 

So with this holiday around the corner, I urge you to feel all of the love and give it back to your mother figure. And if you don’t have a mother to commemorate this Mother’s Day, celebrate those loved ones who have shaped you. Whether it be your siblings, other family, friends, or even the world around you. However, also allow yourself to feel your emotions, and speak freely about your experiences. 

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