Un Honor de Nuestras Madres

Two distinct memories of two distinct mothers

By Patrisia Gonzales & Roberto Rodriguez
Published on LatinoLA: May 10, 2002

Un Honor de Nuestras Madres

The mother of a family: has children, loves them

Her heart is good, vigilant,

She has spirit, she watches

With her hands and heart ...

She educates her children ...

She cares for the smallest, she takes care of everyone ...

She never rests.

-- ancient instructions left to mothers of indigenous Mexico

Patrisia: I know God because I know the love of my mother. I came from your belly, your Milky Way wondrous womb. Abused wife, single parent, remarried woman as sensual as an Indian Raquel Welch and a Mexican Sophia Loren. Ama, we are one spirit in two. Your kiss, your hug. God is love.

Ama, together we hid in closets from Daddy, got shot at and chased with knives. Long ago, you cut a deal with the Virgin to let you live and you would leave him. We had no furniture, save a bed, a table and two chairs, but there was always something to eat, and your smile. You painted the future with that smile. My mama goes to night school. My mama can draw. My mama's a bookkeeper, went to two years of college in the '50s! -- a Mexican woman riding three buses on a hot Texas day. As a kid, she beat up silly boys. As a young woman, she waited 30 minutes for a Coke at a we-don't-serve-Mexicans soda fountain in Fort Worth, Texas. You sat and sat, and were 15 minutes late to work. Once you got it, you took one sip and left

Texas tall. Wouldn't scrub bathrooms for your boss, either. Ama, you raised me with an artist's hand, free and full of colors, your hands so feather-gentle with me when I stumbled toward womanhood.

When I grew up, I realized that what happened to you were my memories, too. So was eating pizza pies at the drive-in with Uncle Sammy, visiting Aunt Nene at the beauty parlor, beading my wedding dress.

Ama, you've prayed with me the Indian way, been part of my spirit's long journey. Sometimes I didn't know if it was your rosaries or some sacred hand guiding my life. And thanks to the nurse who spanked your little behind for 15 minutes when the doctor left you for dead. A breech baby. She spanked your little life back into you, and mine, too. God's hand, once again.

Roberto: Madrecita. Jamas le he hablado en la lengua del norte. I've never spoken a word to you in English. Aunque siempre lo has entendido, especialmente los insultos. You speak it and have always understood it, especially the insults. Tantas memorias dolorosas, pero mas que todo, que siempre has sido fuerte, especialmente en tiempos de crisis. Yes, painful memories, but what I remember most is that you've always been strong, especially in times of crisis.

Tengo memorias, que usted madrecita, arreglo todo lo necesario para cruzar la fronetera en esos tiempos tan feos. I have many memories of you, of arranging all that was necessary to cross the border during inhospitable times.

Me acuerdo que durante un incendio, uso su cuerpo para salvar nuestras vidas. I remember you using your body in a fire to save the rest of us. Y mas que todo, me acuerdo cuando estaba sangreinto, la fuerza que le vi en sus ojos, y despues en el juicio. Sienpre fuerte. And most of all, I remember the strength in your eyes when I was unjustifiably behind bars, bloody and fighting for my life. And you were stronger even in the courtroom. A pillar of strength.

Madre Mexicana, en la frontera, en el norte. Madre de la yerba buena. Madre poeta y cantante. Madre de mas de seis. Mexican mother, border mother, mother in the north. Mother, poet, singer, healer and mother of more than six. Mi memoria siempre ha sido de una madre fiel, una madre que aparte de ser buena esposa y buena madre, ha dado su vida, sus palabras y sus cantos para el servicio a nuestro Creador. My many memories are of a beautiful and healing mother who has sacrificed her life, words and songs at the service of our Creator.

Madre que reza a las cuatro direcciones. Madre que sana con palabras, y con rezos. Madre que reza y sana familia, amigos, religiosos y prisioneros. Y todo lo hace con amor. Mother who prays to the four directions. Mother who heals with words and prayers. Mother who prays and heals family, friends, priests and prisoners, the forgotten, the most wretched of the Earth. And all this you do with love.


About Patrisia Gonzales & Roberto Rodriguez:
Gonzales & Rodriguez can be reached at XColumn@aol.com. For speaking availability, publications and other info, visit us at: A

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