I know very little about my mother’s life in the United States, before my sister and I joined her. I know she had various jobs mostly working in restaurants, as a waitress, cashier, and cook. At some point she ran a burrito business fully on her own; she cooked, waited, and worked the register. She sent her earnings to Mexico for my older sister and I. Since my youngest sister was a baby, at the time my mother migrated, she had come to the United States with her. My older sister and I came later, first one than the other, because my mother couldn’t afford to bring us both at the same time. My mother raised the money needed for each of us to come to the United States. I was supposed to come first, but I always loved my older sister, and I let her join my mother first. I stayed in Mexico for another year until my mom was able send money so that I could join my family in the U.S.
The week my mother left, she had taken us to the fair every single day. At the end of that week, she pulled my older sister and I aside and told us that she had to go to the United States to work. I kind of shut down. I remember being shocked by the news. Even though I was very young, my mother always treated us like mature individuals. She was very direct and honest with us. She didn’t sugar coat anything and told us that she was leaving because of economic reasons. She couldn’t find a job and we weren’t doing well financially. She wanted more for us. My mother was not sure when she would return. My memories of that night are vague, but according to my mother, I was devastated and broke down. I cried. I became violent, and did not want to talk to anyone.
At the age of eleven, I finally came to the United States. I won’t go into too much detail about my travels, but I can say that we waited for me to finish the 5th grade so I could enter the 6th grade in the United States. Education was always important to my family, so my mother coordinated migrations to coincide with the school year and not impede our educational goals. Since I was very young when I left our hometown, my grandma did most of my packing. With a heavy heart, I said good-bye to my friends from elementary school and my family. I don’t remember that last day there, but I said good-bye to a lot of people. I was more happy than sad. Leaving wasn’t the hard part because I was going to see my mother for the first time in four years! That was all I cared about—seeing my mother at last. I was very excited!