My mom is both my best friend and my biggest source of motivation. Who I am today is a direct result of who she was in my life growing up.
I still remember celebrating with her after earning an award during every Halloween Costume festival for “Best Costume” as she made sure I could always participate and stand out. She loved seeing me be the center of attention, and at an early age, she taught me to own who I was and be comfortable in my own skin.
I still remember her face filled with pride and excitement as I participated in the mental math rounds of our District-wide Math-o-thon for five consecutive years. She was the loudest in the crowd, cheering me on even when I didn’t earn one of the top places. My mother taught me that success was about the journey and not simply the results.
I still remember her attending every parent conference and every ‘Back to School’ night, anxious to hear what the teachers would say about me. My mother loved hearing their compliments about what a “great student” I was. She didn’t enjoy the “she talks too much in class” comments as much, but she never took it to heart. She simply asked me to keep up the good work.
I even remember my crazy teen years of being obsessed with RBD, a Mexican pop band, and the crazy adventures we would go on for them. She went as far as driving me hours away so I could attend a fan club meeting, only to buy an official fan club t-shirt and have access to priority seating at their concert. She also drove me and my friends to multiple album signings and random shows. She never complained. She just allowed me to be me and shared my excitement as her own.
Even as an adult, my mom remains my biggest supporter and advocate. When I decided to run for the School Board, I was afraid she would be overwhelmed with the work and energy that campaigning would require from all of us. Fortunately, that was not the case. She walked and canvassed the entire community for me every weekend for three months straight and pushed me to believe in myself on the days I wanted to give up.
Not too long ago, I shared with her that I was afraid I wasn’t being challenged at work. I told her I loved my job, but I didn’t want to feel like I was being complacent. I think I shared that with her because I wanted her to talk me out of quitting but instead, she reminded me that I had options. When I shared my decision that I would be leaving my job, I expected her to question me, but instead she told me I was brave for taking risks and reminded me that I had an array of opportunities available and to not be afraid to follow my heart.
The truth is having my mom as my mom is exactly why I am who I am. I am confident because she believed in me and never allowed me to question my talent. I care for others because she taught me that there is no greater act of love than to be selfless and love another. I am a student advocate because she showed me, through her own actions, the power of being a student’s greatest champion. I push and encourage others to always strive to be the best version of themselves because she taught me that sometimes all that people need is tough love to realize their own potential. I am fearless and resilient because she allowed me to take risks and fail, on my terms, because she knew every fall would only make me stronger.
People often tell me I am a lot like my mom, and the truth is that is one of the greatest compliments anyone could give me.
So to all the moms out there who need a reminder that everything you do matters, here is mine: you are shaping your children with every action you take. Engagement is everything. Thank you for being the amazing, complex, and heroic women that you all are.
And to my mom, thank you for pushing me even when I can make it hard.
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