I remember a time in my childhood that was very difficult. Dad was a dental mechanic and one of the materials he used to make dental prostheses was acrylic, and this material gradually ate away at his vision, causing cataracts in his eyes, so he could no longer continue working as a dentist.
With the money he had saved, he had to undergo surgery in Bogota, because the Barraquer clinic was (or still is) one of the best ophthalmology clinics.
My mom had to take the reins of the house. We were 4 siblings, mom and dad. It was not easy for her to support the 6 of us, pay the house utilities, pick us up from school and take care of the normal household chores.
He had to change us to a public school because he could no longer afford the private school and from having abundant food on the table, we went to eating rice, arepas without filling and grains because what he earned was not enough for more, in addition to his father's medical treatment, which was expensive.
Sometimes mom did not eat because she said she was not hungry, but now I understand that she did it because many times the food was not enough for everyone. The few times she was able to buy chicken, she would divide it by 5 and for herself she would only leave a little bit of rice and a wing. Always with a smile, always.
When I was 12 years old, I began to work selling Avon, and my other 3 siblings looked for a way to earn money, against my mother, who wanted us to dedicate ourselves to our studies, which she could not do as a child, because she had to work because they were very poor at home.
When we collected our first profit, my brothers and I bought 4 rotisserie chickens, with yucca, french fries and salads. It was a lot for six people, but all we wanted was for her to eat well.
Mom told us with tears in her eyes that she was very grateful, that we were her treasure and that what was happening in our economy was making us realize how little money we had.
Today chicken is one of my favorite foods, but it's a bit expensive and I can't always buy it. But I think it is one of my favorite foods, because it brings back memories of that stage of my childhood, of my first monetary gain, of that table full of delicious food after a long time and of mom's beautiful smile.
It was a very difficult stage of our lives, but in spite of that, it fills me with beautiful memories because it speaks of love, union, hope and solidarity and those memories make me cry, because it is remembering mom bringing us a little piece of heaven to the table, a little happiness with what was barely enough in rice, arepas and love. Some time later everything began to flow positively.
I ask myself: How did she make ends meet and how did she keep smiling in spite of everything?
Whenever she could, she would buy us chicken and she would keep only one wing, so that the rest of us could eat well.
Because that's how mom was, a little bit of wing, a little bit of rice, a little bit of love, a little bit of everything.
My reflection with these remembrances is to make us realize how much gestures and affection matter, and that love is in a simple plate of rice, in a shared chicken wing, in a hug. That we can make someone happy with a gesture, with a smile, with a song and that above all, there is family.
Thank you for allowing me to share with you this stage of my life.
Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)