Before I begin, I need to explain who my mother is as a person. I need to write about Her. I use ‘Her’ with a capital ‘H’ because if God should be written with a capital letter, my mother deserves Her name to be spelt ‘ESTHER’. The concept of having it written with a capital ‘G’ is meant to symbolise respect and admiration. And no one has earned that more than my mother has. My mother and Frida Kahlo are the two women who embody life and act as the epitome of womanhood.
Esther is an individual before any other title; even if She prioritises the role of a mother above all else. She is the purest form of kindness. You see, when most children state their mother’s favourite flowers, they state names such as; roses, tulips or daises. I stay silent when this conversation sparks as my mother is the entire garden that holds their mother’s favourite flowers. Esther is the outskirts of Amsterdam and the landmark tourists and locals find too beautiful to argue over. I simply could not narrow her down further. So I don’t even try. I was young when I began to admire Her for who She was rather than what She was to me.
Esther likes humble environments and is the only person who could turn Fashion Week in Milan a charity event. She can walk around in a Louis Vuitton handbag and you will know, from the way she smiles at everyone around Her, that She deserves it.
She doesn’t like the feel of makeup, which is great for a five-year-old who can’t stop kissing her cheek. She does, however, love wearing red lipstick. When She wears mascara, it smudges on Her lid because She can’t keep her eyes closed or still for too long- She can’t stay still in general for too long. She knows that She’s needed 24 hours on the clock. She holds your hand and it feels like a life jacket being tied around your body in the shallowest pool. And it sometimes hurts because of the simple rings that decorate Her fingers. Her hands are always cold. And She will apologise when you react to them as She reaches to get the thermometer away from your underarm. But I guarantee, you will not care about any of that while She holds yours. That is why I cannot get a blood test or tolerate a plane take-off if I am not holding Her hand.
She is simple. She loves simple things. But when She wears them, they are no longer that: simple. She regrets not having studied. But I don’t think She realises that university is for those who need a direction within their intelligence. And Esther already has it. If my mother would have studied, She probably would have cured cancer. Instead, She cured my loneliness and my homesickness every single day. It might not be as grand as curing cancer. But it cured me. Which probably gave Her enough hope to keep being as nurturing as She has always been. How do I know this? Just hug Her. Whoever invented the saying ‘it takes a village to raise a child’ didn’t know my mother. It would take my mother to raise a village.
I feel guilty that only a sum of people has met Her. Sometimes I want to make a post about Her go viral, or have someone discover Her and name Her Mother Theresa the second. It simply isn’t fair that I have Her as my mother.
Esther is strong. So fucking strong. For reasons no one in her circle understands. I live to understand how the most nurturing person in the world could lose a child. It’s a question I hope has been answered for Her. My mother is lonely. Not out of choice, of course. She is the liveliest bird forced to be kept in a cage, being told every year that She should appreciate what the cage is filled with. My mother has left Her country and everything within it and it hasn’t paid off yet. Eleven years later- it hasn’t paid off. My mother needs more. My mother deserves more. My mother deserves a plaque in her town and the carnicero to wait for Her every Tuesday morning. She deserves to feel pretty before going to Mercadona due to the numerous smiles she will encounter. Esther needs to talk to strangers. I inherited that the moment I could speak. Esther needs to feel surrounded by kindness.
My mother is the epitome of a Spanish woman. She wears red, floral patterns and loves to dance. She dances like she is translating ‘viva la vida!’ to the deaf. And you will smile back, holding back your response: ’viva!’
She is a friend. And how unfair that people don’t know how to be Her friend. That has to be the greatest tragedy this goddamn world has ever witnessed. And I hope that with every coffee, I can be 5 percent of the friend She deserves. She listens. And acknowledges that I do not. I try to. But I always have so much to say to Her. Being around Her feels like the last five minutes of the hardest exam; I try to cram everything in. She assures me that She is not going anywhere. But my biggest fear is the time that is running out with Her. My mother used to apologise more than She does now. And I like that She doesn’t as much as She did.
My mother learned three languages for Her family. She learned the language She needed to get by in our new home. She learned the language that made Her happy when not being allowed to use Spanish outside of our four walls, and She is learning English for the endless school meetings She always attends to for Her children. On a plain day, you will find Her on Duolingo or speaking with Her English friend in our school coffee shop, practicing Her English. Esther thinks that She isn’t great at it yet, but She has the power to communicate in languages humans haven’t invented yet. Just with Her cheerful greetings and hand gestures, you could keep talking to Her for hours. I hope, I truly hope, that one day I will translate my writing for Her. But this time, to keep Spanish within us. Not out of need. I hope that one day She can read the work I’ve produced. Because She doesn’t know it, but I write so that She can read it.
Esther is the woman anyone that has met Her wants to become. She is the influence behind Her children, behind Her family, and behind the strangers She has talked to. She is what mothers should aspire to be, what teenagers look up to, and what children want to cling onto. My mother is what I hope God was.