I was around 7 when my mom left. As a young girl, growing up without a mother around is very difficult; you lack the knowledge of feminine ideals that you need when becoming a teenager. For example, some girls play with their moms’ makeup, or try on their shoes and dresses. I on the other hand, only had a father in my house who had to juggle being the “manly” father of the household and somehow act as a mother at the same time. Over time he struggled to provide my sister and I with the nurturing characteristics of a mother. Still, I visited her on the weekends sometimes, hours away from home, but it just was not the same as having her to look out for me on a daily basis. Though the few years I can remember my mom living with my family were not the happiest, there were the joyful moments of course. On January 6th, we celebrated Día de los Reyes Magos, or Three Kings Day. Each year we put up the Nativity set with the three kings bringing gifts to baby Jesus. In America, kids leave out milk and cookies for Santa. Similarly to Christmas, in Puerto Rico kids leave sweets for the kings and hay for the camels the kings travel on. For example, the children put their shoes outside the door for presents to be left in by the “kings;” the years my mother was with us, my sister and I did the same thing. My mother and father are both half spanish so the Nativity set is important to me because it reminds me of my mother and brings me back to my Puerto Rican heritage.
– Raquel M