12/31: My mother, the human being.

Turns out parents are human beings as well. Who knew?

My mother in the Louis Armstrong Stadium. Behind her, the Arthur Ashe Stadium, in NY.

I can perfectly remember the moment when I realized my mother was a human being. There’s always one point in time when you realize that your parents aren’t the invincible and all-powerful beings that you think they are. For some it comes very early in their life and for others it never comes.

For me it happened kinda late. I was 21, we were in Las Vegas, and we were in one of those booths where you can buy tickets to go to the different shows in hotels. I had been to Las Vegas before, but it was the first time both of us were there together. My mother had been in LV several times before and she always came back home excited about the Cirque du Soleil show she had been to.

“One day we’ll go to Las Vegas and we’ll see that show together! You’ll love it.” she said.

My mother hasn’t had a full-time job since I was 10. She has been working on real state ever since. I started working when I was 12 and started my company when I was 17, so I was used to having my own money. Our income has always fluctuated, but I never felt we lacked something. Her clients were mostly American companies that opened manufacturing plants in Chihuahua, so selling a couple of houses and renting a couple of big houses for the CEO’s and Exec team gave her a good amount of money that helped us through the year. 2008 wasn’t a good year for the manufacturing industry, so financially speaking, 2009 wasn’t good for us either.

I was finally of legal age to gamble & drink (in the US) so we flew to Vegas for a 4 day trip. And there we were, standing in line to buy tickets to the amazing shows that my mother had talked to me about for the last 4–5 years. And then we realized that the tickets for the specific show she wanted us to see together were way above what she had budgeted for.

That’s the precise moment I understood she wasn’t the all-powerful being I thought she was. It was something in her eyes. The way she was looking at all the shows and the different ticket prices. I could see her doing math in her head, trying to figure out if there was a way she could make it work.

It was the first time I saw a level of vulnerability in her that I hadn’t been aware of before.

There she was, with her son, who she had been telling for years about one single show that they had to see. And now it seemed she was not going to be able to fulfill that promise.

Her eyes got a bit glassy.

I think back to that moment and I realize how silly it is. This is nothing out of this world, stuff like this happens all the time. But I know what it meant for her. It’s mind-boggling for me to know that there have been only 2 other moments I’ve seen her show this vulnerability and transparency. One of those was 4 years later, right before I left the room so she would undergo surgery to remove a tumor in her right breast. The other one was when my grandmother passed away.

Cancer and death. I get it. Tickets to Cirque du Soleil’s ‘O’? Not that much. But that’s the thing about human beings. Our minds work in the weirdest way.

“Mom, would you mind if we see this one instead of the one you said before?” I told her, pointing to another show that was closer to our budget. “It’s the newest one, and that way we can both see a new show and you don’t have to repeat one.”

She looked at me and smiled. She knew what I was doing.

“Ok. Sounds like a good plan.”

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Thanks for reading. This is part of the 31/31 series in which I’m writing something everyday for a month, typos and grammatical mistakes included,without making a big deal out of it.

It’s all about clickin’ that Publish button.

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