• Note #1: In honor of Mother’s Day, I wrote this little piece for my lovely momma. I miss you everyday, Ma.
  • Note #2: If you’re wondering, yes, that’s an old picture of me with my mom at a mid-2000’s McDonald’s.

When I was just a little girl, I learned about the word powerhouse in my language class. It’s synonymous to a beating heart, some said, the way it pumps over a hundred thousand beats per day and flows blood into our veins to keep all the parts of our body intact. I never really understood what it meant until I heard my own heart beating softly inside my chest while I was alone sitting in the wilderness, clouds looming above me while the scent of dew filled my nose. I never really understood what it meant until I felt fire blazing inside my veins, passion fueling my stalwart body, and genuine love vibrantly illuminating within every inch of my soul. I never really understood what it meant.

I watched my mother move about. It was the only thing I could ever do right. In the midst of a public place densely populated by strangers, I saw her feet striding in strapped wedges as she held my tiny hand firmly. She guided me through the crowd as several dirty arms brushed her body like a breeze on an aged sycamore tree. Growing up, I kept reminding myself that a grand total of four lives came out of her as if it was nothing. I could only imagine the complications of birthing one life, much less four wildly eccentric ones. Difficult ones. Stubborn ones. Rash ones that she had to raise in a world where struggle is immensely abundant and nobody is forgiving.

By then, I saw what it actually meant, physically manifested in a white blouse, dark-washed jeans, and a shoulder-length bob of a hazelnut hue. I saw the woman who emanated immeasurable strength and overflowing love. I saw my mother.

I never really understood what powerhouse meant until I saw her, pale and grey as she laid in bed. I held her hand as if I was the scared little girl who would hide behind her back all the time. I held it as tightly as I could even if my hand was already trembling. For the first time, I did not feel her grip it back the way she always would have. There, I felt my body heaving breaths that it couldn’t find and my heart clawing itself out of my chest.

I never really understood what powerhouse meant until it faded away in my bare hands.