Valentine’s Day Special

by | Feb 14, 2017

For most people, Valentine’s Day conjures visions of chocolate, romantic comedies, jewelry, and gifts. But for me, it’s not about expensive gifts, spending money, or extravagant dinners. It’s about remembering that I have some pretty special people in my life and being grateful for every single one of them.

When I was 10 months old, my father passed away from Leukemia on my parents’ wedding anniversary, 4 days after Christmas Day. Of course, growing up I thought it was perhaps the most unromantic thing that could have ever happened to my mother. I didn’t realize how much those stories were engraved in my soul until my son turned 10 months old. I woke up that day, like many mothers, (especially this first-time mother of an only child) ready to take pictures of my adorable little guy with our big pup, Cesar the dog, and send those annoying valentine’s videos and hundreds of pictures to all my relatives (which, by the way, I think I did a pretty good job of…of course every mother thinks this).

As the day progressed, nice comments from my gracious family members came flooding in. Comments of how big he was and how cute they looked together and how much they missed us. My mom called me to tell me how cute they were and before she hung up the phone she said, “Wow! He’s 10 months old. He’s getting so big!” We talked about how cute he was and who he looked like. But what she doesn’t know is that I hung up the phone and cried my eyes out.

All of the emotions of having lost my father at 10 months old rushed through my head. The stories of my first steps at 10 months old in the hospital; the stories of bringing him home for Christmas that year only for him to pass away 4 days later; stories of how my mother chose to leave EVERYTHING behind in Nicaragua and move to California to fulfill the promise she had made to my father: that no matter what, she would provide me with the same opportunities they had always dreamed for me. It is a promise I absolutely am grateful for and still find it incomprehensible how she was able to get up every morning and keep going strong, at times working three jobs to put me through private schools. That day I felt like the happiest, luckiest person in the world.

So for me, Valentine’s Day was a day to shed all of those feelings of sadness that my family had endured when I turned 10 months old, and it became about gratitude for the precious gift I was given and how happy I was celebrating my son’s 10 months of life! 

Thank you to all who have been in my life and have supported my family and my dreams of serving others. I feel like the luckiest person in the world to be able to be a part of keeping people healthy and leading an active life. I take this job very seriously and feel so humbled that people trust us with the well-being of their families. I can truly say that my father’s passing completely defined me and molded the person I am today. It is for this reason I feel that I can relate so deeply to people in my life. It informs all my decisions and outlook about life and it ironically nurtures my optimistic perspective about life and finding light in the most devastating times.

This is perhaps why I really am passionate about the clubfoot journey. I get to experience the absolute unconditional love parents have for their children and hear all of their stories and how at the root of it all, we as parents, just want to give them the best. This is a universal feeling that I believe crosses all cultures and socioeconomic standings and I am so very fortunate to be a part of it.