The Call by Emily Valdivia

On February 26th, 2018, my world imploded. I was in history class taking a test when I got a phone call. I felt a whole numbness run through my body. It was my mom. I asked the teacher if I could step outside. When I picked up the phone, I heard my mom mutter, “I didn’t get the papers.” I thought she was joking and told her, “Don’t play; tell me the truth.” Her voice cracked. She began to cry. “Emily, I really didn’t get them.” My heart dropped. I stood there in the hallway, paralyzed and confused. I immediately felt lost in a space I once used to recognize. I began shedding tears, asking her, “What am I going to do without you?” I couldn’t bear the thought of having my mother taken away from me. At that moment, I realized I had lost what matters most to me.

During my sophomore year of high school, my mother was deported to Mexico. When my mother and I were separated, I lost my foundation and myself. I felt small like a bird dropped out of a nest into an unfamiliar world. Yet, as the days passed, I came upon a realization that I could not throw away in vain what my mother had so dearly sacrificed for me when she immigrated to the United States. I knew I couldn’t bring her back, but I could control my attitude toward school and life. I began to take advantage of the resources around me. I changed my studying habits by attending after-school tutoring. I felt more capable and saw myself as an actual scholar who could pursue a college education, gain independence, and assert control over my own life. I joined my high school’s leadership to use my voice and intellect to advocate for underrepresented students. I learned to develop deeper relationships with my teachers, who, in turn, began to see me and respect me. I took back my power and chose to face my fears and grow– unashamed of who I was– becoming the strong fierce warrior my mother raised me to be. 

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