Dear Mommy,

A photo of my beautiful mother, Sayda, and I.

Hello everyone! This piece is dedicated to all the wonderful mothers out there! Enjoy, and please share it with your friends.

First, I begin with a musical message, to my mommy.

Momma I just want you to know

I’m in love with you so

If you wasn’t here I’d be in love with you soul

My angel, mommy I’d die faithful

Just knowing somone tried to violate you

I’ll slide 8ths through the side of their facial

Squeeze and rip apart a side of their facial

I’d take a slug, eat a bullet, swallow a gun

Shit, you gotta know I’m your son

-The Diplomats feat. Juelz Santana, “Who I Am” (2003) (#FREEJUELZ!)

My mommy, Sayda (Sii-da), is the toughest, most genuine person I know.

My mother, with my younger brother in her arms. I’m on the red bike.

She’s loving, supporting, and always pushing me to become the best Andy I can be. Without her, I wouldn’t be here today. And that’s a fact.

And before this year ends, she’ll be the proud recipient of her bachelor’s degree from the John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Although a worthy accomplishment, she faced a difficult journey reaching this milestone.

Born in Honduras, Sayda traveled to the U.S at age 7, alongside her father, with hopes of a better life and education. She would move to South Bronx, in the home of her step-mother, an ignorant and abusive woman.

During the rare occasion Sayda misbehaved, her step-mother would keep her home from school, and clean as punishment. One example of the harsh discipline she faced.

Growing annoyed of her presence, the step-mother would kick her out the home when she turned 15, leaving Sayda to fend for herself.

Me in my mother arms while at 7 months old.

Fortunately, a relative was willing to take her in. Despite this, she would drop out of high school at age 16, after receiving terrible advice from the same relative she was staying with.

However, life appeared to be trending upward. At age 18, Sayda met a nice, tall, dark-skinned Honduran man at an auction. After a few dates they became lovers, and then moved in together. A year later, she gave birth to her first child, named Andy.

By age 24, Sayda would give birth to my younger brother Adam, and my younger sister Iveth. Now blessed with the family she always desired, Sayda began preparing for her new life.

That’s where the fun ends. Three years following Iveth’s birth, Luis left the family, leaving Sayda to fend for herself. This time with three children. The next decade was littered with another chapter of drama and turmoil.

Thankfully, Sayda would recover nicely and defy the odds stacked against her. In 2020, she finds herself inching closer to her 40th birthday, prospering, and feeling better than ever.

Me, in my mother arms once again, in our South Bronx home.

So, why do I share these stories?

With Mother’s Day around the corner, I wanted to highlight the treacherous path my mother traveled, to reach the success she’s now enjoying.

This piece is a thank you to her, for all she’s done for me, in spite of her rough upbringing and early adulthood. I now realize how tough being a woman, and a mom can be.

Thank you so much, mommy.

There’s one story that comes to mind, highlighting my mother’s toughness and the generosity of another wonderful woman.

We start in the winter of 2016. It’s my sophomore year, and I just completed the worst stretches of my life.

First, I’m was fresh off a nasty break-up with my very first “girlfriend.” Feeling heartbroken, it took me a while to get over her.

I running towards my father while on a road trip. My mother is in the background.

Second, due to some immature comments I made following our football team’s loss in the city championship, I became the most-hated individual in my high school. I quickly apologized to them, but the salt was still fresh on the wound.

Now, let’s fast forward a month, after New Years’.

I’m at home resting when my mother steps out to run a few errands. She returns an hour later, in tears. I ask what’s wrong. While struggling to formulate her words, she paused and said we had to leave our home.

Despite being a naive fifteen-year-old, I knew exactly what she meant. As a family, we’d been down this road before.

We were being evicted.

My mother, with my younger brother in her arms. I’m in the black shirt. This is during my 4th birthday party.

I embraced my mother as she began crying uncontrollably. As I attempted to console her, she repeatedly said she was sorry. Knowing how hard she worked to provide for the family, I assured her that this wasn’t her fault.

My mom delivered the news to my younger siblings. Now, the entire family is weeping.

Fortunately, we found somewhere to stay during this ordeal. My mother’s best friend Narelin (Na-da-lean), was more than willing to assist us in the time being.

After an hour of crying, I returned to my room and began packing essentials to take to Narelin’s home. We didn’t bring all our belongings, as my mom carried faith that we would return home soon.

As I packed I noticed my brother on his bed, still emotional from the disappointing news. I wrapped my arm around him and assured him that everything would be alright.

My mother, with younger sister in her arms, while on a road trip. I’m wearing the #7 sweater, with my brother to my left.

We traveled to Ms. Narelin’s home later that evening. Upon arrival, my family got settled in, with our uncertain future still on our minds.

With two families now living in a three-bedroom household, I felt a bit cramped. Despite this, Ms. Narelin did her best to make me feel at home.

Most nights my brother and I would watch television with Ms. Narelin’s son, while my mother and she would collaborate to cook some amazing dishes for the entire household. And before I went to bed, Ms. Narelin made sure I had warm blankets to rest under.

Ms. Narelin’s hospitality distracted me, and my family, from our current dilemma.

Ultimately, my mother worked her magic. For ten long days following our eviction, she traveled to the welfare office in an attempt to get her home back. On the tenth day, her prayers were answered. My family and I would be returning home. Just as she promised.

Me family and I while on a trip to Disney World in Florida, where we lived for 4 years. My younger brother didn’t like Mickey Mouse, resulting in him crying.

It was a bittersweet moment for me. I was returning to my humble-a-home, but I’d miss spending time with Ms. Narelin and her family.

Following that adventure, my appreciation grew for the two extraordinary mothers in my life. Being away from home was an uncomfortable experience for me. The persistence of my mother, coinciding with the kindness of Ms. Narelin, got me back to where I belong.

For that, I’m grateful.

It’s been more than three years since that ordeal, but I still think about it from time to time.

Me in my mother’s arms, as always, at our Florida home. My younger brother is in the background.

We’ve since moved from the building we were evicted from. Today, my family and I live two blocks away from Ms. Narelin.

Twice a week she’ll stop by our home to chat with my mother, and bring sweets for my siblings and I. Sometimes she brings us this amazing banana soda popular in Honduras, our native country.

It’s gestures like these that make me appreciate the mother’s in our lives. They’re always there when you need them.

Growing up in the South Bronx, there aren’t many male figures to admire. The neighborhood is filled to the brim, with single mothers forced to play both roles as parents. I’ve been surrounded by courageous women my entire life.

At times we take for granted how difficult being a mom can be. We often fail to see the strength of our mothers, due to their appearance and caring nature. Some mothers go to work, protect, nurture, and teach their children…by themselves.

We live in a society that treats women as second-class citizens. What’s overlooked are their roles as the unsung heroes that make this world run. They’re the rocks. The glue-guys. And they deserve more praise and respect.

I mean, you wouldn’t be on this Earth without your mother right?

Me and my mother at a scholarship event in the summer of 2019.

To conclude, shout-out to all the wonderful mothers out there! Thank you for supporting, protecting, and loving in spite of our flaws. To you all, have a HAPPY MOTHERS DAY!

If you made it to the end, thank you so much for reading. Leave a comment if you enjoyed this piece. And please, share this with your friends!



*Special shoutout to my mommy and Ms. Narelin, the best mother’s I know.

(Originally posted May 9, 2020 on Medium. Edited May 23, 2020 on WordPress.)

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