I knew from the moment I first received an email from Merrell that if there was going to be a film made about me, it would need to include you. I knew this because it is your lessons, your life, your hard work, and your story that have molded me to be the person that I am today.
Still to this day, I don’t know how you did it, managed to raise Cristina, Daniel, Naomi and me. You didn’t just raise your kids; you raised your grandkids too. You took responsibility over Laritza, Adrian, and Adriana for so many years. You took care of quite a few primas (cousins) and their babies, and you did it in a heartbeat, without asking for anything in return. You didn’t just take care of yourself and your children, you took care of our entire family. I will never forget how much you worked to send money to our family in Kiskeya (Dominican Republic). All the times our house looked like a disaster zone as you pulled out everything you could find so that we could send boxes filled with clothing, food, medicine, and supplies to Kiskeya (Dominican Republic). You did all of this as a working single mother. To this day, I still wonder how.
Mamá, how did you leave your home to come to a place in which you didn’t know anyone, not even the language? How did you have the courage to do that? How were you so brave? Mamá, how did you manage to work as a babysitter in the daytime and at a restaurant at night and still keep your sanity? You worked for us, cleaned for us, dressed us, and fed us. When I turned 16 you threw me a party and bought me a car. How, Mamá? How were you able to sacrifice everything and ask for nothing in return? Mamá, I don’t know how you love us the way that you do.
This film is not just meant to honor me, mom. This film is here to honor you. I thank you for all that you have sacrificed. Because of you I have been able to climb mountains, swim in waterfalls, hike through meadows, and soar through the sky. Because of you, I have a career as a nurse, a healer, and I am able to touch lives every day. Because of you I am able to look upon this world with bravery and confidence because I know I have the most incredible woman in the world right next to me, cheering me on. That woman is you, mom. I love you. I thank you. This film is for you. Eres todo para mi.