Happy Mother’s Day, for all the mamas

Astrid Silva, co-founder of DREAM Big Vegas, is an activist in Southern Nevada. She wrote this blog to share the undocumented perspective on Mother’s Day:

Ever since I was young I remember dreading ‘El Dia de las Madres’ – in Mexico, Mother’s Day is celebrated on the 10th of May every year no matter what the day falls on as opposed to the second Sunday as it is here. I could never pin point why I didn’t like the holiday or why I didn’t look forward to it, it wasn’t the having to buy two presents for my mom or that I didn’t love her in abundance.

When I look back and think of my memories of ‘El Dia de las Madres’ they are filled with seeing my mom crying and playing songs for my Abuelita Chabela over the phone. They are memories of my Dad calling his siblings to make sure they received the money he had gathered to be able to send to my Abuelita Mica, then having to hope they would do what he specified with it. Sometimes we would call and get to talk to the Abuelas’ briefly because they were being whisked away to some celebration in their honor, with all the laughter of their grandchildren in the background. Meanwhile we were left with the empty feeling that I couldn’t describe until now.

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Las Vegas DREAMers pose with their mothers before heading off to Immigrant Lobby Day in Carson City.

I know that my only surviving grandparent, my Abuelita Chabela is 76 years old and that inevitably those calls will all together cease. This morning when my mom said, “I’m calling your Abuelita” I cringed. Every year it gets harder and harder to talk to her on the phone. I’ve been able to wiggle my way out to only talking to her on the major holidays and even then I find and excuse to end the conversation early. It isn’t that I don’t love the woman who gave my mother life, I don’t want to grow attached to someone I will likely never meet. Is it selfish – Yes. I have no excuse and I hurt my mom every time I turn down her excited pleads to talk to her Mama. I know that one day sooner than later there will be the call that I have already lived through 3 times, 3 painful earth shattering times. I know what it feels like to have the air sucked out of me and not know what to do.

What makes my grandparents dying different than maybe yours? My parents left everything they knew, including their parents for MY future.  Their want and need to give me a better life and to give me the things that they knew would never be possible for me in Mexico. They never once hesitated to give me the ability to achieve all of my dreams. Their love for me made them leave their parents behind not knowing if they would ever see them again, which ultimately came true. My parents were a few years older than I am now when they left their homes, they haven’t returned more than 20 years later. I now realize that growing up the feeling of guilt became overwhelming, my young mind couldn’t comprehend what those feelings were.

As an organizer I get to meet dozens of families that are in the exact same situation, my family is not the only one going through this. Our broken immigration system has trapped people here unable to comfort their sick mothers in foreign countries, unable to see their children walk at their graduations or give them medicine when they have a fever. The time is now, I can’t spend another ‘Dia de las Madres’ with my Abuelita on the phone.


Astrid Silva

DREAM Big Vegas