“Me siento feliz de tener las hijas que tengo, aún con sus debilidades y malcriadeces de vez en cuando, pero esto forma parte de la vida de una familia. Me han hecho sentir halagada cuando se refieren a ustedes como personas aplomadas, serias y desenvueltas, este es mi gran tesoro. Me he remontado en estos momentos al día que nacistes y que felicidad tan grande he sentido en mi corazón, no me ha importado las vicisitudes por las que he pasado, pero he tenido una gran recompensa, MIS HIJAS, y espero tener bastante salud para disfrutarlas y ver el resultado del éxito de ustedes.” / “I am happy for having the daughters I have, with their weaknesses, spoiled attitude at times because that is part of a family’s life. They have made feel proud when they describe you as good women, worldly, educated, well-mannered, that is my treasure. I have gone back to the time of your birth and how much happiness I’ve felt in my heart, it has not mattered the struggles because at the end I have the greatest gift: MY DAUGHTERS and I hope to have good health to enjoy them and to see and celebrate your Successes.” ~ Miriam Celis de Angulo, My Mother, Warrior Woman, Devoted Daughter, Mother, Sister and Friend (Jan 21, 1946 – 1/25/2002).
This celebration and recognition of the women in my life would not be complete without my mother and no one better than her to close this celebration.
These words were written by her the night before my 24th birthday via e-mail (August 3, 1999). I still have a folder in my account that holds all of her emails; I haven’t revisited them until this past week. It was not an easy task, many times I had to move away from the computer to cry and return to finish reading, but these emails are a beautiful reminder of her timeless wisdom. I laughed at all of her constant reminders and check-ins: did I eat, am I sleeping enough, “don’t stay at work too late, don’t get your bosses used to it”; did you fold your clothes?; “I watched on TV that it was raining in NY, make sure you cover your head, be careful you can catch a cold”; “remember trust no one, if you need to vent: call me”…and the list goes on but they all were written with love, an abundance of love, that love that only a mother can give, the one that fills and overflows your heart…and they all ended with “I LOVE YOU”, yes in caps.
I can write so many things about my Mom, I can fill all the pages in the world about her and still wouldn’t be enough, but I can share a few things with you today.
One of the things I admire the most about my mom is her example of strength, dedication, determination and devotion. During her lifetime, my mom had to overcome many struggles. At a very young age she lost her father and as the eldest she was in charge of helping her mom raise her brothers and sisters; she was one of the first woman to acquire an executive position in Pepsi in Venezuela; she was also one of the first women in her family to get divorced and raise two girls on her own, not an easy task but as everything she did in life, she did it with grace and she excelled in every task.
My mom always had a smile in her face, you will never know if she was struggling; she always found ways to help everyone around her, from family to friends to acquaintances. She believed that every good deed you did will be return to you one way or the other.
When it came to business her work ethic was her stamp of excellence, something I learned from her at a very young age “no matter what you do, the kind of job you have, always be your best and do your best: stand out!”.
Mami was very strict but I thank her daily for her discipline because it made me the woman I am today, she laid a strong foundation that lives within me and my sister.
She provided me with an education not only in school but also at home, Mami was an avid reader and arts lover, she loved to travel, visit museums, watch movies, a play, enjoy a good meal. She always emphasized that knowledge was power but not everything it is found in the books it is also found around you and you must enjoy life and live in the moment because time runs fast and once it’s gone it will not return.
She also taught me to always stand up for myself, walk with my head up, be confident and to never let anyone get the best of me; to be honest because the truth will only hurt if it’s supposed to and that success was never measured by your wealth but by always being your true self.
Today I close this series of recognition to all the women that have influenced my life with their friendship, work, art with the woman who gave me life and taught me the importance of being a woman: My Mother.
Words can’t express what you mean to me, the love you represent and the pride of being your daughter, may the words of this story honor you and celebrate your legacy. I LOVE YOU ALWAYS.