Every year, as Mother’s Day approaches, I find myself remembering my last day of training before I became a professional court interpreter. Part of my training — and the part I enjoyed the most — was sitting in courtrooms observing court procedures.
“I am starving,” I thought, ready to take my lunch break. I started getting closer to the front edge of my chair and waited for the judge to finish sentencing the young man standing in front of him.
I stopped frozen when I heard a scream fill the room, followed by a dreadful silence.
I moved my eyes to scan the room — afraid I would make noise if I moved my head.
Everyone was still, except for the middle-aged, Latina woman who sat in the second row, her face covering her hands.
When she heard the sentence, she stood up energetically and then collapsed back in her seat. Her body was shaking in a silent, traumatic convulsion.
The clock on the wall indicated that a few seconds had passed, but no one in the courtroom dared to break the silence.
“The defendant can be taken to custody,” finally the judge spoke.
I watched the defendant, in his late twenties, with two officers behind him, move with hesitation toward the side door. He turned his head to the woman in the second row.
Her face was covered with her hands until the defendant was at the door. She lifted her head and looked at the young man with pain and sadness. There was an obvious resemblance between the two. They made eye contact.
At that moment, I knew the woman was the defendant’s mother.
For a brief second, she smiled through her tears as if she wanted to say, “I love you. It’s going to be okay.”
The young man’s face relaxed and his posture straightened as he stepped out of the courtroom.
I have never forgotten this experience, but I didn’t understand the full depth of what I saw until many years later when I was in the hospital giving birth to my first son.
No doubt, childbirth was the most physically painful experience I had ever had. After several hours of labor, here he was in my arms, screaming as he gasped for air to enter a brave new world.
I looked at his big blue eyes and my heart filled with a love I never thought possible. The pain didn’t matter, and nothing was as important as the tiny body in my arms nor as powerful as the love that was born that day.
In May 2020, the news of George Floyd being brutally murdered while he was under arrest on the streets of Minneapolis shook our country and the world. The footage and comments from eyewitnesses were shocking. Many of us cried when we learned that George called his late mother’s name while taking his last breaths.
It was no longer a story we heard on the news; it was the human connection we felt in our hearts. It didn’t matter that his mother passed away three years before the incident; George Floyd reached out to her and spoke a love language we all understood.
My mom passed away at the beginning of the pandemic, and I have missed her since. I often wish I could hear her voice and look into her eyes during the pandemic loneliness and the despair over social injustice.
But I knew — just like George Floyd did — that my mom was looking over me. Oftentimes,she whispered in my dreams with the only thing I needed to know to sleep peacefully and wake up with hope and strength, “I love you. It’s going to be okay.”
There is a lot of injustice in the world. I often tell my kids that this is the aspect of living we need to accept while we do our part to make the world a better place for everyone. As long as we keep trying, we can continue on this path, knowing that a mother’s love offers perfect compassion, justice and fairness. As long as we can tap into this love, we can stand firm, overcome many challenges and reach our loftiest dreams. As long as we remember, we can find peace even if we can no longer look at our mother’s eyes and hear her words.
A mother’s love is always present in our hearts. It breaks down walls, melts the ice and it shows up in our lives when we need it the most. Happy Mother’s Day!