No, not the Drake song. I didn’t even know that was a song until 3 hours ago. I’m referring to my parents’ long journey and struggle to get to where they are now. My parents literally started from the bottom. As teen immigrants from the Dominican Republic, they both had to work every day to help support their families. Mom, being the oldest of six kids, worked even more than Dad did, who was the youngest of his siblings. A couple of times a year, Mom reminds us of all the little jobs she had to do in order to help her parents pay for food and rent. She worked at a factory, making hats, and then at another factory making curtains, all while taking English language classes at night. When they got married at age 21, Mom continued working at the factory. A few years later, she started selling cosmetics with a famous company (at the time), Jafra. It was the Spanish equivalent of Mary Kay and Avon. Dad bought the supermarket where he worked at, and business was going really well. All this happened for them after many years of hard work and suffering.
But it didn’t just happen to them because business was going well. Dad ended up selling the supermarket and Mom stopped working with Jafra after she started having kids. She became a stay at home mom and Dad got a job as a maintenance man; and that’s the way its been for the past 25 years.
36 years after getting married, Mom and Dad are the owners of a large house in New York City, as well as of a vacation house in upstate. People always wonder how they manage to afford it all. Now that I have my own bills to pay and money seems to disappear into thin air, I wonder the same thing.
How did they do it? I guess one thing that helped is that my parents are very simple people. Growing up, Mom cooked every meal. We didn’t go out to eat unless it was a special occasion, or unless Mom wasn’t around and Dad ordered pizza. Dad would take lunch with him everyday from home and every one had coffee at home before heading out. There was no need to spend money on lunch or coffee because it was prepared at home. Also, we barely ever went to the movies. Like ever. It wasn’t until we were older and were making our own money that we started going to the movies. Even then, we went on our own. Mom and Dad would stay home. I can honestly say that it has been over 20 years since my parents went to a movie theater. Its the little things that add up. Living comfortably, yet simply. We never lacked for anything. We always had what we needed and more.
Recently I was having a conversation with my sister and she said “Why do parents who never went to college pressure their kids to get a college education so much? They didn’t go to college and they’re perfectly fine.” That got me thinking. Why do they do it? Maybe its because they don’t want their kids to have to suffer through everything they did all over again. Those parents want something better for their kids.
My parents are happy with their lives and they feel accomplished but I know that I would never be able to do everything they’ve done. Through their hard work and sacrifices, they’ve been able to give my siblings and I a very wonderful life, and I will forever be grateful to them. And in the words of Drake, my parents “started from the bottom, now we’re here”. They did it, and so can any one else.
My parents at our upstate house