The Gift

I lay in the stillness of the night, listening to the rain drum on our make-shift roof. The ground beneath me felt cold and hard.

“Mamá?” I whispered.

“Sí?”

I switched to English. “Why do we have to be missionaries in Mexico?”

“Jaden, you know the answer to that question. It is God’s plan for us.”

“Moving to the poorest city in all of Mexico, away from America, away from my friends, away from everything I’ve ever known?” I shot back.

Mamá sighed. “I know this has been hard for you.” she whispered, stroking my dark black hair. “I miss America too, you know.”

A pang of realization hit me. How could I be so selfish, to ignore the feelings of my own mother?

She rested her hands on her lap, and continued, “Yes, the United States is a very special place. Eight months ago, when we lived there,  it was a place I took for granted. Up until we left, I didn’t realize how privileged and blessed every American citizen is.” She was quiet for a minute before she continued. “But it is very late, and you need to go to bed.”

I moved over to my laptop and turned it on. “Five more minutes?”

“Ok, but then it’s lights off.”

“Ok,” I replied.

***

A week later, as Mamá was making breakfast, I decided it was time.

“Mamá?” I asked, politely clearing my throat.

“Yes, Sweetie?”

“Can I-uh- show you something outside?”I stuttered.

Mamá shot me a puzzled look. “I guess so,” she replied, sliding two hot eggs onto a plate.

When we walked outside, I handed her a little cardboard box. “There’s nothing I wanted you to see. I just wanted you to- well, just open it,” I urged, a huge smile on my face.

Mamá shot me a suspicious look. “It’s not Christmas is it?” she asked, her eyes dancing.

“No,” I laughed. “Now just open it!”

Carefully taking off the cover, she gasped. “Jaden! How could you pay for all of this?”

“I’ve been saving up for a new phone, but I thought tickets for a vacation to the U.S. was much more important.”

Mamá wrapped me in a hug, her eyes filling with tears of joy. “Oh, Jaden. You are one of the most generous, self-less people I know. Thank you so much.”

“You’re welcome. There’s only one thing I ask you do in return.”

“What is that?” she asked.

“Helping me find a more creative way to tell Papá!” I laughingly replied.

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