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Everything Happens for a reason

Payton Cernek


Marisa Lopez

My mom hates surprises. She is someone who will plan everything to a T and will freak out if something goes out of order. But there was one surprise she ended up loving: Me.


“Seeing a positive pregnancy test was scary . . . Finding out I was having twins was terrifying,” my mom explained in a personal interview. At 22 she was still in college with a whole life ahead of her. She had no idea how she would manage two little girls all by herself. How would she finish college? Would she be able to financially support our family? She may not have had all the answers at the time, but she knew my sister and I were meant to be.

My biological father wasn’t involved much during the early years of my life, but that didn’t mean my mother was alone. She received an enormous amount of support from her family and friends. Her biggest supporter being her mom, my grandma. My grandmother was basically my second parent at the time. She was always helping whether that be babysitting, doing chores, or simply just being there.

With the help of the people around her and tons of hard work and perseverance, my mom went back to college and graduated with a degree.


Throughout the long nights and stressful bills, she still made time to be a mom. I vividly remember our bedtime routine. Splashing in the bathtub, putting together puzzles, giggle-filled tickle parties, reading books in funny voices, and cuddling up on the couch to watch TV.  I can still picture the compact apartment we lived in. The colorful magnets on the fridge that my sister and I would rearrange for hours.  My cozy top bunk bed that I thought was so cool. The million steps up to our door that I always tried to make my mom carry me up exclaiming “My ‘yegs’ are broken mommy!”  It’s those happy memories I fondly look back on the most. It may not have been the exact plan or the way my mom had expected, but I wouldn’t change a thing, and I don’t think she would either.

I have always been a sentimental, empathic person. Which at times I’ve found to be quite annoying, as I tend to stretch myself thin, trying to give more than I have. Something I realized while interviewing my mom is how much alike we actually are. “We both wear our emotions on our sleeve.” My mom expressed, beginning to open up in our conversation: “We’re caregivers. We always put everyone else before ourselves and we forget that we need to take care of ourselves too.”


Most of the time daughters can feel like polar opposites of their moms, and while in some cases that’s true, ultimately my mother shaped me into the person I am today more than I could ever imagine. She didn’t just help me with my homework or break up fights between my sister and me. She was the one who taught me to share, to use my words, how to be a good friend, and most importantly, to love unconditionally.  Through her, I’ve unknowingly learned to be determined and compassionate in everything I do.

I asked my mom what was the most important thing she wanted me to take away from everything she’s taught me, and she replied with, “You don't know how strong you are until strong is the only option you have. I didn't have a choice for a while. If I didn't do it, it didn't happen, and you guys depending on me. Some days, that was the only thing getting me through. Know that you are that strong and believe you're that strong. You will. You'll get through it, whatever it is.” Those words surprised me as I had never heard anything so powerful from my mother. Knowing that she had such good faith in my future made the unknown weight of worry, fear, and disappointment lift from my consciousness. I know now to trust the experiences, good or bad, thrown at me in life. Everything truly does and will happen for a reason.

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