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How My Life Changed from Childhood to Adulthood

by Ingrid Torres Arevalo

I was born in El Salvador on November 10, 1997. When I was a kid, my parents separated. Then my life started to change because I moved with my brothers to live with my grandma – my mother’s mom. When we went to live with my grandma, it was something strange and different from living with my parents. Her house was bigger than ours and we didn’t know the people around us. Our grandma had to adjust, too. She, a single mother, took us in even though my uncle, four years older than me, was still a child in her home. She was good to us and took care of us.

After the separation, my dad was living in El Salvador and my mother moved to the United States. Soon after, my dad moved and got remarried. When I was fourteen, my mom sent for me to come to the United States because I was the oldest. That was when my life changed again. I was separated from my brothers and my grandma that I loved very much. I felt sad because I left my grandma, my brothers, and my country. I also felt excited and nervous to see my mom.

black-and-white photo of a happy baby wearing a stocking cap
Diego, my son

Everything was different here – the place, the language, and the people. But, I felt protected because my mom was with me. To me, this country was full of opportunities and jobs. After four years, all my brothers and I were together again. They met their nephew, my son Diego, when he was a year old. Having a child is something beautiful and amazing.

I’m excited to see my son grow every day: how he took his first steps, said his first word, got his first teeth and had his first day of school. I want to be in his life to see him grow as a person, see his achievements, and watch him grow professionally. I loved it when he said TE AMO MAMI. It is a feeling that I can’t explain and that cannot be bought, even with all the gold in the world.

black-and-white photograph of six individuals, smiling as they face the camera and support each other
Me with Diego, my brothers Odil and Franklin, Mom Carmen, and my sister Nidia

Then, we got very bad news, the worst news anyone can get. My grandma passed away. When she died, we felt a very heavy pain. The most pain we felt was not being able to go to El Salvador to see her for the last time. The one good thing about this was that all the brothers were finally together, despite the difficulties and time.

The most important thing to remember about change is to get up if you fall. Do not stop. You must continue no matter how hard it is or impossible it seems. Sometimes we don’t want to continue because it is difficult. You are stronger than you think. I thought my life was hard, but now I am strong. I give thanks to life because I have laughed, cried and because I have met many people.