I Come From Nothing


I come from nothing.

I tell my children in hopes they will have an appreciation for our nice house, their own bedroom and bathroom, all the activities they get to participate in, etc. It stems from my concern that my children won’t find a source of motivation in their lives. My childhood looked a lot different than theirs. Our home was a converted basement, five of us shared one tiny bathroom, and our extracurricular activities were limited due to expense. I watched my parents’ struggle and it motivated me to study, work hard, and create the life my husband and I are now able to provide for our own children.

I come from nothing.

In a family of five, my childhood vacations looked a lot different than the Mediterranean Cruise we took last summer. Travel, back then, often consisted of a road trip, van packed with home-made sandwiches, and rarely an overnight hotel stay. My dad was fond of saying, “drive straight through and get our vacation started.” I’ve often wondered if his words were a distraction from the fact that a hotel stay, even if only for one night, was an added expense to our already tight vacation budget. For me, the vacation started the moment we drove out of our neighborhood.

I come from nothing.

The truth is I don’t come from nothing. I come from two parents who made huge sacrifices time and time again in order to give my siblings and me a childhood better than they had. My dad worked two jobs. My mom started her own small business driving students to and from school in the same van we took summer road trips. They were both Cuban immigrants who arrived in this country with nothing but the drive to make a future for their family in a land of opportunity. This drive was instilled in them by their own hard-working parents, and they always credited their success no matter how small to their own parents. Yet, they often uttered the same words to me.

I come from nothing.

Many of us come from families whose parents held multiple jobs to make ends meet, lived paycheck to paycheck, and had to save all year-long in order to take a road trip come summer. My parents gave up a nice dinner out or a new pair of shoes in exchange for a family night at the movies (a major treat), or to take us to an amusement park for the day, though we still headed back out to the parking lot for homemade sandwiches. Amusement park food is expensive!

That’s something. 

Actually, that’s the good stuff. It is what has made me the woman I am today. In my parents, I witnessed true love for each other as they found ways to still “date” without breaking the bank. I was privy to long sessions around the kitchen table (which my Dad built) where my parents pored over bank statements and the budget they so closely adhered to. I listened closely as they found ways to enroll my siblings and me in a Catholic school because faith was important to them. They believed a Christian environment was crucial for their children’s upbringing, both at home and at school.

I come from nothing.

Looking back, I don’t see “nothing.” I see so much more. I see the sacrifices. I see a life so ordinary I never felt poor. I see a life filled with compassion, dedication and faith. I see the lessons they taught me by example. I see the drive they instilled in me, inspired by their own. I see a little girl who learned what it means to provide a full life without a full bank account.

I didn’t come from nothing.

I come from abundant love.



Where does your motivation come from? Where do you think your children find their own motivation?

4 thoughts on “I Come From Nothing

  1. Thanks God, for let me passed so much love, and put in my family’s heart the love for simple things, for the faith in God, for the examples I passed to them, from your father and me, THANKS FOR BE A GREAT DAUGHTERS, LOVE, MOM.

  2. I really like that plaque: The Best Things…….Aren’t Things. I’m not sure whether boys “get” what you seem to have gotten from loving parents; waddya thimk. A belated Happy New Year! Hutch

    Hutch Dubosque, President PTSD Veterans Association of Northport, Inc. PO Box 194, Northport, NY 11768 (631) 223-6107 Email: hutch.dubosque@live.com Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tom.clayton.754918 Blog: https://wethepeeps1.blogspot.com/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/hutch_dubosque Website: http://www.ptsdveteransassociation.org Email: ptsdalunmi@yahoo.com Board of Directors, Victory For Veterans: https://victoryforveterans.org/ Veteran Advisor, RIP Medical Debt: https://ripmedicaldebt.org/

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