“Para Mi Familia, Con Cariño”

By Luis H. Garay

I miss my family. A lot. I miss my family when I am at graduate school. I miss my family when I am having bad days. I miss my family when I am having good days. The topic of my blog post seems fitting as this week as I am at my parent’s house in my hometown for the Thanksgiving holiday.

A little bit about my family: we are a family of six with my mom, my dad, me (Luis), my younger brother, and my youngest sister. Our sixth family member is a new addition as of a year-and-a-half ago: a dachshund mix puppy named “Buddy”. (Named so by my sister who got the name from the “Airbud” movie). I think all of us in my family agree that Buddy is the baby of the family.

Before I left for graduate school, I had never realized how important family was to me. My undergraduate school was only 30 minutes away from my parent’s house. Weekly weekend trips were plenty and I would spend holidays at home. The two times I had been away from my parents were during my semester study abroad in London and my summer internship in Philadelphia. My time abroad was when I realized how much my family meant to me. Also, I regret to admit, how much I had taken them for granted up that point.

It has taken me leaving for graduate school to a new state to really understand for myself how much I appreciate and love my family but also how important my family is to me. Now, phone calls from home by my parents, phone calls from me, and time spent during the holidays mean so much more. So much more. Holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas are time spent in the company of each other surrounded by love, smiles, laughter, and good Mexican food.

Speaking of phone calls from home, this past week’s phone call was a really special one. Last week was a rough academic week, amidst a paper, presentation, and exam I was pretty much stressed to the max by mid-week. Then on Wednesday, as I was furiously typing away a paper in the library, I received a phone call from home. The usual conversation happened with my mom: she told me what was going on at home, how she was happy to be seeing me that weekend, and I told her that I was in the library, how much work I had, and how I couldn’t wait to be home. Then as we were saying our good-byes and me promising I’d call the night before I left for Chicago, my mom told me, “Estoy tan orgulloso en ti”. She told me how proud she was of me.

My mom and dad saying how proud they are of me is something I am very fortunate to hear frequently from them. This mention though was different. I would be lying if I said that when I got off the phone I wasn’t tearing up. Maybe it was the stress of the week, maybe it was because I really missed my family, or maybe it was because I was ready to be home for break, who knows?

One thing I did know: I was energized from my mom’s words. I was energized enough to get through that paper and get through the rest of my week. Honestly though, I was energized in a whole different way too: her encouragement and hearing how proud she is of me reminded me why I do all of this. Why I have always tried my best at school. Why I went to college. Why I went to graduate school. Why I went to graduate school in a whole new state. Why I am in student affairs. Why I want a successful career in student affairs. For them. For my parents. For my family. I want to keep making them proud of me in what I do. I want to be able to provide for them in the way they have provided for me and my siblings.

Student Affairs - the First Years

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