On the Occasion of May 10th

On the occasion of May 10th (Mother’s Day), with your permission and the forgiveness of writers, I want to share some memories about my mother, Maria de la Luz Zamilpa, who is now 16 years old when she’s awake and 87 when asleep.

My mother brought few children into the world and thousands of ideas, she didn’t scrub floors or pans (didn’t have the time), every day, earnestly she cleaned her path, she scrubbed her destiny, her thoughts were free, glamorous, without God and without the Devil.

She wasn’t born, she made HERSELF; creating her own world – a sensible, strong and beautiful woman’s world. She recognizes herself and loves herself as she is.

I was there when she opened schools for teachers, for warriors. I saw her get up at dawn to go teach the blind how to read, I saw her embrace and teach hundreds of indigenous women how to see with their hearts, to defend their rights and seek equality.

She wasn’t interested in having power over her partner; she was too busy building herself, learning how to govern herself.

She also knew about fashion, perfumes, silks and souls; she managed her seduction well; attracting women and men into our home. They came to learn from her, from her knowledge in organizing, conciliation and personal relations, as well as education and politics.

“Inventor of her own history; rebellious, visionary, she had a very clear view of her role in life: to be happy and bring happiness to all beings around her; she is as generous and bountiful as a breadfruit tree. I never saw anyone come knock on our front door asking for help and leave empty-handed.”

Between my parents there was no competition, each one taking pleasure in living, without a fight, neither victory nor defeat, each one on their path. I believe my father always knew he felt lost and found before this woman. He never competed with such humble greatness; in return, she let him flow like a river, and let him live in his own stream of madness and freedom.

My mother did not wait for anyone to grant her any rights; she simply took them and kept on taking them to give to others. If my father did not want to dance, she danced alone. She didn’t get her confidence from my father, she got it from her own self; PARADISE WAS BEFORE HER OWN EYES, SHE FLEW ALONE, and she continues to fly.

She taught us how to feel at home anywhere. She taught us how to stand in a feminine, warm, loving, strong, creative and bright world, full of special women who became indispensable; winged creatures in my life, such as: blind Imelda, Maria Luna my grandmother, Irma Valencia, Alicia Nava, my saintly nanny, eternally present beings, loving safety-nets.

She, my mother, knew that mothers cannot do it on their own; that they need to form armies of shared parenting; that love has to be shared between the children of the earth; and that love we share is involved in the care of every human being.

My mother never judges, she walks beside you, she holds, embraces, understands, does not question, she lives everything from its independent, courageous, gentle, intelligent and sensitive essence. She does not believe in absolutes, for her there is nothing more complicated and shifting than human relationships; each being is special and delicate. She is able to see the beauty of each person, even more than they themselves.

She does not expect anyone to guide her way; she chooses, she is queen and slave of her own life. Every morning, she gets up proud and blessed to be herself.


Storyteller Maricela Figueroa Zamilpa is a visual artist. She was born in Guerrero (Mexico) and has lived in Oaxaca, the Federal District of Mexico City and Morelos, Mexico. She is now more focused on photography.

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