Today, I would like to share something very personal with all of you. I am the youngest of five siblings and on May 3rd, I will be turning 65 years old. My siblings and I are very close and try to spend most of our holidays together. Well, imagine my surprise that on our 64th Easter together I learned our mother had a very difficult time giving birth to me and nearly died as a result of my being born. My dear mother was so terrified, she told her older sister, Evelyn, that she would like for her to care for me as her own son in the event of her death. Thankfully, my mother survived, but my dear aunt (who remained childless) took this promise very seriously and treated me as her only child.
Though we were poor, my beloved Aunt Eve gave me everything I needed and more; in fact, she spoiled me rotten. One of the most wonderful gifts she bestowed upon me was the wisdom that in order to love others, you must first learn to love yourself. This is a lesson I continue to learn to this very day. As I look around at my life, my relationships, my career and my actions and reactions to all of these things, there is no question that it was her love and attention that made me the man I grew up to be. It was she who told the young, poor, insecure Panamanian boy that, with hard work and a generous heart, he could become anything he wanted to be. It was she who taught me that we were all born and remained equal, regardless of race, age or status. It was she who not only changed my life, but helped to form the foundation on which it was built.
Thirteen years ago, I lost my beloved second mother and I wanted to take this moment to thank her:
Dear Aunt Eve,
Thank you for being such an incredible source of inspiration in my life. Thank you for loving me, protecting me, guiding me and teaching me about the world and giving me the confidence to go after my dreams, as well as helping to instill the character that reminds me to stay humble and grounded.
I would also like to thank my sister, Aminta, for sharing this powerful information with me. We all have that one relative who changed our lives with their love. Whether they are here or guiding us from heaven, let us use this opportunity to thank them. In today’s blog, please join me in a moment of gratitude and thank them for all of their love.