College essay by Ana Sophía Vega
In the summer of 2017, I became my mother, a cliché for what daughters fear the most. As the oldest of seven children, I am accustomed to helping my younger siblings. I am the one who takes them to their homeroom classrooms until they outgrow this phase and label it uncool. Every time they have a silly argument over sports, toys, or grades, I am the peacemaker. I settle the perpetual dilemma of who showers first every morning and help them with their homework. In my mind, I was a dutiful daughter and a caring older sister. Therefore, I wasn’t surprised when my parents asked me to take my younger siblings to a birthday party. On that fateful day, standing next to the snack table, a photographer approached us and asked if he could take a picture of the three of us. We smiled at the camera, and then he asked a question that left a lasting impression: “Are you their mother?”
I was barely a teenager; how could someone believe I was a mother? His question might have been forgotten if it hadn’t been for a young girl asking me the same question a couple of hours later. At fourteen years old, I had an image of what a mother should look like: an older woman wearing heels, “mom clothing”, and carrying a purse. I certainly didn’t look like one. As I have grown older, my opinions on what it means to be a mother have evolved. Now, when I think of the term “motherly,” I proudly identify with it, regardless of my status as a mother. I have become my siblings’ second mother, and by identifying as such, I have become a strong-willed, caring, and strategic person.
With my siblings, I learned how to be a solution-driven person. They fight over everything, even for a seat on a twelve-passenger car. On a particularly challenging morning, I thought of a solution to their constant bickering: I started praying the rosary and asked them to join me. This immediately calmed them. From that day forward, this became our morning tradition. Being an older sister has also made me a more open-minded person. In an eight-person household, each person has a different personality, perspective, approach, and particular way of expressing themselves. As a result of having a large family, I have learned to interact with different people and to stay calm in stressful situations.
In a family as large as ours, you learn to be caring as you are constantly thinking of others.
Whenever my mom buys a toy, she always says, “Lo que entra a la casa es de todos” (what enters this house is for everyone), teaching us at an early age that everything must be shared. Soon that sharing mentality helped me understand that the highway to happiness is accessed by giving to others and caring for others. While I learned this at home, I do it outside of our family through school clubs like Aproquen, ANF and others that promote positive change in the community. The older sister “duty” has become a way of living as I care for those that need help in my community.
When I think back on all the memories I have of my siblings, I can laugh until my stomach hurts. Images of Mariana changing ten times behind a pile of clothes or Sebastian screaming because he lost while playing the PS4 game, motivate me to take everything in stride and relish the small moments that make up my life. As a result of becoming a more strategic, caring and adaptable person, I now have a broader perspective, with the necessary skills, to help others in a better way. My family taught me that life is full of new experiences and challenges, but with the right “motherly” skills and qualities, I will overcome any obstacle that is in my way.
Ana Sophía Vega is a senior at St. Augustine Preparatory School. She is the Vice President of Aproquen, an officer of ANF and founder of the Photography Board. These roles have helped her as a person, shaping her leadership, social, and dynamic skills. When not working on the clubs, Ana spends her time working on photography, painting, spending time with her friends and family, or watching shows on Netflix. She loves expressing herself through art and chilling with her friends. She wants to study architecture or business; she is not sure yet but she will find out before May 1st. She wanted to
study architecture because she aspires to use her creativity to serve others and realize their dreams. On the other hand, she loves business and wishes to make a difference in the economy of her native country by creating her own company. Big dreams for a young woman, but great achievements start with great dreams.