by Jaclyn Roco
Editor in Chief

The scent of lemon-herbed chicken sizzling on the stove, the sound of laughter wafting in the kitchen, a laden dining table groaning under the weight of countless dishes, and a smiling, bright-eyed woman who managed to make a complete life possible.

Some memories last only briefly, but I can still hear the soft beckoning of my mother to eat all that was on my plate. I remember how much I tried, but my little stomach at the time could only handle only so much. I ended up throwing away some little bits of the food into the trash can when she was not looking.

How was I to know how smart my mother was? I should have known better than to underestimate her. She knew what I was going to do and had placed a clean plastic lining on the trash. When I told her I was finished with my meal, she promptly took hold of my little fist and forced me to scoop everything back onto my plate. I never wasted food after that.

There were other lessons she taught me ­ each lesson very valuable in shaping me to become the person I am today. It was more than just the birds and the bees; she taught me about life, how life was never to be wasted- just like the food I had attempted to throw away.

When you throw the little things away, you throw away your life. This was something I learned early on.

I used to take my mother for granted, and now I realize how little I used to consider her to be in the context of my life. She was a strong presence, but at the same time she was the one who forced me to do things I did not want to do; she was the one who served me because I was her daughter, and she was only my mother.

And now, after it is far too late, I see where the mistakes are, especially on my part. Because I was her daughter, I should have served her. Because I was a part of her, I should have known that she knew me inside and out because we were really the same in mind and in body.

Like I says before, it is the little things in life that count the most. And although I used to think my mother

mattered little in my previous vain existence, she was really everything to me. I did not learn to appreciate her at the time I had her. Now I realize she was much more than someone who was in my life; she was my life.

Now, when I see the empty plate of food before me, I see the kind of life I have left to live. The empty plate signifies that my mother is no longer around to fulfill me. This fulfillment I am talking about, however, is past the sustenance that mere food can provide. Now all I have are the leftovers of something that once was, and can never be again-memories.

What was once a bright and cheery kitchen, now seems a sterile shadow devoid of warmth and light. It is rather ironic that light, sunlight that is, should be the factor that makes life possible to begin with. My light beamed from the rays of my mother’s smile. It was her light that created me; it was her life that she gave to me once she whispered her last goodbye.

And now that I know that I am she, and she is I, I will continue to share her memory with what remains of my family. For it is the little things that matter in life.