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Image by Jorge Aguilar

Mama y Papa

By Julissa Torrijo, Walnut Hills High School

*Mama y Papa received first place in the 2023-2024 Cincy Stories Writing Competition

When my parents were very young, they decided to take the decision of their life. To put themselves through the hardest journey not everyone can even begin to comprehend. The only thing still connecting them from the city of Cincinnati to their beautiful lands in Mexico being the sweet sound of their language. The language in which they have taught me all I know. The language in which they comforted and schooled me.


No matter how many years have passed and continue to do so, they still long for their home. They long for their fields full of thousands of vibrant reflections from grasses and plants, and even miss the rich color the mud exposed. They longed for the streets full of people similar to them and their country. Embraced with a sweet honey color, that only the sun gives. The tinted brown skin of those hardworking people who give everything for just the chance of opportunity, people who leave their mothers with tears in their eyes to one day return to give them everything. I will continue to reassure their hopes that one day they are able to return to Mexico, to their homes, and to the arms of the parents they left way too soon. But no matter how homesick they might be, I know they have never regretted their move here. They cherish all they were able to accomplish thanks to this city full of opportunity and freedom. But that doesn't mean it was achieved easily. They struggled through the loss of their familiar words, brick houses, and siblings.



















Yes they have built a beautiful life here full of love and prosperity, but there is not enough time to erase the memories of their childhood. The childhood that contained countless rich flavors of their youth. But in the end the day would come when most of their lives will be spent here, in the United States, inside the beautiful city of Cincinnati. I remember always thinking of this city as boring but once I found out all my parents had to do to simply arrive here is the reason I'm now in love with it.


There is beauty everywhere you go, but that always comes with hardship. And for my parents this meant a country that did not welcome them with open arms, a country not full of green fields but of red walls, blue barriers, and white people. Crossing into another stage of their lives without support from their parents, and with few familiar faces was all but simple. They were now standing somewhere where you can't communicate with anyone. Where they don't speak your language. It is admirable to see how far they have come. They are examples that everything is achieved with effort and sacrifice. I know deep in my heart that one day they will get to set foot on the lands of their people's country and their childhood again.


So what does it look like to be an immigrant in Cincinnati? Well for my parents Monica Hernandez and Omar Torrijo it was so irresistible they left it all to build their life here, with a lingering hope and longing of their beautiful home that is Mexico.


Julissa Torrijo

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