The things we mothers do for our children — the love of a mother does not know limitations or boundaries, long nights or exhausting days. The love of a mother keeps on going, unconditionally.

Just recently, my oldest daughter got sick and we had to visit the hospital's emergency department on two different occasions. The first time, after a long and exhausting clinical day, I took her to the ER without hesitating, tried to console her and stayed at her bedside for many hours. It didn't matter how exhausted I was, how many hours I spent that day standing on my feet, or even how long it had been since I last ate. Every strand of exhaustion and hunger seemed to be erased from my body and my mind, and all that mattered was seeing her get better soon.


She even realized it and asked, "Mom, aren't you tired, aren't you hungry?"

"No, I am fine, sweetie," I said.

Then she added, "Mom, I am so sorry you have to do this after your long clinical day," to which I replied that she didn't need to be sorry. I was fine and I was not tired. There is nothing more important for us mothers than our children's well being, and nothing mattered more for me than to be there for her.

That moment showed me how caring my daughter is, how she really cares about me; but it also showed her, once again, that a mother's love and commitment to her child goes beyond any possible physical exhaustion. In those moments, it's like a reserve of strength kicks in and suddenly you don't feel tired, you don't feel hungry — all your personal worries or concerns go away, and all that you care about is your child.

Unfortunately, she didn't get better as soon as we had expected, so we had to return to the ER very soon after that first visit. My daughter had the same guilty feeling for "making me" go with her again to spend long night hours in the hospital. I reassured her that there is nothing more important for a mother than to be there for her children when they need her, and I would never let anything come in the way of doing that.

It was crucial for me to be able to take care of her, to be there for her when she needed me the most; it is my purpose and my calling as a mother. Every time I looked at my daughter and I saw that thankful look in her eyes as she said "Thanks, Mom, for being here," while she extended her hand to hold mine, there was nothing more moving and more fulfilling for me.

Those moments took me back to my teenage years and those days when my mother endured the cancer treatments with me. I remember those nights when she would rather sleep in my room, although uncomfortable for her, to watch over me and help me every time I was having the horrible side effects of the chemotherapy. I remember the sleepless nights she faced, just watching over me and making sure I was not running a fever or in pain. All the sacrifices that she made just to take care of me, just to make sure I was well and I was being taken care of, even before meeting her own needs. I thought about her and my heart filled with such an immense feeling of gratitude, so great that all the years that I have left with her will not be enough to thank her.

A mother's love is unconditional and never-ending. It is always there to fill our hearts when we need it the most. As a mother now, I understand we mothers do not see these moments as sacrifices, but instead as a calling, because your children become your first priority and your most important project of life.

Marta Cruz-Alicea writes every other week for the Life & Times section of the Carroll County Times.