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Close-Up Of Yellow Flowering Plants On Field Against Sky During Sunset

Source: Daniel Mendler / EyeEm / Getty

In light of the recent fraught discourse on immigration in America under Donald Trump, teen artist and writer Citlali Perez penned a touching piece on her father’s struggle as a Mexican-American immigrant. Although his immigration to this country was legal, it was still a challenging experience and one that so many can relate to. At just 15 years old, Citlali’s love for her father comes through in her words below.

Of her father, Citlali says:

He’s my entire world. It’s tough to make ends meet sometimes because he’s the only parent currently working, but he manages to keep us supported. He’s sacrificing his physical health to give my mom, sister, and I a good life, and while I will never understand how extreme those sacrifices were, I will always be grateful for them. He’s an honest man who allows me to be who I am, supports all of my endeavors, and gives me a reason to finish school to give him a better life than the great one he has given me. I love him with all my being.

I Used To Pray For Rain

I used to pray for rain

Rain meant that my dad would pick me up from school in his gray Toyota truck and we’d go home to watch Plaza Sesamo while he sipped his tea and I sat on his lap

Rain meant he didn’t have to make houses pretty that day

Rain meant he didn’t have to heave 80-pound bags of concrete mix on each shoulder that

Rain meant that his calloused hands wouldn’t get pricked by thorns but hold my hand and walk me through Costco for the free food samples

But as I got older I realized he actually prayed rain’s polar opposite:

Sunshine

Sun means he could go to work and mow other people’s lawns

Sun means an aching back, pulled muscles, and the smell of sawdust

Sun means Andale mija, sobame

Sun means we don’t have to worry about next month’s rent

That same sun was bright enough to show him to way to America but not wise enough to fulfill the American Dream he was promised over 2 decades ago, as he said goodbye to his mother and father

To become the stereotypical Mexican man in America:

A landscaper

Then he became a father and found more lights in his life other than that big star in the sky

The same star that makes his skin brown

The same star he beats every day on his route to work

That same star that gifted him the empty promise of “Work hard and receive what you wish for”

But now his wife and two daughters keep the promise of rubbing his weary feet and calves so he can stand up and continue praying for sun

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