Often I would wake to the screeching sound of sirens fading in and out above my bedroom window. I lived in a cozy two-bedroom apartment with my mother and two younger brothers. The walls were chipped plaster and the carpet reminded me of sticky green moss. My mother had just separated from her second husband, and our income was far lower than the national average. It was incredibly hard for her to support three children, especially in a city like Albuquerque, but she managed to keep us clothed and feed. Every night I could hear my mother cry alone in her room, and every day I promised myself that when I grew up I would make enough money to support her. I frequently daydreamed that I was a corporate executive flying all over the world in the company jet while sending great sums of money to my mother, so she could live the lifestyle she deserved. I dreamt that I would stand in front of her, a grown woman, and I would present her with a suitcase full of money to do with as she pleased. I realize that this was rather silly, but as a child you don"t really think in terms of practicality. I just wanted to look my mother in the eyes and tell her that she would never have to work again, and as I grew my dreams never changed. .
Though my mother remarried and our lifestyle became quite different, I still desired success and wealth. In high school I worked hard, receiving several academic as well as athletic letters. I participated in Dance team, Cheer squad, student council, blue and white club, and drama. I knew that if I studied harder or participated more, that I could be the first in my family to actually attend college. My senior year I was accepted to the University of Nevada Las Vegas with a 2,000 scholarship. I was euphoric. My dreams were becoming reality. I could see the pride in my mother's eyes as I accepted my diploma onstage. Tears streamed down her face in small rivulets. Ten years of back breaking labor and surviving from check to check was finally rewarded.