By: Soleil Rivera

            Two little boys, ages 4 and 6, looked at me with curiosity.  After asking who I was, called their mom and continued playing in the humble, but clean living room.

“I will be with you in a minute.”

“OK”, I replied.

A young, tall and slender woman with light tan skin and long curly brown hair enters the living room, wearing flat shocking pink sandals, blue jeans and a pink blouse.

A noise comes from the kitchen.

“That’s my mother making dinner”.

“Thanks God I have her”, and sat on a chair in front of me.

She observed, with loving eyes, her two boys for a moment.

“When I see my children healthy and happy it’s joy for me and remind me of my childhood.  It was not pleasant nor was I the happiest girl in the neighborhood.  My parents got divorced when I was 4 and my mother later remarried.”

Mrs. Olga Montalvo, a 46 years old hard working woman, admits feeling guilty because due to her job she was not able to give her daughters more attention.

“My former husband and my daughter never got acquainted due to his strong character and her big mouth.  Keysis always had an answer for everything.”

“I do not remember much about my father.  He’s a drug addict; in and out of prison three or four times.  He was not there for us.  The fatherhood figure is very important in a child’s life.  Perhaps that is one of the reasons why my first boyfriend was 6 years older than me and my present husband is 10 years older.”

She looked at her older son and paused.  It seemed that something made her feel very sad.

Six years ago, Keysis with her boyfriend Pedro and their 2 months old son, Luis Yandel. A few months before Pedro died.

Six years ago, Keysis with her boyfriend Pedro and their 2 months old son, Luis Yandel. A few months before Pedro died.

“I was pregnant at15, a mother at 16.  By the way, today it is the 6th anniversary of the death of my older son’s father.  The baby was two months old.”

Her voice broke and tears started running down her cheeks.  Keysis’s reaction took me by surprise and I just sat there waiting.

“His parents and friends sowed bad seeds in his mind telling him that the baby was not his, but God is just.  My son is a physical image of his father.”

She paused while her mother caresses her hair.

The neighbors criticized Keysis, blamed her mother for what happened and made all kind of judgments.  Because of this, mother and daughter argued constantly.  Keysis admits that she did not understand that all her mother was doing was to protect her.

Keysis and her sister agree that they have disappointed her mother by then, but she never stopped helping and loving them. She worked even harder when their stepfather moved away.”

“An abortion never came through my mind.  No, I was not going to kill my baby.  It would have been horrible.”

After her boyfriend’s death, his parents came to see their grandchild, but their visits decreased.   Sometimes Keysis calls them just to let them know about their grandson.

“I believe my husband has failed as a father because he shows preferences for his own son, forgetting he is the only father my older son has known and that he always calls him papito. This really hurts me and I try to give him and his brother all my love and set a good example. ”

Her voice broke and made a great effort for not crying.


Keysis, 17, delivering her second son Luis Yavell.

“When my first son was born, his hair was almost white and my mother thought he was albino.  My second son is also blonde and nobody thinks he is from a different father.”

With her mother and sister’s help, she completed High School, obtained a pharmacy assistance degree and took modeling courses.

“I earn some money in a part time modeling job which helps me with house expenses and clothing for the boys.  Among my goals is to find a full time job as a pharmacy assistant and modeling.”

As she talks one was able to observe her strong determination in her gestures, the light in her eyes, her excitement.

“I am 22 now and consider that the modeling classes helped me in the way I dress, walk, talk and behave.  I have controlled my temperament.   My relationship with my mother and sister has improved a lot.  Now we really communicate and understand each other.”

Her sister gets into the conversation and comments:

“She is my example to follow.  My sister has overcome so many obstacles that I am sure she will reach her goals.  She gives me true advice.”

Keysis, a few months ago, with her two sons, Luis Yandel, 6, and Luis Yavell, 4, during her first son’s Accomplishment Day Activity.

Keysis, a few months ago, with her two sons, Luis Yandel, 6, and Luis Yavell, 4, during her first son’s Accomplishment Day Activity.

Keysis knows that there are still some differences in her household, but they are working on them and will overcome everything for their family’s sake.

One of her teachers once said that she has developed a great capacity to understand people and motivate them.

“Helping others to overcome difficult situations is helping in this process of healing.”

Now her face is illuminated with the light of hope and faith in herself.

I believe that after the storm, the sun rises.


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