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Fall 2022 The Blossom Law Caregiver Scholarship Winner

Aylin Martinez-Sanchez

Aylin Martinez-Sanchez is a first-generation Latina college student raised in a low-income, immigrant household. This household shaped who Aylin is today as her parents and family members instilled in her the importance of caring for others through love. Today, Aylin is pursuing a doctorate in nursing at Idaho State University. She has been practicing as a nurse for three years and aims to enhance her career through higher education. Aylin’s essay is heartwarming and demonstrates her appreciation for not only the caregivers in her family, but around the world.

Read Aylin’s Essay:

Aylin Martinez-Sanchez

All depends on a pair of hands, a pair of hands that get calloused by long days of working in agriculture and manual labor, but when at home, a pair of hands that caresses the withered face of a bed-bound mother. This pair of hands belong to my father, a Mexican immigrant who sought an improved life for both himself and his parents. As the Mexican culture goes, a family-oriented trait was rooted in his life, and both he and his brothers dedicated their lives to caring for the family as the years went by, and his parents grew old and were unable to tend to themselves in economic and self-supporting ways. With this, however, came on the decision of who would stay to physically care for my grandparents, and who would go thousands of miles away across the border to financially care for them. My father was amongst the latter; the same story goes with my mother, also a Mexican immigrant working in America’s agriculture to support her parents and family back home. I come from a strong, self-less, and respectable, line of caregivers, whom I was consistently surrounded by, inspiring me from a young age, and ultimately influencing my career choice, that there was no other act of compassion quite like being a caregiver.

The definition of caregiver differs for me specifically, solely because my family and I live in a unique situation that many Mexican immigrants live in as well. Oxford Languages defines the word ‘caregiver’ as the following: a family member or paid helper who regularly looks after a child or a sick, elderly, or disabled person. However, my definition is as follows: one who provides long-term support, whether it be financial, physical, or emotional, for another in need. I broaden my definition of a caregiver because while I know traditional caregivers are ones who are physically present at all times to help with daily activities for those in need, to which I highly respect for that self-sacrificing act, I have witnessed that one factor, whether it be financial, emotional, or physical, cannot function without the other, at least in an immigrant family’s unique situation. One part of the family worked together to care for my grandparents’ acts of daily living, while the other part of the family worked to financially support them. Two groups, thousands of miles away, worked cohesively as one caregiving unit for my debilitating grandparents. And to this day, an ongoing feat that I look up to every day, as both groups of the family juggle supporting my grandparents with the maintenance of their own individual families. Because of this, I grew up wanting to help those around me and aspire to do the same thing my parents are doing for theirs when the time comes.

One of my career aspirations, when I was younger, was to become a nurse. As I mentioned before, I was always surrounded by caregiving acts, whether that being my parents in the caregiver role, or my uncles and aunts being in that role. Whenever possible, my family and I would stay with my grandparents for long periods of time, and I would see how my parents would bathe them, cook for them, clean for them, and much more, essentially dedicating their whole day to them and us children. In the eyes of a young girl, they made it seem so easy and effortless, and I always wondered how they were able to cope with it all. Now grown, I know it was not easy. I worked hard to reach my career dreams and was able to become a nurse 3 years ago. Going into this role taught me even more about what it means and most especially, what it takes, to be a caregiver. This is another reason why I broaden my definition of a caregiver. As a nurse, I found that those sick or unable to fend for themselves at times needed more of my emotional or psychological support than anything else at times, rather than physical help, for example. A person who simply cared about them did more for them than I could have ever imagined. As I mentioned, as I went into adulthood, I realized being a caregiver was not a simple task. But another thing I realized as I matured, was that they made it seem so effortless because they did it all with love.

To be a caregiver is all I have ever known and all I will ever know. It has truly been a blessing to have grown up in a culture full of love and unity within the family as well as a family that is unified with love to provide for one another. With the love of this role, I decided to pursue a higher degree in nursing to be able to do even more for others, which is why I am currently continuing my education in a Doctorate program for nursing practice. Because of this influence, I am who I am now, and it is what will help me become who I hope to become, as a future Nurse Practitioner, mother, and daughter in the caregiver role. I can say with confidence the caregiver role is the most rewarding role to be in, and for any caregivers reading these words, thank you for all that you do.

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