You wake up each morning weary, tired, not sure how you are going to get through another day. You anxiously reach for that cup of coffee. You struggle to get the kids and yourself out the door feeling a bit overwhelmed as to what awaits you at your business. As you approach your workplace and power up yourself, a voice inside you whispers, “Give me your day and I will give you my strength.” You take a deep breath, relinquish your heart, and the peace of God surpasses your soul. The pressures of work suddenly seem to subside. You are now waking up each morning with a new energy and perspective. “This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.” Your new attitude of gratitude has determined your destiny of renewed strength. You are a working mom who does what she can and leaves the rest in the hands of your Master. Best of all, your husband and children are beneficiaries of your renewed energy and strength.
These simple words describe a very fruitful, hardworking, and loving mother, found in Maria Rodriguez. Combing work and motherhood is no easy feat for any person. However, Maria has found a way to do both since 2003 and has become successful. Maria is a wife, business owner, and mother to three talented and loving children. “I am a proud mother of three children. My oldest, Erika, is a passionate and caring 24-year-old. She will be graduating with her master’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology from the University of Arkansas in May. Sergio is my middle child; he is 18 years old, bright, and incredibly athletic. He will be graduating from Pleasant Grove High School and attending the University of Arkansas in the fall. My youngest is Nicholas; he is in the sixth grade and is extremely lovable and spontaneous. My kids are each unique and are always keeping me on my toes.” Maria’s story began when her family moved from Mexico to the United States at the age of 17. She quickly began to learn about the restaurant business, and, in 2003, her husband and her moved to Texarkana to open a business of their own. “Since then, Amigo Juan Mexican Restaurant has been our second home,” she says. Owning a business, especially in the restaurant industry, can be rigorous, exhausting, and challenging for sure. However, Maria is surrounded by her community and it shows. “The most loving thing someone has done has actually been through this unexpected time in our lives. I have seen the support and love many people of the community have shown me and our business. I have had neighbors, and people in our community send me and my family gifts to show they are thinking about us. They are very meaningful, and I am so thankful to everyone.”
Certainly, with the quarantine season among us, Maria and her family have been forced to adjust everyday life. “The present circumstances have brought all kinds of feelings. My kids have all been understanding of our new routines. We have spent more time together whether it is for “lunchtime” at the restaurant or an evening just sitting around at home. It is not common for all of us to be home at once and be able to sit down for dinner or lunch together, so that has been one of the good things that have come through these hard times. My husband and I had to quickly figure out a new routine to manage the business, but also be able to help our youngest with his schoolwork. With my older kids, I know they have set their own time to focus on their assignments for the week, but it has been tough to know they don’t get to experience their lasts during this season of their lives. At the end of the day, it has been nice to feel that my house and heart are full because we are all together,” Maria says.
Maria hails from a large family, one that loves to be surrounded by one another, pour out their love, and enjoy each other’s company. However, a normal Thanksgiving tradition of spending time with her family out of town, was changed one year; this event lead to one of her happiest memories. “During Thanksgiving, we usually spend it out of town surrounded by cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents, way too many to count. However, one year it was mid-football season and we had to rethink our normal Thanksgiving tradition. It was a last-minute decision to stay at home and make our own Thanksgiving dinner for just us five. We had nothing at home, and I had no idea what we were going to do, but I knew we had to find a way to celebrate. Everyone was on board and before I knew it, I had a table full of Thanksgiving plates, and my kids around the table giving thanks. This was out of the ordinary for us, but I was happy because I felt that we had all come together to make this day special. I felt that each one was contributing to making it special and a way of showing how thankful we were of one another.”
Maria thoroughly enjoys being a mother to Erika, Sergio, and Nicholas. She can recall many favorite moments of being a mother and found it hard to narrow down to just one as she explains, “There are way too many proud ‘mom moments.’ I can say that because I cry too much when my kids make me proud. I think every time one of them shows me they are growing up, both physically and mentally, I am overwhelmed with emotions. Each of them has shown me their kindness and hard work in some way and I think that is what makes me happy to be a mom.” In fact, Maria’s greatest contribution in her life that she is most proud of, is the blessing of being a mother. “I am proud to be a mom and to be able to contribute to my kid’s lives each day.” Maria is respected among her children as a hardworking, dedicated, and courageous woman. She tries each day to be a better version of herself and show kindness in any way she can. Maria is, indeed, full of love for God; and in return, He has blessed her with her health, parents to love her, a supportive husband, friends, family, her home, and her work family. She is loyal to each person, a quality she values most in herself.
What the kids say…
Our Mom is: a hard-working, dedicated, and courageous woman. She is full of love for God, family and people in her life.
We really love it when our mom spoils us. It can be the smallest act of kindness, but we love it when she goes out of her way to do more for us.
Our favorite thing to do with our mom is to make her laugh. Whether we are pranking each other or playing games, it’s fun to see her be silly.
Our mom always tells us to do our best and trust in God’s plan.
We love our mom because she is our role-model and has shown us, unconditional love.