Sometimes we connect with a child, not ours by birth, who becomes as close if not closer than our own children. My life has been blessed with such a relationship. Her birthday is the same day as my natural daughter's, only six years later. Mayka is now 26 and I am very proud of her accomplishments. As a columnist I wrote about her life and she has been referred to in my books and other writings. She was my next door neighbor when she was young and I have watched her grow into a beautiful young woman whom I think of as my unofficial adopted daughter.
As high school graduation is this week I would like to share the story I wrote about Mayka in the Cibola County Beacon in 2003. The end of the story is: because of her determination, hard work and focus she realized her dream and is now a trauma nurse, a job she truly adores. Now for the middle of the story.
The Next Step
Mayka is a spirited young woman who knows who she is today and who she wants to be tomorrow. She is a member of Grants High School graduating class of 2003 and is prepared to take the next step into her future.
One of Mayka's favorite sayings is, "What you put in is what you get back."
She does not understand students who do not begin preparing for graduation when they start high school. Many of her freshman peers did not graduate. Mayka was on the Honor Roll for four years and is one of twenty students included in Who's Who Among American High School students.
She has such a full life it would make most people tired just thinking about it. During her senior year she was secretary of the Anchor's Club, a member of the Spanish Club, Teens Needing Teens and Mesa. She has done volunteer work for Cibola General Hospital, Roberta's Place and is a member of the 2003 American Red Cross Disaster Team. Mayka also has an up-to-date CPR certificate.
When Mayka was not in school or volunteering she worked at one of three part time jobs. She worked nights at the West Theater, conducted demos for a marketing company at Wal-Mart and worked part time at Bealls. She paid all of her personal expenses such as gas and car insurance, her cell phone and clothing. She said she did not mind because it prepared her for leaving home to attend college. It taught her to budget her time and her money.
"Both of my parents have always been there for me. They taught me to share and appreciate others. No matter how busy their lives are my family always has dinner together. After dinner we talk about our day, especially things that may be bothering us", she said.
She has four younger siblings; two sisters sixteen and nine and eight year old twin brothers. Family members are very supportive of each other and their individual interests.
Mayka learned at the young age of eight how to cook, clean, wash clothes and care for her siblings. Nobody asked her to, she wanted to do it. Her parents just accepted her natural mothering tendencies. She feels that her early family experiences made her strong and taught her to be responsible. It also may have been the first step to her future goals.
Mayka said, "Caring for others makes me feel good."
This is one of the reasons she decided to go into nursing. In preparation she took classes at NMSU Grants Branch during her senior year along with her regular high school classes. She has been gathering information from the Cibola General Hospital staff to help her decide between the two-year nursing program offered at UNM in Gallup and the four-year program offered in Albuquerque. she will be taking classes in Gallup this to finalize her decision.
Mayka originally wanted to be a doctor, but participating in the National Youth Leadership Forum on Medicine in Atlanta, Ga in the summer of 2002 changed her mind. Witnessing a heart operation on a child convinced her she would probably become too attached to her patients to be a doctor. Mayka knows what she wants and what steps she needs to take to make it happen.
Mayka will be coming home this weekend to offer support to her youngest sister who will be graduating from Grants High School on Friday. I am excited that I will get to visit with my unofficial adopted daughter.