A Latina's Sticky Past (And Present) With Her Mami & The Cell Phone

It’s been 40 years since the first cell phone call was made, and the buzz surrounding it today made me reflect on its great impact on our daily lives. In particular, how the mobile phone has carved – and often hurt – the relationship between my mother and I.

I received my first cell phone over a decade ago, when I was 14. Even before I began my freshman year at an arts high school in Manhattan, NY, I could already see the worried creases on my mother’s face. Seeing me off to middle school was easier to deal with because the distance was much closer to home. But the distance between home and my new school felt like states apart for my mom. In reality, we just lived in a different borough. Yet, you know how mothers can be.

So for her peace of mind, my mom bought me a cell phone. A slim, long Motorola phone with a soft rubber cover. I was completely enamored when I received my new device. I’d turn the phone this way and that, removing the royal blue cover and putting it back on. My first real big-girl toy.

A cell phone soothed my mother’s nerves. She could now reach me at all times – an invisible leash should I choose to accept it. And I did, because like many other Latina moms I observed growing up, my mother feared a lot in this foreboding world.