A Mother's Sacrifice

09/01/2022 02:29 AM By Lisa Anderson
Ocala's Hispanic Community
Regina Jaramillo
Regina Jaramillo
Story & Photo by Lisa Anderson

A Mother's Sacrifice

She was Given the Opportunity to Thrive & Become a U.S. Citizen

Regina Jaramillo was only 13 years old when she and her two sisters left her parents in Colombia for a new life in Miami, Florida. She was scared and alone. Regina was the middle child, and her older sister was 21, while her younger sister was only 9 years old. That was nearly 30 years ago, and now that Regina is a mother, she realizes what a big sacrifice it was for her parents. They gave her a chance at a better life.

Regina took full advantage of the opportunity she was given by her family. Today, she and her husband Juan are co-owners of Bright Corners®, a cleaning company in Ocala that has been in business for 10 years. “I am blessed to be born in Colombia, but I’m blessed to be here and to be a U.S. citizen. I would have not been able to do what we’re doing right now in my own country. My mother’s sacrifice paid off.”

A New Life

A mother of three children, Regina is struggling with the idea of her oldest heading to college. Luckily, her daughter is sticking close to home by attending University of Central Florida in Orlando. “I can’t fathom the idea of separating myself from my kids. I can’t imagine the sacrifice and the pain that my parents [went through]. [My mother] just thought that it would be a better life for me,” states Regina.

“In the years without my parents, it was very painful. Eventually, my two sisters ended up going back. My youngest sister, she couldn’t take it without my mom. My oldest sister, at the time, she had plans to stay and finish school, but then things didn’t go well for her—being an immigrant and all that—she went through difficult times. She was forced to go back,” Regina recalls.

“I stayed by myself with a Cuban family that took me in and practically raised me from 13 until I was 18, and I was able to be on my own. It was a sacrifice to stay here as an immigrant and all the hard things that immigrants go through.”

Regina had gone to a bilingual school in Colombia, and that made the transition a little easier for her. “I had an English tutor from the school, and she would come to my house two or three times a week. I remember telling her, ‘Someday, I want to be able to speak like you.’ She [didn’t have] an accent. She was an English teacher [who spoke] proper English. I wanted to do that. That was my number one goal.”

Building a Dream

Regina and Juan have been married for 20 years, and they had their first child when Regina was 24 years old. They have three children, now, whose ages are 18, 17, and 10.

Their oldest was 2 years old when Regina and Juan decided they wanted to raise a family in a safer environment than Miami could provide. “We love Miami. You know that saying, ‘You can take the girl out of Miami, but you can’t take Miami out of the girl?’ I love to visit, but not to raise my family.”

They had some friends who had moved to Ocala, and Regina instantly fell in love with the area when she and Juan came for a visit. “As soon as I stepped out of the car at the gas station in Ocala, I [knew] this is where I wanted to be.”

Regina and Juan made the decision early on that Regina would be a stay-at-home mom “because of my history, of what I had gone through, being without my parents at such a young age. My husband came from a different family [background]. His parents are still together, and they’ve been together probably for almost 50 years already. And we knew what that meant to be with our kids. So, my husband did not care if he had to work three jobs.”

Juan had a corporate position that allowed him to transfer to the Ocala area. Still, it wasn’t an easy transition coming from a multicultural city like Miami. “At some point, my husband wanted to leave his job and have his own thing. Instead of working for somebody else, he wanted to work for himself and start building our legacy for our family.”

They decided to open a cleaning business. They originally opened under a different name, but it was unsuccessful. The couple now jokes it was the name that was the problem. They’ve had Bright Corners® for 10 years, and they built the business together. It’s definitely a family business, with the kids pitching in sometimes.

A Beautiful Ending Beginning

Regina waited until she became a U.S. citizen before returning to visit her family in Colombia. It was 20 years later. She was able to see her 93-year-old grandmother. “That was a prayer [answered]. I wanted to be able to go back, and I would pray, ‘Lord, allow me to go back and have her there.’ I’ve been blessed enough to be there three times already, and she’s still there,” Regina smiles.

She is so grateful for the opportunities she has had here in the U.S. It hasn’t always been easy, but Regina was happy to put in the work, to be able to build a business, and to teach her children not to take things for granted. Without the sacrifices made by her parents, Regina would not have the love story with her husband, and they are proud of the life they have built together.
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