Vitra Rampersad's is the first face you will see when you enter the lobby at Newsday's Pembroke Street office, and the first voice you will hear when you call the office.
An employee of the company for 29 of its 30 years in existence, her smiling face and pleasant voice belie the many struggles she experienced as a working mother.
“I started working with Newsday as a security officer on the night shift when my son was a toddler,” she told WMN.
Prior to that she worked the night shift in a similar position at another company in San Fernando – a nightmare for any young mother.
“When he was a baby I worked with a security company in south. I would leave during my shift, go home to breastfeed him, and then return to work…Back then I didn’t know about breast pumps…It took just about 15 minutes to get home because I lived in the heart of San Fernando by my mom.”
Now a receptionist, the mother of three – one boy and two girls – said when she first began working at the paper’s Chacon Street, Port of Spain office, she worked from 8 pm to 8 am every day and would then head home to take care of her children and try to get a little rest, in that order.
“My mom would take care of them during the night while I worked…It was very difficult although my husband was also there for them…Sometimes at night my son would fall asleep on me before I left for work, and would hold on and not want to let go when it was time for me to leave.
"That was heartbreaking.”
As the years went by, Rampersad eventually left her security guard post and was promoted to take up other "daytime" duties in the company.
“I used to take the bus to get to and from work. I didn’t know Port of Spain that much, but I had to learn quickly,” resolving to work as hard as she had to in order to give her children the best life she could.
“It was good watching them grow up to where they are now; seeing them go to school and graduate, teaching them right from wrong.”
Her children, now all adults with families of their own, are still very close with their mother and have made her a doting grandmother of three – a continuation of motherhood for her, but without the struggles.
And although she doesn’t enjoy Mother’s Day as much as she did when her husband was alive, she still chooses to celebrate with her children and grandchildren.
“Since my husband passed six years ago, Mother’s Day is not the same. I miss him and still cry for him.
"He used to pamper me on Mother's Day even though I was not his mother,” she chuckled.
Today, she and her family will attend service at her church, Power and Signs Ministry, in Las Lomas, followed by a hearty luncheon.