She picks up her pencil and starts to take notes. She looks around the room at unfamiliar faces…younger faces…and struggles to pay attention as the professor lectures on, in a language that is natively, not her own.
After escaping a war-torn country, adapting to a new culture, raising 5 children into adulthood, and working the last 15 years on the assembly line level of a company that does not realize her worth…she finally decided to pursue her own dreams.
She spent the last 2 years writing a memoir, with only the hopes and dreams that the outside world would value her struggles as much as she did. At the beginning of this year, she sent off numerous manuscripts, with only a simple prayer. Her hopes and dreams became a reality when among the numerous “nos”, one publishing company finally said “yes.” Only in her dreams did she imagine that her memoir would not only be published, but that she would be asked to do a book signing, and that there would already be a pre-order of 1,000 books.
Today she is making another dream a reality. While others were getting teary eyed wishing their kids off to school…I was getting teary eyed wishing my mother “good luck” on her first day back at school…in 39 years!! She is 54 years old and starting Adult Education Classes at the 5th grade level…and I have never been more proud of her.
She has taught me a lot of life lessons, including the fact that…it is never to late to pursue your dreams and sometimes dreams really do come true!
For more on her story: My Mother, My Hero
She was the wind beneath my wings
Before I even knew how to fly.
She kept my feet on the ground
And my eyes toward the sky.
If I have touched your life in any way
I just want you to know,
You have my mother to thank,
For I am but her shadow.
She taught me how to love
And some say, I have her laugh.
Every step forward I took,
I took on her behalf.
Everything I do, I do it for her
Because she gave her life to me.
She gave up her country, her family, her friends
So that I could know, what it meant to be free.
The fear of persecution,
I will never have to know.
For bearing the burden for me,
She is the greatest of heroes.
I may grow up and change the world,
Degrees may decorate my walls,
I may witness beauty few have seen,
And travel to more places than I can recall.
But the joy of loving my mother
Will be the greatest of these things
Because without her sacrifice,
My life would not have wings.
(c) 2012 ksoranna
Personal Note: Other mothers may be great, and wonderful, and loving…but my mother is one of a kind. She left her family, her friends, and her country at the tender age of 15 and joined a resistance movement against the Communist Party. Against all odds and with the help of God’s grace she survived and escaped from starvation, a jungle terrain, enemy capture, and civil warfare to bring me into this world. On foot, she traveled from Vietnam to Thailand and from there, to the Philippines, where we were finally given refugee status by the United States. Thousands shared our journey, but we were part of the only 200 something, who made it.
Scientist used to say that it should have been impossible for a bee to fly and until recently, the bee’s success was a mystery. But the saying goes, that a bee never knew that it wasn’t supposed to fly, so it flew anyways. Like the bee, I never knew the “impossible” because my mother showed me that the “impossible” does not exist. I came to the United States as a refugee, without even a birth certificate to my name. I didn’t even know a word of English when I started Elementary School. I grew up on the lower socio-economic side of town by parents who worked multiple jobs, knew very little English and did not have a high school education. Statistically speaking, I should not have made it very far in life, but my family never believed in statistics…so I graduated high school with honors, became the second Montagnard female to graduate from a four year university and went on to law school. I am currently working in the legal field and serve as an advocate for a non-profit organization that speaks out on human rights issues. Every success I have had, was because my mother believed in me.
Happy Mother’s Day to my mother and all the other mothers out there. May you also serve as the wind beneath someone’s wings, so that they in turn can become heroes and have the potential to some day change the world.