In the midst of ups and downs and male woes that I could write a 10 book series about…there is one man who still stands out among the rest. And after 27 years…he is still the best. My father is one of the strongest men out there. He left his family at the age of 19 years old, knowing that he may never see them again, to join a cause that he believed in…and that was to fight for his country. During that journey he met and fell in love with my mother, who was of a different tribe and spoke a different language…and won her over with his shy smile. And almost 29 years later…he is loving her still. He fathered 5 children…while working numerous jobs, learning English, and getting his degree.
My father is not the richest man…he is not the smartest man…he is not the strongest man…but he has taught me more about life, then the richest, smartest, or strongest man ever could.
He has taught me that you can start a new life with not a penny to your name. My father came to the United States with absolutely NO money and NO connections. He started working right away and made $5 a DAY!! He now owns his own home, car, put himself through community college, maintains a steady job, and still managed to put 3 children through higher education. If my father has achieved this much from so little…I know that money is not an obstacle unless you make it one.
He has taught me that knowledge is power and it’s the type of power that no one can take away from you. If you don’t have the knowledge, then you do what you need to do, to achieve that knowledge. My father may not have an architect’s degree, but he helped build his own home. He may not have a mechanic’s license, but my father knows how to fix everything from an oil filter change to spare parts. My father may not be an agricultural specialist, but his little garden grows everything that can be found at the grocery store. He may not have a linguistic degree, but he speaks 6 languages: Rade, Jarai, Vietnamese, French, English and Thai. And I could go on and on. I wonder how many people with PhD’s could compete with a man who holds knowledge as vast as my father’s.
He has taught me that strength is not found in height, muscle, or weight….it is found in the heart. I believe that the heart is the strongest muscle in the human body. It is the only thing that can break over and over again…and not only endures, but grows stronger afterward. He has seen his country fall, his comrades die, and lost his family and friends at a young age. But he has grown to love another country, made new friends, and been the father that he never had. I hope I inherited half the heart that my father has.
So HAPPY FATHER’S DAY to my Ama (father) and all the other father’s just like him!!
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.