Asian Immigrant Moms and Dads…We Love You Long Time!
I understand that not all parents are fantastic. I understand that there are many who put themselves 1st to their own children. I understand that there are legit reasons why some kids have broken relationships with their parents. But there are also those who are so blind to all that is good and treat their parents like crap as adults.
But what I do know is that there are those who maybe weren’t the most loving or sensitive…all humans are built differently and love can be shown in many way…BUT they did everything they could to make sure their kids had a fighting chance at a good life…at a better life than they ever did.
My mom and I were just talking about this yesterday, being a parent is hard enough but to come to a new country where you don’t know the culture, where you don’t know the language, where you are so different from the majority…That makes it all the more crazy. I remember them struggling with trying to figure out the homework for us kids, living on a daily basis scared and nervous yet with a smile on their faces so that we wouldn’t see anything but hope and positivity on their faces.
The eggs that were thrown at our house and car, the dog sh*t that was thrown at our front door, the screaming and mocking of my dad when he would be out front doing yardwork by the neighborhood kids.
You see, we were the first Asians to move into our neighborhood and they didn’t like it one bit.
Yet he wouldn’t scream back, he never ever did. He would just look at me smiling and say that they were just being silly and tell me to go inside the house.
I remember my mom dropping us off at school and Chris and I would be screaming and crying because we didn’t want to leave her. We were different than the other kids. We didn’t know what anyone was saying and she knew our struggles. Unbeknownst to us, she would sit in the parking lot crying too and would leave when she couldn’t hear us anymore.
But Chris and I picked up the English language pretty quickly and one day when the sounds of a conversation happening in English was heard in the home where the Korean language had only been spoken, my mom came into our room and freaked out telling us we were only to speak Korean at home and to never forget that.
I was too young to realize the magnitude of that moment, of that day for my mom because her little kids were becoming “American” in every sense of the word. She was afraid that we were going to forget the language, dismiss the culture and become kids who just looked Korean but were American in every other way.
We continued to speak Korean in the home…well, more like Konglish, but my parents made sure we went to Korean school as kids so we could learn about the culture and be able to read and write in Hangul. We still totally can and while my brothers ability to speak Korean is awesome, let’s just say that when I speak to my aunts and uncles, they kinda stare at me smiling and then look to my mom to translate my Korean to them. Hahahahaha. My Korean verbal skillzoids are totally the sad but my parents are able to understand it and that’s the only thing that matters to me. My parents are always teling me to teach the boys how to speak Korean and Mike likes to remind them that I need to learn and master it first. Hahahaha…Butthead.
My parents told me the story about the first time they went to pick up their developed pictures here in the states back in ’79. The cashier charged them way more than they thought it would costa and handed them a large box. They came home to find 3 t-shirts with the pics printed on them. They had no idea what they were doing and accidentally ordered shirts. Hahahaha. They said they also got totally lost driving home and what should have taken 5 minutes took them an hour…
But they made it home and they made themselves a great life as they continued to learn, embrace and conquer all the things they had initially feared when they had first stepped on American soil. They did everything for us, and while we were never rich financially, we were enormously rich in love and family togetherness.
We don’t realize the sacrifices they made or see the entire picture until we’re older and especially when we have our own children…things they lived through which we will personally never experience.
There are so many more stories…I’ll share them someday.
My parents have joked in recent years that coming to America, we accomplished a lot of things as a family. One being, they got to officially become a mom and dad to a big white boy they love and adore. Hahahaha.
I never assume that life just happened to work out okay because the universe worked its magic…I KNOW everything worked out for my family growing up because my parents made it happen and because God was always a part of our lives. They set up the ground work, the foundation for us and for that, Chris and I will be forever grateful.
So here it is, I am not only saying thank you to my parents but also to the elders who have similar stories and have raised wonderful amazing people I call my friends.
We still have the t- shirts somewhere…I will have to find them and post one of these days 😉
Love you long time,