Sunday, August 25, 2019

A Hmong Mother's Wish List

I used to think my parents had all sorts of expectations for me because the oldest boy in my family was the sixth child.  Although they weren't always vocal about their hopes and dreams for me, I always felt pressured by them to make something of myself so that they can depend on me. I always thought they wanted me to return home from college to fill in that role of a caretaker.

I felt like such a disappointment when I got married, had children of my own, and stayed in my college town to work on my career. I still feel horrible when I think about how they raised me, only to see me occasionally (if even).

I used to wonder if they think of me as a bad daughter, but having children of my own has taught me that I am the opposite.

I am living out my parents' hopes and dreams.

I have learned over time that the things I wish for my kids are not to make them miserable. I am at peace when my children are happy and healthy. Thus, like my parents, I want for my children to live out their purpose.

For my children, I wish you...

Courage. I wish you the gift of courage when people ask you where you are from, where you really are from, where your parents are from, and where your grandparents are from because you have brown skin and black hair. Courage to look at them in the eyes and to say you are as American as can be. Courage to be proud and unapologetically Hmong wherever you go.

Gratitude. I wish you the gift of gratitude for all the people who have helped and paved the way for you so that you will stay humble. Gratitude for Pog who has put your needs first before hers since birth. Gratitude for the meals she didn't finish so that you are bathed, fed, and entertained.

Empathy. I wish you the gift of empathy so you will be kind and patient with everyone you meet. Empathy to listen and fully understand others so that you can learn from them. Empathy to connect people together so you can build a better world.

Happiness. I wish you the gift of happiness, so your sense of purpose is fulfilled. Happiness to pursue your passion. Happiness to do what you love as often as possible. Happiness to be your best self.
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