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Happy Mother's Day

It is my pleasure to share with you stories about my mother. My first memory of  my mother is of a young woman in her early twenties, tackling the responsibilities of being a wife, a mother, and a daughter- in- law. Our family, including my paternal grandmother, lived in a small cottage within in the army training camp where my father served as an army officer. From 1960 to 1975, as the Vietnam war waged on, my family was constantly on the move. Though this was a time of suffering for all, my clearest memory is of my mother's joyful face, her optimistic silence as she bore all our sufferings, and her bravery that would bring all of us through our hardships. She lived with hope that the future would be warmer and brighter.

Like many Vietnamese families during the war, we lost family members, friends, our house, and all our savings. In 1975, when Vietnam collapsed, my mother bore her ninth child, recieved news that my father was missing in service, fled with our family to a small southern village, and started a small business to support our family, all within the span of a few months. She was not yet forty at the time. In the next ten years, my mother bore more sorrow as she dealt with fear for her children; some of us fled the communist regime by boat. Even when our family lacked shelter and food, she taught us that there were always those that were fortunate; friends and those in need were never turned away. Our family was exceedingly blessed, as we had my mother.

Good news arrived from my father in 1980; he was alive and living in the United States. When my mother and my brothers and sisters joined him in the US after ten years of separation, my mother once again adjusted to great change and upheaval, and once again began laying a new foundation for our family. As we studied, and worked hard to establish ourselves, my mother prepared food, cleaned the house, did the laundry, and made it possible for us to fullfill our dreams.

My father is now retired. My brothers and sisters and I are all educated, married, and have families of our own. Many things have changed in our lives, but my mother still cooks, and cleans, and loves for the next generation. In my entire life, in the fifty-plus years that I've had the priviledge to know her, I have never heard my mother complain despite all the pain and heartache that she has endured. Her generousity and tenacity of spirit has always been a constant in my life. Today is Mother's Day, and today we celebrate all mothers. Today, I celebrate my mother, as it is also her birthday. I thank God that he has given us such a wonderful mother. Everyday, she continues to teach us to be grateful for what we have, to be generous in love and in actions, and to work hard no matter what the obstacles. Happy Mother's Day.