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The Holidays

By , Ellicott City, MD
Every year on Christmas and Thanksgiving, my extended family in Maryland would get together for a party. And every year, I am asked the same question, “Where is your mother?” And the answer to that question is always the same, “She is working.” Over the years, this question has merely become a formality between my aunts and I. My mother emigrated from Laos, where she had a very limited education due to her family’s poverty. She arrived in America, believing that she would have every opportunity in the world, but she was wrong. Her grade-school education and incapacity to speak English would prevent her from leaving her waitressing to find a higher paying job that was also less physically demanding. Because she grew up in poverty, she had a mind for money, hoping to make as much as she possibly could so that I could have a better life that she did. However in this process, she had little time to spend with me on a daily basis, including holidays.

Sitting in the midst of my aunts, uncles, and cousins during holidays, watching everyone laugh together, share food, tell each other stories, causes me great sorrow, but great joy at the same time. I always wish that my mother could be there to participate in these festivities, but I realize that her obsession with making money will inhibit her from ever attending one of these functions. What I am thankful for is that while my mother cannot be there, I am surrounded by people that love me during the holiday season.

As I reflect on this experience, I realize that I never want to be like my mother in this respect. While finances are extremely important, they have absolutely no priority to family. This has pushed me to strive to attain higher education in order to secure a stable job and income, so that I will never have to inflict the same experience on my family and friends. It has taught me to be a better sister, a better daughter, a better friend, and hopefully some day, a better mother and wife. I always try my best to make time every day for my friends and family, especially in the most crucial of times.





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