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I learned from my mother that walking through a mine field isn't the hardest part of life.

Joined: 6/7/2011
Posts: 1
My mom always told me to follow my dreams and get an education, something she was not able to do. My mother grew up in Cambodia as a Chinese kid and poverty took a toll on her whole family. The kids would wake up early to sell bread and candies while their parents stayed at home and yelled if things weren’t clean or tidy enough. They could only afford one new pair of clothes and shoes per year. It was certainly not your average household. My mom worked extremely hard every day and she has survived the Khmer Rouge. She has seen babies and innocent children killed, as well as many others. It is not something we talk about often, but I am glad my mom is willing to open up to me about that part of her past.

I remember her telling me that while she was growing up, she never understood why everyone else’s parents were so kind and loving towards their children while her parents were so demanding and cold; I think that is why she has shown me and my older sister so much love and support. Any parent could take their anger and hatred out on their own babies, but it takes a kind-hearted person to fully love and support her children. My mom told me about her school experience back then. Mom said, “If I asked your grandpa for school supply money, he would say ‘If it is so difficult to go to school, then don’t go at all!’ So I had to earn the extra money with another job.” This was when she was in elementary school! My mom got her first job when she was old enough to walk and it still wasn’t. In Asia, the boys are typically the pride and joy of the family because they are the ones who will carry on the last name through generations. So naturally the girls are the workers and the “unwanted” ones. My mom being a middle child and a girl did not get much attention but plenty of the workload.

Finally one day my mom had enough and at age sixteen, left for a fresh start in America. She had to trek through the jungle and avoid the land mines planted at the Thailand border. I can’t imagine what she was feeling when she went through. She just said simply, “You followed the old footprints and hopefully you got through safely.” When she got here, she knew no one and barely any English. My mom is a lively and amiable person so she made friends quickly. She got herself a stable job in San Jose. Every day she would take a bus, a train, and a light rail to get to work and back. Then later down the road, she met my dad and they had us. It ended with divorce, but even when she was raising two kids herself, she never complained. That is why I love my mom so much.

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Comment by mcoly618

Joined: 5/2/2009
Posts: 472
Hi, I'm the PR Coordinator for Stage of Life. I'm leaving you this comment to let you know that your essay for our Teens and Parents writing contest was one of the finalists. Congratulations!

Here's the link to the contest summary page. We'll be formally announcing the winner soon.

Feel free to share this news with your friends and family. To be named an essay finalists in our national writing competition is a big deal. Our previous winners have been talked about on and other media outlets.

Congrats again. We look forward to seeing more of your essays/writing on Thanks for helping us in our mission of creating the world's largest pool of cross-generational stories.
Posted: Wednesday, July 13, 2011 4:26:05 PM
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Comment by mcoly618

Joined: 5/2/2009
Posts: 472
I wanted to personally let you know that your essay is a runner up for the June 2011 writing contest.


Thanks for sharing your voice on We look forward to reading more of your viewpoints on the site!
Posted: Tuesday, August 9, 2011 6:24:05 PM
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