On Being a Parent

You never know what being a parent is like until you become one. As a father of two sons, I appreciate and love my mom even more for what she had gone through. Every now and then, she would remind me how angry and worried she was when I came home late or didn’t come home at all when I was in high school. I didn’t do anything wild. I just stayed at my friend’s house and played tien len (Vietnamese card game) for dollar bills all night. At that time I didn’t think it was a big deal, but now I can see why my mom was terrified.

Our mom placed all of her hope and love on us. She chose her kids over her men. One of her legend stories is how she broke up with my sister’s father. She told him to watch his daughter and he covered her up with the blanket when she cried instead of trying to calm her down. She confronted him that he might suffocated her. He beat her up. She just let it go. Once she napped her daughter, she beat his ass and filed the divorce. This is just my mom’s side of the story; therefore, I am not sure how it all went down. Still don’t ever fuck with my mama’s babies.

With my father, she rather took up the opportunity to go to the States to give us a better life then stayed with him. When he came to the States with us and decided not to stay, she bought him one way ticket back to Vietnam. She let go of husband but never her kids even though rising kids is a tough challenge. My dad either couldn’t live up to the challenge or simply didn’t care. Now that I am a father, I can see why he couldn’t deal with it, but unlike him, I won’t run away from my responsibility.

Like my mom, being a parent trumps everything else. Even if my relationship with my wife turned sour, we still have our share of responsibility for life. Just that bonding alone should hold us together if everything else failed. Sure, we fell in love, but we can so fall out of love. We have gone through tough times, but we can no longer just think of our own lives once we have kids. We simply can’t throw the kids away if we don’t want them any more. No one put a gun to our head and said, “you two better make some fucking babies.”

Yes, I am a flawed father. Sometimes I felt like, “What the fuck had I gotten myself into?” I never prepared for this, but I will not give up. My mom is my best role model, but I also learned the experience of not having both parents. I am not saying that my mom didn’t do a heck of a job raising us, but still something felt missing. I definitely don’t want that missing piece to fall on my children.