Mom's sacrifice (Not So Tiny)

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My mother, father and brother immigrated to the United States from Vietnam back in 1990. My parents in their 30's while my brother was only nine years old. About a year passed by and I blessed the world with my existence, on a typically foggy night in San Francisco's Chinese Hospital. It was July.

Fast forward a few years. I was maybe four or five years old. It was the first time I learned how to lie. A lie that had to be repeated for more than half my life. I would have to lie that my mother wasn't a criminal. Forced to tell people my mother had to go away for work, but in reality, she was sitting in a jail cell. Why was she sitting there? And not at home with her two sons?

She was the bread winner. She was a thief. A burglar. A real criminal. She would steal from places that carried fancy brands like Louis Vuitton, Hermes, Christian Dior and etc. Expensive bags, clothes whatever it was that brand had, she would take it. Sell it for half the tag price and walk away every week with anywhere between $5,000 to $10,000. Insane.

Eventually all the fast money caught up with her. She was caught red-handed and ditched court. The bail bondsman sent out their bounty hunters. They made the arrest with the help of SFPD. I could remember it vividly. My mother already knowing the situation when they rang the doorbell. She darted to the backyard, hoping to stay hidden in the garden, but she was never great at playing hide-n-seek. Even until this very day, it would have to be the most terrifying moment of my life. So much confusion. Here I was, barely five, watching all this drama. My angel of a mother, cuffed and stuffed into the backseat of a cop car.

My father is a leech. He doesn't understand compassion. He doesn't know how to be a father. He takes and takes but never gives. My mother single handedly fed all of us with her dirty money. We were spoiled. We had the coolest clothes. We had the newest games. We had it all. We were ignorant to the fact. I was definitely was. Dad took advantage of it. He got hooked on crack, in stories I heard later in life he would take all the money she sacrificed her freedom for and blew it on drugs and gambling. Useless. Even now.

Visiting her in jail was overwhelming. I was young. I couldn't make any sense of it. I just remembering looking at her through a glass divider. Tears dripping down both our eyes. I couldn't really talk. All I remember was saying "When are you coming home?" "Soon" she would reply. Realizing now as I'm writing this, how heartbreaking it was for her to see me but not be able to hug me or kiss me. It hurt me too. I just wanted my mommy back. I missed the comfort only she could provide.

She was released after 90 days, it was her first offense. But it wouldn't be her last.

Created: Apr 28, 2017

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