A Letter to my Parents: Small Business Owners during Covid-19

sunset with mom and baby in background

A Letter to my Parents

Dear Mom and Dad:

 

I can’t quite put into words what I wanted to tell you two in-person, so I thought writing a letter instead could help unravel and organize my jumbled thoughts. 

 

These past few months have felt like a rollercoaster, to say the least. It only feels like yesterday when we first opened the doors of your coffee shop to the world. I will never forget the expressions on your faces that day. The look of pure joy from two Korean immigrants who finally achieved the American Dream. The crinkled eyes, the prominent dimples, and the illuminating smiles that could be seen and felt from miles away. 

 

But now it’s different. 

 

The light that was once radiating from your faces is now clouded with stress and worry. Every day is met with uncertainty and helplessness. Just another day of waiting for customers behind the counter. Another day of holding onto a hope that is only met with disappointing sales. 

 

I can’t help but think that Covid-19 did this. It stripped you away from opportunity, from growth. I know you’ve been waiting for this day to come since the moment you arrived in the United States. And after all the waiting, the planning, and the executing, you finally did it. You opened a business that you could finally call yours. But with the unprecedented arrival of Covid-19, all those times of hard work, patience, and preparation seemed to dissipate. The coffee shop is no longer bustling with avid coffee lovers, local families, and studious students. Stripped of its livelihood, it now stands still, stranded in a deserted neighborhood. 

 

But. 

 

You still fight. You still go to work every day, even if it means there are only going to be a few customers that come in. You still fill the shop with music, even if no one is there to hear it. You still wipe the floors, even if there are no footprints marks to clean. YouStillFight

 

I can only aspire to be as driven as you. In fact, I don’t think you give each other much credit for all the things you’ve done. Everything you do and have done for the family business inspires hope for all business owners experiencing these same circumstances. You always go to work with a mindset that people revere, an approach to life that says: “Today is another day; a day for growth, for opportunity, and for hope.” You’ve never once shown how anxious or how worried you were for the business. Instead, you exude rays of light that seem to penetrate through these dark times. Your love is constantly pouring out to others, revealing itself through simple smiles, nods, and conversations. I don’t even know if you notice the customers who constantly applaud you for keeping the business open despite the significant losses in profit. I hope you know that it isn’t just me who notices you, Mom and Dad. You have touched the lives of every single person that encountered you. And I am blessed to be a witness to those beautiful moments every day. 

 

Mom, Dad, you truly are two beings that love life and live it to the fullest. Thank you two for sharing your love of life, through the love that you have for each other and for others. Thank you for continuing to fight through the difficult times, the moments in life when it’s just easier to give up. 

 

Thank you for being the best thing that has ever happened to me since the day I was born. Thank you for giving me the most beautiful gift of all: the gift of life. Of course, there is no way I’ll ever know everything you’ve done for me since the day you brought me into this world, but one thing’s for sure: all of those moments are worth my eternal gratitude. 

 

To my rocks, my role models, and my pillars of support, I know I don’t say it enough, but I love you. 

 

With all my love,

 

 

Your daughter forever and always

Girls in the sunset