A Thank You to Immigrant Parents

Anyone who is the child of immigrant parents, or is an immigrant themselves, recognizes that our parents possess more strength than anyone we know and looks at the world through a bigger and brighter lens.

I say this because immigrants encounter a myriad of struggles throughout their journeys that many people know of, but never personally endure. A life of duality brings with it appreciation, lessons and fearlessness.

The initial struggle our parents are faced with is often the drive that forces them out of their homes and prompts them to relocate and make new beginnings. In many instances, like my own, this happens to be war and the aftermath of it. Economic, social and political struggles follow them for a lifetime to come.

Not only are they strong and courageous, but our parents are selfless. Selfless enough to leave behind family, friends, culture and comfort among everything else they know and love. Selfless enough to travel across the world to a country whose language they do not speak, only to spend years upon years learning it. Selfless enough to start over at the bottom of the class hierarchy in this foreign country just to work their way up year after year. They are selfless enough to put our future before their own lives to ensure that we get the proper education and work opportunities.

There comes a point of realization in every immigrant child’s life when they reflect on everything their parents have given up for them. However, many times, our parents do not speak to us openly about the hardships they meet. I hear it in my mother’s voice when she struggles to say a word in English in fear of being laughed at. I see it in my father’s bloodshot eyes when he comes home from being on the road for seven days; he bought me the biggest and most comfortable bed to sleep in every night and the price he paid was his own rest.

When I was younger, I did not have the nicest clothes or the biggest house -- but I did have two parents who would give me the entire world if I asked for it, by any means possible. I have never known anyone to work harder than those who immigrated to this country nor have I known anyone to value and love their children more. To this day, those statements still hold immense truth to me personally. I now understand that this is because they have something to work for, they have a purpose. And the unmeasurable love for their children? It is because their children are their purpose.

Anyone who is the child of immigrant parents, or an immigrant themselves, looks at the world through a wider lens and it is simply because we recognize what it took for us to be where we are today and who we have to thank for it.

When we realize what our parents have done for us and our future, we find something from within us that makes us hungry for success and so very eager to rise on top. Our dreams are big and our drive is unstoppable because we have something to prove. When we achieve our dreams and reach success, we do not do it for ourselves -- we do it for the two people in our lives who took the first step to leading us to that path and we focus on making them proud to show them that everything they experienced was worth it.

And we thank them for the rest of our lives.