“We're going to America. God gave me a vision,” my mother declared. Since my father left our family, my mother taught from seven in the morning to midnight and donated twenty dollars to church weekly. So when she received winning visas to the United States, I believed that God had awarded her virtues.
Only shock prevented me from crying when our meals were reduced to a mix of rice and vegetables. Yet, my mother said, "God will provide everything," and chose to pray in a time of starvation. Rice. Cabbages. Rice. Cabbages. Restrained sobs. I wondered when crying had become a part of the daily ritual. But she responded by giving me her portion of her meal. "Thank you for our daily bread.”
From my mother’s simple words, I caught a glimpse at what it meant to hold onto a vision. At the local supermarket, just two miles from our home, I became fascinated by the mixture of classical music recordings and rhythmic clucking of Chinese. Nearly every day after-school for two years,I learned the rhythm of Mozart and Bach there. Five years and dozens of bandages fingers later, I not only led my orchestra the year it won national recognition, but also passed on my rhythm to other high schoolers as a violin instructor. I carry the strength of my fiddle everywhere I go, whether it be on a stage of cabbages and passersby, breaking the ice with new students, or to the applause of thousands of enthusiastic fifth graders. Just as Mother gave me hope, I will carry out all my dreams with a distinct beat.
Near my junior year, my mother lost her job from partial cervical impairment in a work-related incident and, at a point, became unable to carry more than one pound. So my arms heave up boxes of water and groceries from my bike basket, heated by the sun’s warmth on a Saturday morning. The doctor said she couldn’t be on the computer for more than half an hour when she needed to email her claim adjustor, so I typed for two hours, word for word, what she wanted to say because life is...