Mother’s job at Goodwill

Every time I write about my mother, just imagine my heart in a thousand pieces.
One of my mother’s first job in the US when we arrived in 1993 was at Goodwill. Something that is so amazing about many Hmong parents is their dedication to a job. Many people (me included) tend to stay at an entry level job for about 1-2 years and quit to the next part, but that’s unlikely for Hmong parents. Many of them are very committed to one job for a long time. For my mom, it has been 15+ years at her current employer. When we lived in Wisconsin Rapids, she commuted to work that was over an hour away. At that time, gas was a little cheaper and Bill Clinton was president, which my mother said was the best living conditions. My mother is just so amazing. She knew that we were little and worked the morning shift to be done with work by 2pm, so she could prepare food for us when we got out of school around 3pm. She always had donuts and food waiting for us at home. We didn’t have a lot, but we had each other.
Anyways, sorry it took me a while to get to the story, but I had to build the story for you. At Goodwill, she was usually on the main floor organizing things. One day, she was asked to go help sort things in the backroom. She didn’t understood any English then, so the supervisor pointed to a door. She was so confused and scared, she thought, what will they do to me behind those doors? What if something happens to me and no one ever finds out? If I don’t do what they ask, then they will fire me…What will my children eat? How will they have a roof over their head? (Ok, maybe the last part was a little dramatic, but I’m jux saiyan) She gathered herself together and headed to the backroom. She was relieved once she saw other workers and it wasn’t what she imagined.
Reflecting now, maybe my mom had an episode of PTSD; she was a child victim of war after all. I’m trying to imagine what her thoughts were at that age. I will never know what it feels like to watch over my shoulder, not know what’s going to happen, and fear for my life every day. Many of us are so fortunate to not feel that way. I don’t have to watch over my shoulders at all. I always know what’s going to happen; control freak-ish (not the psycho kind, just the calm kind). And I live a fearless life, for the most part. We are all so fortunate to do whatever our hearts desire because our parents made sacrifices for us and made us their priority.

Ok. I am going to go cry a river now :’(.


  1. a story about moms and parents in general are always nice. them coming here without a clue on how different this world was from the old. able to just start over and do what is needed of them. some people don't spend enough time thinking about these things and take for granted what our parents has done for us. its good to have someone remind us how important our parents was to us.


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