Special Contribution to Genuine Joy by: Angie Goff
Every year when my birthday approaches my mom, Chin is first to joke with everyone that it is SHE who we should be celebrating. She's right. Before I even left the womb I was a real pain in the a**. Seriously, just days before I was due I decided to flip over and go breech on her. From there things got progressively complicated. The umbilical cord got wrapped around my neck and soon dad was signing papers saying he couldn't sue if mom, baby or both died on the hospital bed. At one point during labor they both looked and swear there was an upwards of 20-30 doctors, nurses & resident physicians in the room. Intense hour after intense hour went by before my black and blue body would emerge. It was traumatic. To this day Chin will tell you that was the hardest thing she's ever done.
Thinking of that day and looking back at how protective and strict mom was with me and my sisters a lot makes sense now. This was a woman who left her family, her country, pretty much everything to follow my military father to America and start a family. She was a fighter and survivor from the beginning. That experience in the delivery room just another stripe on her ever growing lapel of life. Throughout my childhood my dad was the one working but our mom was the general. We were her cadets who in every way she pushed to be all that we could be.
I remember coming home and saying "Mom, I got an A minus!" and without missing a beat she smiled and said "That's good.. but if you try just a liiiiitle bit harder you can get an A plus."
Chin will tell you it's called tough love. A kind of love that at times even hurt her when we reacted with disappointment, anger and at times acts of rebellion. In her house rules were simple, expectations were high but there was still love. She didn't want perfect children. She wanted daughters who knew what potential was and just how great they could be. With her broken English she may not have known the word perseverance but she knew there was something out there we needed to practice in order to survive and succeed.
On my messy desk at work I have a framed quote that reads "No one can stop you but yourself." It applies to every part of my life. When I'm pitching a story or project I feel passionately about I use it. When I ran a marathon with no training 5 months after having a baby It kept me going. When I'm completely depleted and I think there is no more of me to give and I walk through that door and two munchkins scream "mama!!" I somehow find a way to whip it out.
The age old lesson to keep going came decades before those cool motivating "Quotables." I'm convinced mine started in that hot delivery room when momma Chin decided I was gonna make it in this world no matter what.
So mom, you're right. On my birthday we should celebrate you! Help me blow out the candles from now on and know getting another year to pass on what you've taught me is one of the greatest gifts.
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