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Submitted by ttlee89 

In so many movies that I have seen before I always hear one thing, “Never grow up so fast.” However, sometimes there are many of us that can’t help but to just grow up faster than our peers. And for those get to stay around their age for a long time, I get jealous. Being the oldest among my younger six siblings, I had no choice but to become a father and mother for all of them at 18 years old. I was only still a high school senior planning to go to college and becoming a lawyer to help my Hmong community when I grew older and had a stable life. That dream was cut short.

My parents were having marital problems and me, my two younger siblings, being the older three children, knew about it. My mom was having an affair for the longest time without my dad knowing about. However, my dad soon found it but he could never caught her in the action. Finally, one day of my aunt saw my mom with another guy. She told my dad and show him a picture of it. My aunt was still young as well, she was a second year student working for her Masters of Public Health. She didn’t knew what to do so she just told my dad. He was infuriated and when my mom came home that evening, he beat my mom really bad. She called the cops on him and we didn’t know what to do. I can still hear my younger siblings’ screams and cries until this day.

My aunt went to bail my father out. And few weeks later they went to court. They have both decided a divorce was better for them. I knew right from the start that if my mom were to ever be caught, my dad would never give her a second chance. He really loved my mom and let her did most of what she wanted to do, go to her friends’ parties, giving her money for shopping, and doing chores whenever she was too exhausted.  Our immediate family was upset as well. They were upset at both my mom and dad. My mom cheated, claiming that my dad is showing less affections and that she hasn’t been receiving any warm and nice words from him. My dad, instead of taking their problems to the elder, was to rash with his actions.

My mom didn’t wanted any of us, so my dad took us all in. We lived with my dad for a few months until he decided to go to Laos to visit this girl he’s been talking too after he divorced with my mom. So,  my dad went for visit, came back and then told us that he is leaving for good. He told us that he’s upset at  my mom and now he’s going to go married his girlfriend live with her in Laos. My younger siblings cried for him not to go, but he told us that when we grow up we can go visit him. Even my uncle and grandparents told him not to go because he still had us to look after. Still, he didn’t listen and one day when we all came back from school he was gone.


I didn’t know what to do. For my entire life I never had to worry about money, food, or paying the bills. For the first time in my life I cried. My father, grandpa, and uncles always said that a man only cry three times in his entire life. As I look down far on my road, I can already tell that I’m going to cry more than three times. My grandpa comforted me that night and he too cried. Telling me how much he spent raising my dad, uncles, and aunts up and how at last my dad disappointed him the most.  

I ended up taking a part time job at my friend’s father photography place and finished my high school degree. I never went to the college that I dreamed of and only ended up at a two years institute earning my associate’s degree. Because my dad had already finished pay for the mortgage, I didn’t had to worry about spending the rest of my life paying for it. However, as I saw my friends going to school and still getting pocket money I envy them. Because I too was once like them. Now, I’m giving money to my younger siblings, paying for bills, and providing them with food and clothes. I never used to worry about not having clothes, food, or having the electricity cut off, but now I am. There was a time when I had to go my uncle’s house to ask for more rice because I couldn’t afford it. And a time when we had to go to my uncle’s house to eat because the electricity got cut off. 

My uncle told me that if I ever find a girl that I like then I should marry her so that I can start having a stable life to support my younger siblings. However, I did had a girlfriend but she wasn’t wise enough and with her behavior she can never help support my younger siblings. When I told her about it, she just stay quiet and that night she texted me “I’m sorry.” We never spoke to each other again, and when I saw her again at the Hmong New Year she was already married with two kids.

I never thought I would be living like a dead person. I still have parents, they’re both alive but dead with no grave. I remember when my both my mom and dad met with the elders, our grandparents, uncles and aunts and how they talked about the little love they have left. Maybe then they probably didn’t have any love left for us children. If they did, then they wouldn’t have done this to us. 

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