I’ve lived an ordinary life. The only one of four children to be born in the United States, my parents immigrated and struggled and succeeded in creating a new and safe home for us. They worked long hours, learned enough English to get by and found comfort and community in religion. They raised their four daughters as best they could, prioritizing piano and church over cheer leading and parties. We had enough to have a warm house, new clothes from Sears, dinners at Pizza Hut and an Atari but not enough for hotels, a vacation to Europe, dinners at Red Lobster and SAT prep classes.
I’ve lived an ordinary life. I got a job as soon as I was old enough, went to state college and dove right into a full-time job after graduation. I married, had children and bought a house in the suburbs. My sisters stories all unfolded similarly. None of us are rocket scientists or neurosurgeons but we are all happily married, employed and live within 45 minutes of each other.
I’ve lived an ordinary life. I haven’t won the lottery or an Oscar but I also don’t know what a prison or a rehab center look like. I’ve gone hungry because of my slim fast diet in college and the sporadic years throughout my youth and adulthood of discovering the secret to a flat stomach, not eating. The only scars I carry are on my left shin and left elbow from a bicycle accident when I was eight.
I’ve lived an ordinary life because of them. They’ve had love slip between their fingers, hunger comfort him to bed and anxiety their constant companion. With hope brimming high they left all they knew to arrive, 42 years later, here.