Parents can be embarrassing. Even if they tried not to embarrass you they still do. And, I’m not sure about you, but for me I used to and still do find it shameful and even feel a little embarrass myself. My parents, well actually, my mom does not know English except for a few words. And, as a kid I used to be embarrassed about it. It was hard for me to tell my teachers that my mom did not know how to drive or talk in English. I remember clearly one day in either first or second grade I told my teacher that my mom doesn’t understand English and my dad wasn’t home. So, she would need to call my aunt, since she lives nearby, and she can just walk over to tell my mom. I can’t remember what the problem was, but it probably had to do with me not finishing my homework and forgot to put my book inside my big yellow reading envelope. Later that day during recess, this one boy and girl was making fun about how stupid my mom is. And I just cried out of sight from everyone. I didn’t even tell the teacher about it and I barely had, in fact, I didn’t have any close friends in my classroom.
Since then I started to hide the fact that my mom don’t know English. However, one day again around third grade my teacher needed to make a phone call and my dad was gone to work. I had to tell my teacher that my mom doesn’t know English. And she told me that I could speak to my mom for her to come pick me up, and, that afterward I can go wait in the office. So, after the phone call my teacher went with me to the office and waited with me while a teacher assistant was with the class. I told my teacher that my aunt will be coming along because my mom doesn’t know how to drive yet, and she calmly told me that it was perfectly fine.
Once my mom came in my teacher and the principle made me translate for my mom, in which one of my friends happened to overheard because he was in trouble. The next day, he told everyone in the classroom about how cool he thought it was. I just sort of ignored them because I thought they were mocking me; however, soon enough I begin to realize that I was in a classroom full of different students. They wanted to be my friends and they have never heard me spoke in Hmong before, more so interpreting English to Hmong and vice versa. And, they were just curious little souls about how I can do so easily. So, I told them about my mom and how she never received education even in Laos so learning is difficult for her, just like how farming and tending to a garden is hard to me but easy to her.
Of course, my mom also has chickens and ducks. I used to be embarrassed about having my friends over in case they thought that my family was crazy. However, one day one of my friends had to came over because she is related to the family who used to lived up the road. And the family is a really nice as well. I went to the check the mail and she saw me so she decided to hang out with me. I was so afraid that she would make fun our little chicken coop, but it was so different. She was like “Ducklings and baby chicks!” Of course, then my classmates knew we had chicken and ducks, and to make them even more excited I told them “we have peacocks and pigeons too.” I had a friend name Justin Peacock and he told me to name the male peacock after him, I just thought how silly it was because I don’t need another Justin “Peacock” at home.
My dad on the other hand still embarrassed me every now and then. I know that I can be careless and a little bit naive, but it’s not like I don’t know what is right from wrong. A month ago I went to take the GRE in Charlotte and my parents took me because I have never driven to Charlotte before plus we still had to go look for the place. We went inside the room, and he just kept telling the lady “We’re going to leave our daughter here and come back later when she is done.” I was just thinking to myself “please dad just stopped they don’t really care unless I get kidnap for real.” Last October when I went with my parents to the immigration center to translate for my Mom, she was taking the US citizen’s test, my dad kept interfering. I was just thankful that the guy was patient and didn’t kick my dad out of the room or failed my mom.
He is also the one going around telling stories about my siblings and I that I just sometimes want to hide under a blanket and never come out. I get it that the stories are funny, but to just keep telling everyone you meet or know is just a bit too much. At least for me it is.
Even when he is surrounded by his friends and they really get into these conversations. I know my dad is smart, but he can never just surrendered. He’s a little bit conservative and always thinks that he is right. Well, actually, he knows that his friends are not that bright, and even I know that, so he just slowly persuades them by giving out his reasons. And, they’re not stupid it’s just that they can’t bring their points across as well as my dad does. I’m sitting in the other living room and I’m just like “dad please just stop talking because you don’t know what they’re going to say about you when they leave, plus you’re being a big chauvinistic at the moment.”
Oh and when I was in college I was hated that he always called me once a week asking how I was doing and asking if I needed my weekly allowance yet. It was sort of embarrassing because I didn’t want my friends to think of me as daddy’s little girl, since I was like the most responsible one in the cottage. Then again I guess every leader also needs a guardian.
Parents are embarrassing and they know that, but that doesn’t mean that we let them off the hook. We are always trying to look for ways to get even with parents, like sharing stories about them to our friends. In fact, when we feel embarrassed by our parents it can turn out to be something greater. Your friends or teachers know more about you, it can turn out to be a strength just like how I became an interpreter for my parents and other Hmong parents. Moreover, it becomes small and meaningful memories.