Thanksgiving is a time of gratitude, a time of appreciation. This is what I’m thankful for: Quyen, my wife of 15 years. She is my foundation, my best friend, the reason I get up in the morning, the person I hold lovingly in my arms at night. She is the mother of my children and the person I cherish with all my being. In an uncertain universe, she is my light.
Kevin, my twelve-year-old son. When I was growing up, I wasn’t sure I wanted to be a parent. No, I was certain I didn’t want to be a father because I was afraid of the responsibility. Being a parent is the single most important job anyone can ever hold, and I didn’t want to screw it up, so I told myself I wouldn’t take it on. Safer that way. Quyen believed in me when all I had was doubt and fear. She knew I would be a good dad, and that was enough for me. Now, when I gaze upon my son, I am filled with a sense of wonder. The world isn’t such a scary place. No, in fact, it’s a place of joy, of braces that need to be fitted, fantasy books yet to be read, Minecraft to be played, miles to be jogged in an afterschool running club, and a future of hope and bonding between father and son.
|picture by Cliff from Arlington, VA|
Kristie, my nine-year-old daughter. Quyen and I named our little girl after figure skater Kristi Yamaguchi because of the Olympic athlete’s artistry on the ice. Kristie personifies her mother’s grace in that she knows what to say and do in any given situation. She knows how to make people comfortable, and everyone trusts her. Kristie is the embodiment of all that’s good and precious in the world, and I am so very blessed to be her father.
Work: Sigmund Freud—“Two hallmarks of a healthy life are the abilities to love and to work. Each requires imagination.” In working at a college, sometimes I face bureaucracy and politics that tarnish the real purpose of why we’re here. Every day at San Diego City College, I get to help students who are striving for something better in their lives, and they’re doing it through education and learning. That's what we're really about.
Books and writing: there is a beauty and power in words. They can convey so much when a story comes from a place of purity, of soul and spirit. When words ring true and connect to the fabric of our being, it is something miraculous and awe inspiring. Thank you to Jeannette Walls for the The Glass Castle, for teaching me that a child can persevere and forgive in the face of the most desperate circumstances. Thank you to Antoine De Saint-Exupery for The Little Prince who learned to see with his heart. Thank you to Cormac McCarthy for The Road, a post-apocalyptic world of darkness and despair that opens a window to life and humanity. Thank you to all the writers who struggle to compose sentences in the hope of giving us a glimmer of truth.