On These Pages Are The Stories Of Our Family We Go Together ! Welcome To The World As Viewed Through Our Eyes
Lynette .......... Caedmon .......... Libby .......... Tom

Monday, October 27, 2008

Traveling with Children - The Original Adventure

Tom doesn't have much memory of his early childhood. I don't think his parents have talked about it much either. However, our plane trip to Hawaii with two small children must have started his mom reminiscing because she recently relayed the story of their immigration trip to the US. We thought you might enjoy hearing it as it was more of an adventure than any of us will probably ever have...


When Tom's parents married, his mom had no idea where her future would lead her. After a few years of marriage, his dad informed his mom that it was his belated grandfather's wish that the family would immigrate to the US. (Most of Tom's dad's family had already immigrated to the US.) She had always thought her life would be in Taiwan with her family. (All of her family was in Taiwan.) So his dad moved by himself a year earlier to prepare the way to bring the rest of the family. Next, came his grandma. This left Tom's mom to make the venture herself with 3 children under the age of 5. It was December of 1972, Tom would be turning 5 in a few weeks and his siblings were about 2 1/2 (almost the same age as C-boy is now). Tom's mom shared that she had never flown on an airplane and really had no idea what to expect...not even fully acknowledging how long the flights would be. She was on her own to take the kids through all of the initial preparations - going to the US consulate for VISA interviews, packing, etc. At the time, there was no international airport in the southern part of Taiwan, where they lived, so they had to travel north to Taipei before beginning their journey around the world. His mom's family accompanied them to Taipei. Grandma, aunts, and uncle were all there to say goodbye. I asked what kind of emotions they were all experiencing and she told us that there were lots of tears and sadness that she was taking the grandchildren so far away. She said her family was very concerned (having never been on an airplane) that she would dare to have the boldness to take her children internationally by herself. She said that she made cardboard name tags for each child and hung hem around each of their necks in case they got lost. I cannot even imagine the feelings that she must have been experiencing. She had 3 children, luggage, and no stroller, a huge communication gap... and no help. Almost 36 years ago, what type of fancy children's traveling gear was there to help a parent? Would any of us even think of attempting such a trip? She said that Tom and his brother were very well behaved for the flight but his sister had a hard time. She was very blessed by an Asian couple who sat behind them on the plane and helped with her by walking her up and down the aisles of the airplane throughout the long flight. We are guessing that they must have had to travel at a minimum 24 + hours. They flew from Taipei to Seattle to Chicago and finally to New York City. In Seattle, Tom's mom attempted to take the children to the bathroom. She didn't realize how soon the connecting flight to Chicago was leaving, but fortunately, one of the flight attendants came searching for them. She found them just in time and snatched his sister up, while mom carried his brother and dragged Tom by the hand running to catch the flight for the next leg of their journey. Eventually she made it through her ordeal and reached her new life in New York City.

We asked her if in retrospect she thought it was worth it and if she had any regrets. We asked her if she had the chance to choose again, would she have done it. She said, "Yes". What she then said was what we feel to be the ultimate love story of a parent's love for their children. In her words she did not express a single thought of any benefit for herself in this new life she had flown to. She said that while Tom's dad had reasons for immigrating to the US, the one overriding thought that allowed her to give up the security of being near her entire family and gave her the courage to leave her homeland with 3 kids in tow was the hope that her children would have the opportunity for better lives in America. She said she kept reminding herself throughout the trip, no matter what was happening, that it was all for the children. We watched her gaze back deep into her memories as she relayed this story. We caught a glimpse of her inner strength in the look of her eyes as she pictured herself young once again, flying alone in the prime of her life with her 3 little children on a fantastic voyage from Taiwan to the United States. In her mind's eye, she saw that indeed her dream for her children had been realized. The bright future she hoped for them was secured, as she nodded approvingly of who they had become.

1 comment:

  1. Very interesting. Thanks for writing that. It gives me a better perspective of where I need to have my focus.

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