Two pairs of shoes representing my twins, Tasiana & Corina.
To me, they symbolize the journey we have travelled together and the preciousness of them – for they are always mine to love and protect as their mother, even as they turn 26 years old.
And what a journey so far – when they were toddlers, they marched with me (in a backpack & stroller) at the Million Mom March in Washington, DC. Sadly, more than 20 years later, the marched with me at the March for our Lives in Washington, DC, following the Parkland Shootings.
One day, I came home to them from NYC for 9-11 and they greeted me with hugs to comfort me because of what I’d seen.
Later that year, I covered them with my body in our car as a freak tornado hit the University of Maryland as I picked them up from the Center for Young Children. As the tornado raged outside and rocked our car, I shouted ”I love you” as I held them down in their car seats. We emerged unscathed but saw cars in a nearby parking lot flipped onto one another, and the path of the tornado.
One year later, the DC Sniper was terrorizing our communities and I remember at the gas station giving them my phone and telling them what to do ”just in case.” As parents, we shielded our children with our bodies as we walked them into school.
But as grown women, my protection can only go so far – even as I still think of them as my little ones I want to protect. I can give them tools for self defense and tips, but I can’t protect them from sexual harassment or assault (something for me as an assault survivor is so very tough). And, especially now, as Asian American women are targeted, attacked, objectified and even killed – A mother’s love and protection can only extend so far – A painful reality.