Selfless love

Rebecca Kelley

Thu February 6, 2014 12:40pm

If my daughter and I could have an unconditional, selfless, loving relationship that Connie Huynh and her mother, Yvonne, have, I’d know I was doing a great job as a parent.
Connie walked into my life two summers ago as my intern at the YMCA. I knew there was something truly genuine about this young woman. I became closer with Connie after having my daughter because she gave me the “daughter’s perspective.” “My mother and I are truly best friends. She is first and foremost my mom, but she’s truly my friend. She always talks to me, and never down to me. Whether I received a certificate for perfect attendance in elementary school, or graduated second in my class at Eastlake High School, my mom didn’t miss anything. She worked extra hours at work to make sure she was present. She’s the most selfless person I’ve ever met in my life. She’s my hero. Born in Hue, Vietnam, my mother, Yvonne, came to the U.S. (alone, via boat) at the age of 15 for a better life. My mom lived in a refugee camp in City Heights. She was then sponsored by a Christian group for citizenship and married my father, David. Both being refugees, owning a home was truly the American dream. We moved from San Diego to Eastlake 17 years ago. Chula Vista is all that I’ve ever known.”
Connie is currently a junior at Stanford University. She is looking to attain a Masters in Public Policy.
“Every time I come home for the holidays, one of my favorite things to do is to go shopping with my mom. My mom shops smart and she doesn’t spend furiously. She’s truly taught me the value of a dollar.”
While at Stanford, Connie applied and received the Chappell Lougee Scholarship in the amount of $6,000. “This opportunity was for sophomores at Stanford. I submitted a proposal to write a book about my mom. We had the opportunity to travel back to Vietnam together so I could see where my mom came from, and hear about her journey to America. My mom is my role model. It amazes me how she is always high-spirited and positive all the time.”
When I met with Connie over the Christmas break, she just returned from a semester spent at the Department of the Treasury in Washington, DC. She is slated to go to Oxford in the spring of this year. “My family and I have been spending a lot of time looking at pictures. My brother, Kevin, is on break from UC San Diego. It’s so funny, but looking back I used to always hate all the photos that my mom took. We always had to take extra time to take pictures of everything. Now, I understand why my mom did that. And I love that about her. I take just as many photos as my mom does!” Connie’s doing something different for Spring Break. She’ll be spending Spring Break in Portland, Oregon, learning about transportation and renewable energy. “Corinthians 13, verses four through seven truly sums up my relationship with my mom.” (Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.) “Deep down, I think my mom wants to travel. After I graduate from Stanford, I want take my mom on a trip. I want to show her the world that she’s given me.”
Rebecca Kelley is South County regional director of marketing, media and community relations at South Bay YMCA.