The Meaning of Family

Julianne - Ridgefield, Washington
Entered on March 20, 2009
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: family, immigrant

The Meaning of Family

I believe that sacrificing things for the people you love will truly leave an imprint in your heart forever! The “American Dream” to me isn’t about living large and driving fancy cars but mainly about family. So many people have items they are in love with, but will lose those items love you back? Sure no ones life is perfect, but there is no such thing as perfect. The definition of perfect is complete and the only thing that completes me is my family. I have a very family oriented life, but it wasn’t always like that until my dad made a life or death decision.

Long before I was born, my parents and older brother lived in Romania, a country in Eastern Europe. Around that time period it was a communist country which meant having rules for every single thing you do. I imagine living in a communist country being just like living under your parent’s rules, a very restrained life and not very fun. Having many hopes and dreams and them being denied, just makes them turn into burning desires. The only way out at a time like this was by fleeing.

My parents were newlyweds with a three month old baby. A job was essential to a growing family, but this country could not offer many good ones. They had aspired to one day live in a country with no boundaries, a well paying job, and the possibility to just be happy with the family they had recently started. My dad was willing to do anything and everything to live the life he could only dream of. He secretly said his goodbyes to his bride and young son to escape the country that was holding him back.

My dad took off into what seemed like “the coldest night in March”-as he explained it. While staring across the Danube River to a country where these problems weren’t occurring, many thoughts raced through his head. He took a deep breath and jumped in, knowing this was the answers to his prayers. The only thing on his mind now was his family’s future. The water was ice cold, but he immediately felt nothing as it took over his body. The only strength he had was coming from his heart.

Years later I was born in the state of Pennsylvania with my entire family there to welcome me to the world. I couldn’t imagine life now without a full time family to support me. I visit the country of my ancestors often, but i often think if my dad didn’t sacrifice his life for what he could once only dream of, then i would be stuck in poverty and milking a cow on the countryside of Romania.

I view things differently each day, but always keep in mind, as well as my heart, that taking things for granted is a waste of time as well as breath. I know that many attempt and few succeed, but if you never give up and that flame inside of you is still burning strong, then you can achieve anything your heart is set on. No matter what obstacles may seem to get in the way, my family knows that if they already reached their “American Dream”, then they can get over any hurdle in life. A happy family is the true “American Dream” because having that support there makes you feel like you can accomplish anything.