A letter by Phi Vu, a 2019 Year 12 student at LaSalle Catholic College, Bankstown, to his mum thanking her for her unending support and love with completing his 13 years of schooling.
Last week I finished the HSC. I know that you know that because you got angry at me for being too loud and parading around the house after my final exam; 13 years of school ending in a battle of pen and paper.
But through every late night, every evening I spent pacing in imperfect circles reciting random quotes, random syllabus dot-points, you were always there for me – to tell me to turn off the light or else I’d run up the light bill.
“Energy isn’t cheap,” You said.
In all seriousness, I want to thank you, sincerely and personally, for calming my anxiety through the 13 years of school.
I know it hasn’t been easy for me -or your bank account- like you always remind me, but you have been there every step of the way. You have supported me, stood behind me, so close that I could feel your breathing on my neck. “Did you pray before you studied?” You asked, every single time. “Of course I did. Only through God’s help would I start.” I replied.
You have continually aligned a connection to my faith with the very fabric of my being. You have pushed me to my absolute limit, made me go “absolutely bonkers”, for better or for worse, and have greatly changed the person I once was.
I can remember my first day in kindergarten. I had moved later than everybody else, so didn’t have a lot of friends. Walking into a room, eyes piercing my soul, my younger self did not know that my mother had just set me on a journey, one that encompassed my faith for the years to come.
I could never have imagined my faith could be interwoven into my life the way it has. I even remember my first reconciliation: I lied to the priest and immediately after repented to him. And then my teacher at the time had to re-explain the process of reconciliation. I don’t think I’ve ever been the one to be a great listener.
Fast forward to the time I put vegemite on another girl’s dress (to call it accidental would be a lie) and subsequently was sent to the principal’s office. Don’t worry. The priest heard all about it.
I know that leaving life behind in Vietnam and going somewhere so foreign, so new, must have been a daunting task.
You madee sure to remind me that we are lucky to be in Australia, adorning yourself in tourist-dress, “I-HEART-Australia” bucket hats and t-shirts.
You also made sure to continually stress the importance of sending me to a Catholic school.
“I could’ve sent you to a public school and bought LOTS of things!” Usually, that means a shopping spree at Supré and Kmart. And for that, I thank you. It’s the type of gratitude that can only be realised retrospectively. Us kids aren’t ones to thank our parents so I am thankful to be given this opportunity.
One of the most bittersweet moments in life is the realisation of how much you’ll miss a moment while you’re living it. How the jubilance may end, and the nostalgic memory slowly starts to process within your mind. For me, I realised it during senior graduation. Life, it moves on. Although this chapter in my life is closed, I am eternally grateful for the very things that have defined it.
By the time this comes out, I’ll be at schoolies. So, in advance, please don’t get angry at me for the things I may have already done or I am about to do.