In celebrating Motherís 80th birthday anniversary, I would like to take a personal perspective and let everyone know about her influences on me.††††

 

Mom was a teacher of chemistry in high school in Taiwan, and she went to Texas and obtained a Masterís degree in Biochemistry.She then worked in the laboratory with Carl Cori, a Nobel laureate, at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH).†† As soon as she became secure in her work and legal status, she applied for immigration of her children to the U.S.I was only 8 years of age when she left Taiwan, and I did not know at the time why she had to leave us.Now that I am a parent, I know how much sacrifice she had made to separate herself from her children for that long.She spent those five years struggling on her own.I am forever thankful to her, as we would not have come to the U.S. if she did not have the courage to come in the first place.†††

 

I benefited greatly by her work with Dr. Cori, as I became a part time dish washer in that laboratory as a high school student.†† I became familiar with the acids and bases, the pipets, beakers and flasks, and mice and rats.I went back to MGHas a college student, working in the Anesthesia Research Laboratory with Dr. Keith Miller in the summer work-study program.My familiarity with the hospital also led me to volunteer as an interpreter for Chinese-speaking patients.These experiences eventually led to a career in medicine.At the end of my pediatric residency, I came back to MGH to interview for a fellowship in Pediatric Gastroenterology with Dr. W. Allan Walker.Dr. Walkerís laboratory happened to be next to Dr. Millerís, and when Dr. Miller saw me coming out of Dr. Walkerís office with Dr. Walker after the interview, he gave very kind words of praise, and I believe those words helped me in gaining a spot in the fellowship.Thanks to Momís initial introduction, thirty years later, I am still affiliated with MGH.†††

 

Even though I no longer work in the laboratory now, I am still interested in new discoveries in science.I believe this yearning to learn also was influenced by Mom.She was always young-at-heart, as she took lessons in evening school in Cambridge when I was still in high school.The classes she attended included auto repair, sofa repair, picture framing, and computer programming.These classes offered practical experience, and she was able to change tires and oil filters herself for her Volkswagen, and she repaired the springs of sofa at home.When my children took lessons in violin, and I took her to observe one of the lessons, she got interested and became the oldest student for Vicki Citron.According to Vicki, Mom was also the most studious student.

 

Another great influence that Mom has had on me was her artistic talent.She is a wonderful painter of Chinese watercolor painting, as many people in the Greater Boston area who have enjoyed her work can attest to that, and I have plenty of her paintings in my house as proof.Many admirers of her paintings observed that the brush strokes were powerful.Those strokes come from years of practice.I must have inherited at least her gene for appreciation of arts.In my youth I considered myself pretty good at pencil drawing, but I have not found the time to practice artwork, so I apologize for not developing this genetic potential fully.I still do drawing of human body at least every week, when I explain to my patients and parents how a child develops constipation.One may say that I have incorporated the art of drawing into the art of medicine.I see in my childrenís (and my nieceís and nephewís) artwork that perhaps the gene for art has already been passed on to the next generation.Hopefully, at least one of them will be devoted to the practice of art.

 

In conclusion, Mom has been a model of independence and courage for me.There is nothing too difficult to accomplish if hard work is put into it.That was the lesson that her life by example has taught me.She had never expressed any harsh words to get us moving in the right direction, as she always showed confidence in us.†† I can only try to emulate her.†††††††††