Working toward tomorrow

Junior shares love, gratitude for mom


Olivia Lauter

Junior Sydnee Taylor stands with her mother, Uyen, who is wearing traditional Vietnamese clothing. Uyen moved from Vietnam to the United States when she was 8 years old.

No verbal affection or display of appreciation. No hugging, ‘I miss you’s’ or ‘I love you’s.’ Uyen Taylor, junior Sydnee Taylor’s mom, didn’t talk to her parents during her teenage years but wants her children to confide in her when needed.

In friend drama, school drama or advice, Sydnee calls her mom. Uyen hops in the car and drives to Sydnee no matter where she is to talk through the drama.

Sydnee smiles, slightly laughs and glances at her mom as she talks about everything she has done for her.

When Uyen was 8 years old, she fled from Vietnam to Colorado with her family of seven. They came with the clothes on their back, one duffle bag stuffed with one extra outfit for each person and important paperwork. As the plane landed, a different world sat outside the airport.

Life in the three bedroom basement was the repeat of school to home before dark while Uyen’s father worked two jobs to make ends meet. There were no Sonic stops or piano lessons, but Uyen wanted to provide her children more opportunities. 

Sydnee and Uyen embrace in a hug while Sydnee expresses her gratitude.

Growing up, Uyen hated school until she went to college where it enhanced her love of learning new languages. Uyen can speak French, a little Vietnamense, English from the help of her childhood neighbors and is now back at school learning ASL (American Sign Language). After years of being a stay at home mom, Uyen went back to school in 2012 and earned a medical degree to go with her business degree.

Sydnee proudly speaks about her mom’s ability to change her situation, and turn it into the family she has today. 

Even though Uyen desires to raise her children differently than how she was raised, Sydnee hopes to do the opposite. She wants to embody the traits of her mother’s parenting- with the notion of hard work.