My mother immigrated to the US from Vietnam almost 40 years ago. When she got married, she opted to keep her last name; when my brother and I were born, we were given my father’s last name. But shortly after I turned 2 years old, my parents got divorced and my mom raised me from that point onwards by herself. Looking back, I admire my mother for her strength and resilience during my childhood years. She was a single mother of two, an immigrant, and had dropped out of college to raise us — but she still managed to show us love, celebrated our achievements, and encouraged us to chase our dreams. So the year before I graduated from my university, I legally changed my name from “Nguyen” to “Quach” so that my diploma would reflect her name! As a first generation graduate, I hoped that this would also let my mom feel like my accomplishment was also hers. She knew the day I went into court to change my name and cried super hard when I showed her the court-approved documents. While I didn’t actually get to walk the stage for graduation due to the pandemic, I still was able to get some great grad photos with her to commemorate the moment! (We’re wearing ao dais, which are traditional Vietnamese outfits. I’m wearing white for graduation, but they can come in many different colors and patterns, as you can see with my Mom in her gold variation.) So here we are 🙂 Mother and daughter, always Quach and finally Quach.