The Power and Magic of Family

by Justin La

My name is Justin La and I was born and raised in Palo Alto. For those who don’t know where that is, it’s home to Stanford University, Steve Jobs, Larry Page, and Mark Zuckerberg. You can already assume how much technology has dominated my hometown. I am currently a sophomore studying Quantitative Sciences with a concentration in Economics. I am of Korean descent and I love to dabble into new things.

Justin La’s Essay

Hello, I am Justin La and I believe in the power and magic behind family. Not the magic in Harry Potter with the wands, but the sense of magic that kids get at Disneyland. Yes, it is that magical feeling of utter happiness, complete content, and absolute fulfillment. I learned that the happiest moments in my life were usually the most common moments at the time.

It wasn’t when I received my first phone, got an A on an exam, and opened up my birthday presents. Instead, it was when I cooked Korean side dishes with my mom on the marble kitchen table, watched Netflix past midnight with the family on our L-shaped couch, munched on my mom’s homemade kimchi on the dinner table, and walked the park with my adorable 6-year-old mini poodle along with some poop bags. I guess the worst part at the time was losing rock-paper-scissors to my sister and being forced to pick up poop on the cold grass field.

The list of the most simple things at the time just goes on and on. If you don’t believe me, I will keep going. If you noticed, out of the four instances on this endless list of my happiest moments, my mom was in two of them. And if the list were to become endless, the number of memories with my mom would become endless as well.

In early elementary school, my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer stage three. And for those who don’t know, there are four stages, four meaning the tumor has grown into the chest wall and into the skin. This caused me to spend most of my time with my father and sister growing up. And if my father was at the hospital, I was with my grandmother.

At the time, breast cancer was something that was hard to understand. I knew the word meant trouble, I knew the word meant my mother was sick, and I knew the word was fatal. Visiting my mother in the hospital was so valuable and I took advantage of every second with her. This experience emphasized the importance of family in my life and showed me how thankful I should be to have a family, a happy family. More specifically, I was thankful to have a mother who is now a breast cancer survivor, a father who works extremely hard to support the family, an older sister who looks after me, and a mini poodle who provides happiness to all of us (despite having to pick up her poop all the time).

Looking back, I noticed how fast time flies and the importance of living life to the fullest. So what do we do? I say we enjoy life, be thankful for even the smallest things in life, and cherish the present. To wrap it up, family is in fact “The Happiest Place on Earth,” not Disneyland.