When I was 8 years old, my mother, sister and I lived in a shelter. Only recently, my mom has been able to open up about the experience.. This is an interview not about why we were in the shelter, but my mom outlining being a single mom as an immigrant and overcoming hardship. My mother reminds me of one of our beloved symbols in Buddhism, the lotus. The lotus is rooted in mud and pushes its way through a difficult environment to become a beautiful flower.