Category Archives: Family Matters

Both Ways

Words out of mouths of, babes…very wise, and, making, a whole lot of, sense too!  Translated…

Since Circle started preschool, she’d become, this opened up wide door to knowledge, and would always shock us in the defining moments of our, lives.

Although my mother stopped working in business, but, at the end-of-year banquet for the employees, she’d made the pork pieces wrapped up in buns to serve.  Because we’re a four-generation family, the same dishes are set up with two kinds of cuts, with the fitting portion sizes for the younger children to savor.  Since we have the pork slices wrapped up in buns, we’d also, started, making TWO different sizes for the kids to enjoy.

the bun, resembling the wide-opened mouth of a tiger, with the piece of pork in the middle, photo from online

Due to the pandemic, these past few years, the end-of-year employee meals were set up by the individual families using webcams, we’d skillfully spread the peanut powder onto the buns, and, padded the buns with my daughter’s favorite canned tuna, the baby pork floss, as our daughter was ready for the seconds, she’d suddenly blurted out, “I get to have it, both ways!”

And my older brother took the footages of her exclaiming these words, and sent it up to LINE for the rest of the families to see.  Yes, surely, absolutely, certainly, at this very moment in time, we all feel, that we were, having it, both, ways.

So, this is how easily a child feels, pleased, the young child is satisfied with so very little, she is, curious, and that’s what made her world so brand new to her experiencing it, and, the words out of those babes’ mouths, can sometimes, surprise all of us, adults too!

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Filed under Childhood, Family Matters, Interactions Shared with the World, Life, Parent-Child Interactions, Perspectives, Philosophies of Life, Properties of Life

Ms. Kobayashi

How we were raised, by your, unconditional, love, translated…

Ms. Kobayashi comes from the city of Taipei, she’s a fashionable, and pretty woman.  The year, 1951, she worked as a nurse at N.T.U. Hospital, was in love with her husband who’s looking after his classmate who was hospitalized, and started a relationship with him and married to him.  Afterwards, Ms. Kobayashi moved with him to Chiayi, to a small town called Minghsiung.  This marriage was said to, shock the entire localities—a modern woman from Taipei, marrying a poor teacher from the countryside.

Originally, all their neighbors thought, that that this woman from the city couldn’t withstand a life in the countryside, how was she going to be able to, shoulder an entire extended families’ expectations?  But, being slender and tall, she’d carried one child on her back, with an infant in her arms, and, stir-fried the foods, tackled all the tasks that her mother-in-law had, assigned, to her, never called out in aches and pains, nor that she was tired, not even, a word of, complaint from her, she’d, started, looking after the entire, extended, family then.

a family like this…photo from online

Back then, in the means of tradition, the people believed, that having sons, to carry on the families’ last names, is the duties of the daughters-in-law, and so, after she had four daughters straight, Ms. Kobayashi’s in-laws pressured her hard, she’d often cried when no one was looking.  Her gentle husband told her to ignore his parents’ requests, but, being highly educated, thought-forward, she was still willing to keep on trying for that son for the sake of love, and tradition, and finally, she got her wish, finally, a youngest son, and so, Ms. Kobayashi has four daughters, and a, son, along with her loving husband, and the family of seven lived on, happily.

In those days of poverty-stricken means, to keep the closely aged five children alive, the couple worked really hard, to make their ends meet.  Her husband, other than taking the teaching offers all around, he’d also planted the fruits, for that extra income, while Ms. Kobayashi had, scrounged up all she could, a little here, a little, there, no longer was she into the high-end shops, no longer did she buy the Pond’s face cream at the counter (in those days, Pond’s was the high-end brand), instead, she’d used the loofa lotions, nor did she buy an article of clothing for herself—and even so, Ms. Kobayashi is still glowing with beauty, with that, scent of, elegance about her.

Ms. Kobayashi sacrificed her own means of life, and, gave her five children a perfect childhood, with all the foods, all the needs, fulfilled.  In the fieldtrips of the elementary years, her kids must’ve asked her for the pricy Washington Red apples and Playgum, at this time, she’d become this loving mother in her children’s eyes; she’d also, made sure her children behaved correctly, did well in their schoolwork, and this time, she’d become, a tiger mom that made her children respect her.  And at the time, her second child was often, naughty, often picked on the younger siblings, and he was eighter punished by Ms. Kobayashi by the bamboo stick, or that she’d punished him to get on his knees.  And, on top of that, this second born was developmentally delayed, and Ms. Kobayashi had made the rulers herself, used the matchsticks to teach him to count, and even as she’d worked so hard to train him, in the second grade, he’d still answered the multiple choice questions using X and O, it’d, made her had a hard time.  At the end of the semester, all of the other siblings all received the awards certificates, the rewards, and to make sure that this secondborn doesn’t feel overlooked, she’d taken the prize to school for her second child’s teacher to give it to him.  Thankfully, the secondborn was only slow to start, in the middle school, he’d quickly caught up in his intelligence, and, this part of the past of the second child, became the butt of the joke that the families would talk of at the meal gatherings.

And now, Ms. Kobayashi is eighty-eight, from a young mother, to a grandmother, and a, great-grandmother, but the years never left its track on her face, she’d still, have that, grace about her.  And, even though she’d now become, immobile, in a wheelchair for close to ten years, she’d still insisted on making herself up pretty, her voice is bright and loud and strong.  Her face always smiling, she’s bright and optimistic, using her own actions to show her younger generations: this world is still beautiful, even if things that are bad come our ways, we should still, enjoy our lives, and love.

“Ms. Kobayashi” is what that secondborn who got into tons of trouble, I referred to her as.  In my eyes, she’s like a fairy, pretty and kind.  And now, I’d often hugged her, kissed her, as she’d done with me when I was little.  In my childhood, she had it too hard because of me, and now, in my elderly years, I’m that man who’d dressed up to entertain the parents, as her company, stuck to her side, making her laugh, hoping, that mom would feel that I was the gift from heaven to her, that I was worth her, having it hard for me.

And so, this is a perfect example of giving back to the ones who’d raised us with their love, because this older generation had loved this child of hers unconditionally, despite how much troubles she got in, the mother continued to love the children unconditionally, which is what made the offspring now, willing, to return the kindness back, and this is the cycle of love of kindness, that passes from one generation to the next.

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Filed under A Cycle of Kindness, Because of Love, Family Dynamics, Family Matters, Life, Perspectives, Philosophies of Life, Properties of Life

Going Home

Family reunions are always, a total, BITCH, but hey, we can’t, avoid it, no matter what!  So yeah, we put on that painted on smile, pretend to greet each other nicely, with our fingers crossed, that this SHIT will be, over soon!  Translated…

I’d never liked the New Years.

In my childhood, there’s, the thick scent of the New Year, from buying up the foods, heading home for the New Year’s Eve meal gatherings, getting the red envelopes, staying up all night to ring in the new year, the firecrackers sounding off, to getting in our new clothes, going to wish everybody we meet a happy new year, the whole family got really into it.  After all we have the foods, the families, relatives, and friends visiting, the kids got their young playmates, with the red envelopes received, no school, no homework, we got to play for many days on end, everybody was happy then.

And, in that mood of celebration, I’d always felt, lethargic, unenthusiastic about everything, I seemed like a killjoy.

Before my childhood ended, I already noted, that the more we comply with the social norms, the more we are able to, get overly critical of those whom we eat our New Year’s Eve meals with.  If we don’t have the money, or the status, so long as we have thick enough skins, we can, turn the prodding into how we cared too much, and turned the criticisms of one another into our cares and concerns for each other.  I’d known, since the very start of it all, that I would never make the A-list of good wonderful, children, couldn’t turn in the shiny grade sheets of academia, graduation, employment, marriage, having children, it was during this time of year, that I’d, for the very first time, of how I’d become, the oddest, duck!

Many years later, I’d looked back again, those photos of us sitting for the photo ops at the photo studios, the pictures of the trips we took, the family photo of the New Year’s Eve meals, it seemed, so perfect, but, the smiles can be painted on, the words of well-wishes, we can rehearse ourselves to say to each other, seeing is, NEVER, believing.  As I grew old, I’d started, growing the perspective of that, outsider.  From my youth to after I was wed, the locations of the New Year’s Eve meals ept changing, and most of the times, I’d, carried a huge book, sitting on the edge of that table; as I couldn’t, get out of it, I shall, sit quiet, and just, watch, listen, and feel.

the foods

photo from online

The fishes, the meats served on the tables, the drinks, most fitting to exchanges the goings on of all of, our lives of late.  I’d heard those who made the highest grades, who made the most sales, who made the most of wages, gloat, their tones are, firm and, proud, like they can’t wait to tell the rest of the world.  I’d heard the sounds of chairs moving, the men sitting, waiting for the women, to serve dish after dish after dish, the elders waited for the daughters-in-law to add more wine to their glasses, to put more foods on their, plates, the infants waiting for mommies or older female siblings to coo with them, to feed them, those who busied themselves are always women, the last to sit down to eat, the first to get up to clean up, all, women.

I’d also heard the chinaware, clinking loud, also, the hearts of people, silently, knocked against one another.  Some gulfed down the foods fast, some, used the spare times to gossip, some lectured incessantly, some, evasive in answering and asking.  Some laughing loud, some, forcing that smile on, some talked really loud of their successes, others, sitting on pins and needles.  If there’s a year, that I can, not be used as that, target, I would be, too grateful, that this year would be, good.

Rationally, I understand, that no matter how good I do for myself, how I’d made up my life to perfect, under that microscope, there would be, the barely visible blemishes that’s shown up, that I will, NEVER live up to others’ expectations of me.  I also can understand, that the elders, and all the families are scattered all over the places, and this is the one and only occasion that we get to, gather up as a big family to share the time.  Problem being, year after year, I’d heard the waves getting turned over, over, over and over underneath the, surfaces, we all put on our predispositions, with the war paint on our faces, get on the battlefield of that supper table, safest is the topics that won’t cause any ripples, attacking before we were attacked, the best of tactics.  The meanings of the New Years became an excuse of forced gathering to get emotionally blackmailed.  The process of socialization, taught us to force ourselves to act courteous, to find our own ways of surviving, in the visible and invisible cannons that’s flying all over the places.

As I’d found, that there are, those who started panicking around New Year’s around me, I’d let out, that sigh of, huge, relief, and felt sad too.  New Year is no longer a happy occasion, but a, worst experience of the entire, year, we’d come into the meals with a whole year’s worth of fatigue, then, we’d, carried the exact same load, with the extra add-ons on our ways out, and, made that date for the, next year, until we are, finally, separated by death.  Then, just like that, the old wounds were never healed, the new ones came too quick, and, there’s, that nasty scent, and taste of interacting with the families, and we drift farther, farther away, from each other, and, only when we take that group photo, we looked, happy.

the photo of the family! And, how many of these do you think actually feel “happy”??? Photo from online

How regrettable, from the weakness of human nature, we blurred out the focuses of things so easily.  The meanings of the New Year, is it get the table with the family connecting, with the grand dishes prepared and served, that happiness that showed from the family photos, or, is it a reminder, of how family should be a safe harbor, that all who get into this circle is, welcomed?  Deep down, I’m sure, that we all wish, that nobody needs to put on the masks here, to protect ourselves, that everybody can, feel, relaxed, to just share a good conversations, to listen to one another.

Actually, those who feared going home the most, are the ones who needed to come home, the most.

And so, this is how these New Year’s Eve family meal gatherings are imposing to us all, I mean, why the @#$% would we, want to sit around with those whom we called “family”, put on that smiling face, to pretend that we are enjoying ourselves?  Oh yeah, because that’s our OBLIGATIONS, and, thankfully, this was only for this ONE time a year, through a span of, no more than, a whole week, and we still got the rest of the fifty-one-weeks of the year, to feel relaxed, until we get, wound up again, and that, is from the impositions of families on us as individuals, on these, celebratory occasions!

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Filed under "Professional" Opinions, Family Dynamics, Family Matters, Life, Observations, Perspectives, Properties of Life, Reality Clashes with Dreams, STUCK in a Cookie Jar, Values

Apartment

This space, that’s, saved, for us to have, to come back to, to gather in, a point of our, origins…translated…

The first few years, the entire building carried that flair.  With the different expectations of future, my eldest and youngest aunts, my third older uncle, my father all, redecorated the second, third, fourth floor balcony.  Pushing the balcony out, adding that extra loft on the rooftop, and, extending the originally elongated shape of the apartment backward more, the stacks, the layers, all of the spaces in existence, all carried, that thickness of, expectation.  Unfortunately, the deformed old apartment, no matter how hard it’d tried, to upkeep the older generations’ dreams, still can’t, carry the younger generations’ expectancies of their, futures; and so, what remained, that’s still with the flairs, is the, humidifier that buzzed on, endlessly, echoing, inside, that old, home.

I’d heard the elders’ stories, of how four, five decades ago, as they were starting to build this apartment, the whole town was mast of all old-style one-story residential homes, back then, all the materials for the constructions are bought by the families individually, hiring the construction workers to help build the place, with the family members, supervising the building process.  And, because of this, when the major earthquakes came, even though the residential homes are already decades old, without the anti-quake designs, looking at the cracks, down the walls, my father always looked, quite, relaxed, told me, there’s nothing to worry about, this old home, that it was as if, the family’s watching over, no matter what, we are, going to be, just, fine.

For decades, the earthquakes, hadn’t, damaged our home much, even though, the exteriors told a complete, different, story, but I keep on believing, that like the depth of connection of my father’s generations, no matter if the exterior walls are damaged, the materials within the walls are still, sturdy and strong, holding onto the ground of this, small, town.

illustration from UDN.com

And yet, maybe it’s also because of this, the older generations seemed to lack that sense of the future, that as we’d grown our legs, we will, eventually, leave this, apartment that they’d rooted down, in.  During those years of economical wellbeing, the older generations had, pushed the apartment floor plans outward, expanded, maybe, they’d wanted the families that lived there to have more comfortable space, then, they’d started imagining, that after their sons married and have children, the space would NOT get big enough for everybody to say, that if their daughters, and sons-in-law moved back in too, they won’t have their own private and independent, space, and there would also be the, next generations to, consider too……….the original tiny balcony behind the kitchen, got remade into, an independent tiny living room, and a separate suite, for those who lived higher up, the stairs were set up, connecting the, independent, space, carefully, guarding the privacy, and also, connecting the entire, family.

I’d contemplated, what was in the mind of the, older generations, in setting up the homes for us, the younger generations, who haven’t figured out, the uncertainties of our, separate, futures.  And, as these new spaces never got taken up, did they find alternative uses for them then?  Or, after many years, it’d stayed, vacant, the places that the older generations would go and sweep up every now and then, dreaming of how their younger generations who are living in other cities, might come home on the weekends or the holidays for a, short, stay?

These vacant rooms, based off of the building codes, they’d become, illegal spaces after 1995, although, there’s no demands for immediate demolition, but, they can’t, be altered again.  Thinking on this, our generations are, probably with the best years of the family’s history, there was that huge group of elders who’d, worked really hard, to ensure that we have something they never had for our, futures, and, even though, we, the younger generations of cousins, no longer live in that, same apartment complex, we still have this place that’s, unchanged, that can’t be, altered, that just, stayed right where it is, waiting for us, who want to, return to it.

So, this is the idea of, an, “ancestral home”, a space that the families can share, that’s left to, everybody in the family, for the extended families to have a space to share, and any of the family members who’d, needed, that temporary stay when they come back to town.

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Filed under Because of Love, Family Dynamics, Family Matters, Life, Perspectives, Philosophies of Life, Values

He & His Champion Daughter

The love unspoken, but expressed in all other ways, between this daughter toward her father, translated…

That day, I’d prepared my father’s supper for him, he’d blurted out, “I feel so blessed, to have you as my daughter!  My daughter really treats me, wonderfully!”  and his demeanor didn’t sound like the joking he’d used many a year on end, nor was it an exaggerated sort of encouragement, it was more like the tip of the ball-point pen, on paper, and the ink just, seeped out, naturally., then, slowly, spreading out.

I’d pretended I’d not heard him, focused on setting the table, and, turned on the fifty-fourth episode of the Ancient Chinese soap, so the old man who’s closing in on seventy can, get into, the Ching Dynasty immediately, and, that was, that.

In the deep on the nights, the words of my father, caused me to toss and turn.

Was this the very first time he’d given me words of praise?  Yes, and no.  I’d longed for his approval since I was growing up, so I’d worked my best, to be, a perfect child in his eyes, got into N.T.U., applied for my graduate studies abroad, entered into the field of, finance…….and of course, my father gave me the accolades, affirmed my hard work, but for a daughter, those words of praises, were too, superficial, his alternative motive was the core of it all: be a good daughter.

illustration from UDN.com

And yet, in this, historical moment, I’d not taken my father’s hand in mine, or like a three-year-old, rammed into his arms, not even, a smile.  Toward his thoughtfulness, his daughter, no responses, instead, I’d, tried to, escape it, I’d recalled the term, “phony syndrome”, was it that in my, subconscious, I’d still felt, not quite deserving of, his praises yet?

After my mother passed, every year I’d taken my father abroad on trips, the U.S., India , New Zealand…….I’d set up the itineraries.  I’d even bought him a business class airfare on the trip to the U.S., took him to the N.B.A. draft-pick games; he’d still chimed on to his friends, how Mitchell can really, jump high, but I couldn’t, recall a single name from the players’ group.  My father’s photography skills are, way inferior than my mom’s, loving the beautiful photos, I’d given up and, turned all of the photos with me in it on that trip, as accidental gains, and just, focused on taking shots of my father, which became a bragging right for him in his group of elders.

During the time of the outbreak, I’d cooked for my father every single day, not too greasy, clean, and sanitary, and reduced his going outside, to avoid contraction; every time mealtime rolled around, the foods would be served on the table, and I’d, tried encouraging him to wash his hands more often.  And whenever we had our differences of opinions, I’d, found that hideout in my room, to try to come up with ways, to break the ice with him, and, asked my husband how my father-in-law’s frames of mind worked to use as a model; in his capableness, I’d set up the electronic devices for him, wrote down the steps to use them, hoping that he could, be comfortable at home, and forget about the inconvenience that the pandemic had, caused in his, life.

The habits formed in fourteen days, and my father, is man too.

I’d not thought about getting any praises from him, because this, is my duty to him as his daughter, but, those behaviors, not for short-term, maybe, it’d spanned across the decades of our, lives, surpassing the few months’ of the pandemic growing. 

I’m no imposter, I’m, definitely, his offspring.

I would NOT ask him, the words he’d blurted out that evening, was it intentional, or was it, long-time-coming, nor would I have the courage to apologize, and, that “good daughter”, had used her silence, and the lack of expressions on her face, to respond to the applauses she’d been hoping to get for more than thirty years on end.  Even as I penned this article down, my fingers are, tingling from the nerves.  Thankfully, I have his blood that flows through me, this is definite, believing, that so long as I have the time to be with him, if he stays healthy, this would be, a perfect love we will have, to share.

And, this is the love of a daughter for her father, and, maybe she may not blurt the word I love you out loud, but, her actions showed how much she’d cared, and loved her father, and I’m more than certain, that her father feels her love too.

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Filed under A Cycle of Kindness, Family Dynamics, Family Matters, Kindness Shown, Life, Parent-Child Interactions, Parenting/Parenthood, Properties of Life

Heading Off to Work Together

The children all, moving back in, during the times of the pandemic, to work for the family business, and, you got your loved ones, by your side, there’s nothing more wonderful than that!  Translated…

Since Mr. Chen moved into the neighborhood, at 7:30 in the morn, the rustling of noises came from his yard, the family of five started, chitter chatter, can’t make out what they’re saying, but it’d felt, very, heartwarming; a bit later, the car started, Mr. Chen is off to work with his children, leaving Mrs. Chen at home, then, the alley turned, silent, once more.  Seeing how the family go everywhere together, how they can, take care of one another, and it saves on the gas too.

Once I was hanging out the laundry, I’d bumped into Mrs. Chen who was also busying about on her own balcony, we’d started up conversations, I’d commended how her family got along well, how the children worked together with their father to make the company work, that there would be no trouble for the passing of the torch.  She’d told me, that things aren’t as they appeared on the outside, “actually, because of the pandemic for the past three years, the company received less and less order slips, and the outlooks of my children’s jobs, also, affected, that is what’s happened in my home, my children had all returned back to the nest, and we are all, making life work together.”

like this!

photo from online

Or maybe, they think, that this sudden change messed up their work and plans of life, I’d felt, that this may be, a blessing in disguise, in the unpredicted era of the pandemic, it’s the families’ wishes that they’re all, living together.

Every weekend now, Mrs. Chen always busied in and out, early in the morn, she’d ridden her scooter to the marketplace to shop.  Close to noontime, there came, the cooking ventilation, the sound of the iron spatula against the wok, with the aromatic foods being cooked, it’d made me hungry too, and, the smell of the foods next door, overpowered my steamed vegetables, and, as I’d, plated my cooking, I’d taken a whiff, it’d felt, that my foods, smelled, better, my husband thought that I’d, improved my, cooking skills.

Turns out, that their company isn’t shipping every day in a rush, their days are, easier, and Mr. Chen would take his parents over to their home to spend the weekends.  It’s a wonder, that I would, hear the noises of people coming from the cracks of the window, and, their laughter, animated our quiet alley, made it sound like the celebrations of the New Year coming early, how wonderful!

Today, I saw from my window, the eldest daughter of the family, smiling, getting into the driver’s side, the son on the passenger, and the youngest daughter, with Mr. Chen on her arms, laughing and talking, got in the, back, I’d watched them off to work, and, whispered my blessings to them.  There are the gains in the losses, don’t feel bad for the loss, and, do hooray for what you’d gained; especially in the matter of family, because that is, something, priceless, the best time you have to share with those whom you love dearly.

And so, this, is on how simple happiness can be, how easy it is, that we often, forget, what is, important in our lives, our own loved ones, and, this is especially noted, in times of the pandemic, with a lot of people still, dying each and every day, that makes us want to, hold those whom we love, close.

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Filed under Family Matters, Life, Observations, Parent-Child Interactions, Parenting/Parenthood, Perspectives, Philosophies of Life, Properties of Life

Mom, Don’t Cry

The realizations of how our parents aren’t all, capable, able-bodied, that they’re now, in need of us, like we needed them when we were, little…translated…

Can’t Believe that the Words of Concern, Got My Mother to Tear Up………

In the Few Days of Companionship, I’d Started Losing My Patience Slowly

It was during winter vacation of my college year, I’d carried my heavy bags, gone back home to Changwha from Taipei.  During the daytime, I’d helped out with my family’s business, as night comes, I’d gotten online, and started playing the online games, killing my classmates virtually, while my mother, she’d always worked until at least ten at night before she comes home.

One evening, she’d asked me to help her make a presentation.  And because making a PowerPoint presentation is like sleep to a college student, I’d inquired about who she was delivering the presentation to?  And, that was when she’d told me, that she was to share the topics on human resources and management; but, my mother is of a nursing background, this was a field that’s too unfamiliar to her.  I’d taken psychology courses from school, and I’d known a bit about human resources management, but hadn’t gotten too deep into the area, and I can only give my mother some advice, based off of what I’d learned.

Because she was not familiar with the field of human resources, my mother, every evening after work, to the entire weekend, would think about how she was going to do the presentation.  As her “advising consultant”, I’d sat with her at the supper table from ten to twelve, brain stormed with her how she was to set up the presentation, what she was going to say.  But, then I would have to give up the time I would be spending with my classmates on the online games.  And so, after a few days of sitting with her, I’d slowly lost my, patience.  In the conversations, I’d acted, impatient.  She’d found that I looked tired, told me, “you go and rest now, I’ll finish the rest myself”.  Then I’d, quickly, made my way into my bedroom, and started, getting energetic in battle with my classmates in our online gaming sessions.

I’d Held Back, Fearing, that I will Sink, in the Quicksand of Her, Emotions as Well

On the morn when my mother was about to deliver her presentation, I’d given her a verbal encouragement, she’d smiled and told me thanks.  In the evenings, it wasn’t quite like her, she’d not come to meet up with us for supper after her presentation, but headed straight home to rest.

As I got home, she’d, dragged her tired body, come out of her room, I’d asked excitedly, “how did your presentation go?”, and, these words of my care and concern, caused her to cry like hell.  I was so flustered, not known what to do, thought that it was something I’d said that’s upset her, I’d immediately pulled her to the couch, sat her down, patted her back, wanted to help her feel better.

“I’d used too much ancient text on the presentation today, and my coworkers mocked that they were in a Chinese class.  I’m so tired, just, too tired.”  She kept pulling out the Kleenex, wiped her face that’s covered in tears and snot.  At this time, she’d become like a big baby, kept demeaning herself.  I’d told her, “You’d worked very hard in this, you’d worried how to do this well every single day, it’s just, that neither one of us has the expertise in this particular subject, it’s an opportunity for us to learn!”  thinking to these few days, how I’d, become upset, annoyed at my mother’s asking me for help, my tears of regret overflowed.  I’d held back my own emotions, worried that I might get stuck in the muck of her sorrows, that I wouldn’t be able to, help pull her out.

illustration from UDN.com

At this time, the Baqua Mountain was hosting its Moon Shadow Lantern Festivals, I’d asked if she wanted to take the trip, she’d rubbed her puffy eyes, nodded lightly.  The multi-colored lanterns illuminated that light of warmth at Baqua Mountain, I took her hand, and strolled in the bridge in mid-air, suddenly, I’d recalled my childhood, that my mother took my hand just like so, as she’d taught me to walk, how she’d, stayed close as I grew up; and I’m grown, and my mother’s, aging now.

It’d only been a little over a decade’s time, slowly, I’d come to realize, that my mother now needed me to look after her.  I’d clenched onto my mother’s hand tighter, worried that as I returned back to Taipei to live, I would have even less time to be with her, don’t know when I will have the chances, to take her hand in mine like this.  This presentation of hers, it’d made me realized, that no matter how strong my mother presented herself is, there are the moments that she’d needed a shoulder to lean on too.  In the past, she’d, sheltered me with her wings, and now, it will be my turn, to help her tackle everything that comes in her life as she grows older.

And so, this, is the daughter’s heart, as she’d learned, that her mother isn’t all-capable, it’s just, that in raising her up, her mother never showed any weakness, and, the presentation she’d helped her mother made, made her, realized, that her mother needed her beside her.

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A Mom Who’s Unlike a Mom

How the daughter became, more like a mother, to her own mother, and they’re, learning from each other by the day, growing “up” together, translated…

“Teacher says we should NOT throw the trash everywhere!” I continued to get corrected by my third-grade daughter on the back of my scooter; “and you’re riding way too fast, it’s too dangerous!”, got corrected by her, although, the shame made my face turned red, but I’m somewhat pleased too, asked, “why can’t I litter and speed?”, she’d started telling of the importance of the keeping the living environment clean, and road safety, being the common responsibilities shared by everybody in the community, actually, I’d not focused on listening to her rant, but I felt glad, that my bad example had, turned into an opportunity for her to, “educate” me.

In the era where the net cafés are all over, I’d wanted to know why the adolescents get sucked in, and invited my middle school age daughter to come with me to experience; but, this young lady straightened her face, told me, that the people aren’t of the good sorts, that there may be “drugs” hidden there, that I may get lured in by the sound, the lights, and the smokes that I might get addicted, that I should be a better role model, because I’m the adult………hearing how self-righteous she’d become, I’d not worried at all, that she might be swayed by the, bad influences now.

more like best friends! Photo from online

In the teens, we may get the feelings of love, of relationship, I’d encouraged my daughter to make more friends who are guys, to get to understand the logics, the thoughts, the views of the opposite sex, I’d even asked her frequently, if she’d met a buddy-buddy kind of boyfriend?  And seeing how I’d gone from excited to, disappointment each and every time, she’d told me, that all her classmates’ parents banned them from dating, and I’d taught her to distract herself with romance, that I was, a, weird, mom.

I didn’t want her to go to cram school, told her to not study that hard, to spend more mind on learning the skills she will find more useful to live on, and to learn the right ways to interact with others, encouraged her own going all out in play in the major exams, to play only a little when she only had quizzes to take, and, play even harder when there are no tests, that way, she can get, fully, relaxed.  Once she’d dropped from first in class to third, I’d taken her out to celebrate, because that way, she now has room for improvement; she was upset of how she’d dropped three places, and felt helpless over how I could, care less about her grades.

I’d treated my only daughter as a friend I’m growing up with, I’d cherished her companionship, other than being my “traffic light”, reminding me to do this, to do that, how I shouldn’t do this or that, I’d often asked her to chase after the movie stars, the singers, to play, to shop.  She has a unique sense of beauty, became my attire consultant, the coach to help me with my work presentation, and I’d even consulted her on how to set up my social networking accounts too, so we talk about everything, there’s no I’m the parent, you should respect me.

Children are our, mirrors, reflecting the actions, the words of us, parents, she’d often made me realized that I was still being impacted by my own childhood upbringing, that I sometimes, get stuck on needed the affirmations of others around me; I’d also found on her, that we would learn, make mistakes, fail, and acquire the abilities to think independently of others, to judge for ourselves.

I don’t need to be perfect, I’m worthy of love, I can, become, the most real version of my own, self, instead of getting trapped in the role of “the ideal mom” role that I’d forced myself, to play all the time.

And so, in this mother-daughter relationship, the daughter became like a mother to the mother, and, the mother, a daughter, and this was still due to the upbringing of the adult, and this woman is lucky, that her daughter was willing and able, to put up with her childish ways, to help her mom grow up, into, a complete being, while she’s already an old soul herself already.

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My Father’s Watch

The values that’s, assigned to your father’s, favorite, watch, based off of how he’d, lived his, life, that you now, carried forth…translated…

My father was almost, completely, blind before he passed, and that’s why he’d, placed his cherished pocket watch into the drawers, and never took it back out again.  I remembered this watch very clearly, when I was young, when my father came home, he would, carefully, take the watch off his wrist, then, wash his hands thoroughly, then, put the watch back on.  Sometimes, the watch had, slipped into the sink, and the surfaces scratched up, and he’d, felt really bad over it.

On this day, my mother found his watch.  It was, in the original box with the warranty papers, like how he’d taught me to write, each stroke is perfectly written, easy to read.  As my mother sent me the photo of his watch, I’d smiled, that was, his style all right, even as he’d become, visually, impaired toward the end, he still, kept his collected items, very neat.

an heirloom, like this!

photo from online

My father’s watch was very unique, as when I was still wearing the electronic watches, I’d watched that watch of his, with the second hand keep on ticking away, not at all resembling the sound of the second hand on the clocks; and, although he’d not worn it long, as I’d, shaken the watch a bit, the second hand started, going around again, just like him, he’d been gone a very long time, but whenever I’d recalled him, saw his belongings, he’d, surfaced, back up into my mind again.

I’d decided to take my father’s watch to the U.S. with me, and wear it often like the ad of the watch: Generations to Generations, passing it on, like an heirloom of, sorts.

Those who put this watch on, will keep on, walking on, they will keep on, working hard, dressing well enough, doing the things delegated to them, correctly.

So, it’s the values you’d, associated with this watch of your father’s, that you took, not just the watch, as the mementos of what he’d, left behind for you, and, it’s interesting, how things have that value assigned to them, that gets, passed from one generation to the next.

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Expanding the Conversations Beyond “Had You Eaten Yet?”

How the grandparents found ways into interacting with their grandchild, using HIS, interest profile, translated…

One day last week after supper, my third-grade grandson, Cheng-Cheng brought a three-by-three Rubik’s cube to show me, said that he’d been playing, that after he’d mixed up the colors, it takes him about forty seconds to put the same colors all on the sides, I’d commended him on how amazing he was, and asked him if he could also teach grandma to do it too?  He’d told me sure, then, asked me for a pen and paper, and started dictating to me the steps to solve the Rubik’s Cube, with the notes written for me.

Holy, I don’t even know what a Rubik’s Cube was until this day, plus, the nine-year-old child’s lacking in the means to teach well, my head started, swelling up.  But in this process of him teaching me, I’d found, that he was, so very, patient, as I’d asked him questions, he’d repeatedly shown me how, until his dad upstairs called him up to take a bath, Cheng-Cheng still didn’t want to go yet, because, he’d not yet taught me how to solve the third layer of the Rubik’s Cube yet.

I’d told him, the lesson can’t be finished today, we do it another day!  Rushed him to go upstairs to take a bath, then to bed.  As he got upstairs, he’d immediately LINED me: “If you have any questions, line me anytime.”  So, my young grandson was really into, training me to solve the Rubik’s Cube.

After lunch the following day, Cheng-Cheng was responsible, coming over to continue teaching me from yesterday, I’d told him “Cheng-Cheng, I went shopping for the groceries, I didn’t find the time to digest what you’d taught me from yesterday, and I’m sorting through the produces I got today right now, I don’t have the time here, we shall begin again, tomorrow then!”

And, to make sure that I understand what my grandson was talking about the following day, I’d, found the videos on the Rubik’s Cubes that night, with Cheng-Cheng’s beginners’ lessons, I’d, immediately, finished the Rubik’s cube.  Yay, great!

But the following morn, I’d still decided to let him teach me, to make him feel, that he’d, taught his grandma how to solve the Rubik’s cube, that way, it would, please him more?

Still recalled how when he’d started playing go, he’d often bugged the two of us to play with him, we didn’t know a thing about go, and so, we’d, immediately started flipping through the volumes, and we’d also, found the videos on how to play online, then, we’d started, getting it.  Although, playing with him, who’d won the young champion trophies, we’d felt like we were, slaughtered, but, winning and losing isn’t our, focus, we just want to, have more opportunities to interact with our grandson.

And so, as he’d asked us to accompany him to play the piano, to play soccer, badminton…………we were, both, very happy to oblige.  Getting involved in what he’s into, hoping we could, increase the chances of interactions with him, to have common conversation topics, because I do NOT want our conversations to get reduced to, “have you eaten today yet?”

And so, this is how this young grandchild, got his grandparents active in learning new things, because they want to interact with him at his level, and seeing how diverse the child’s interests are, that’s why, the elders had, upped their abilities to learn things.

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