Category Archives: Family Matters

Visiting Great Grandma

The perfect example of how to age gracefully, translated…

“Great grandma lives too far away now!”, my son told.  My daughter great grandmother moved in with my aunt in Kaohsiung now, to the adults, it isn’t, that far away, but, to my daughter, who easily gets heat strokes, in a wheelchair, it’s nothing easy, going to Kaohsiung, where the sun shines constantly during the day, the temperatures, too high, and so, the winters became the only season we are able to, travel as a family.

At the start of the year, we’d taken the two kids to Kaohsiung to visit their great grandmother, and for a road trip too.  We’d first arrived at the pineapple factory, where the tour guide explained the process of manufacturing of pineapples, the history of the industry, then, we’d, headed to that old ironclad hang bridge, out of my expectation there were, the people standing on the bridge; standing on that old bridge, we watched the trains speed past, hearing the noises from all around, but, what entered into my ears, were the laughter of my own children.

As their ninety-nine-year-old great grandmother saw the great grandchildren, she’d smiled that long-time-no-see smile of hers, slowly got up, walked slowly next to my daughter’s wheelchair to a stool, sat herself down, and asked, “Wen-Wen, are you tired?”, she was still very gentle and kind as I’d, remembered that she’d been to me, in the past when I’d taken my daughter to physical therapy, great grandma would come out from her house opposite to where we used to live, to hold the umbrella to cover my daughter up, compared to how aloof their grandfather who lives with us had been, my great grandmother’s show of care and concerns to our family, I was, touched by, and, felt, ever the more, grateful for.

As I’d asked about my great grandmother’s life after she’d moved to Kaohsiung with my aunt and uncle, she could still eat her favorite, pork’s feet and the crabapples too, and, she’s, just as agile as the rest of us!  She’s probably, the healthiest, the most special elder I’d known, in her eighties, she would get up in the middle of the nights to watch the American Major Leagues games, in her nineties, she’d, walked herself out to buy the fried chickens she wanted to eat, and told the shop owner to not slice it to pieces, because she’d wanted to experience how the younger generations, grabbed the chickens, and started chewing them down……………

As we carried on in our conversations, the fatigue I’d felt from the trip, disappeared, little by little, as we’d, visited, my grandmother.

And so, this, is how you can, age, gracefully, like how this, elderly woman stayed active, by continue to socialize with her external environment, by having that optimism of life, by enjoying every day she has, like it was her final day on earth.

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Filed under Aging Gracefully, Family Matters, Life, Old Age, Philosophies of Life, Properties of Life, Self-Images

There’s No Fairness on This Path of, Life

This would be a FACT of, L-I-F-E, kid!!!  The conversation between a father and a son, translated…

Summer: The competitions today wasn’t fair?

Me: How was it not?

Summer: They were all sixth graders and we were, fourth graders!

Me: this is, more than, a fair situation!

Summer: How can it be?

Me: You’d played against the group that is older than you, and you’d, lost, that’s normal, and reasonable too, isn’t it?

On this day, the soccer coach at Summer’s school arranged a mix aged competition, the Panthers, a game of eight players, with the fourth graders as competitors of the U10 teams.  And, they were, playing against the U12 teams of fifth, sixth graders.

On the way to the soccer fields, I’d discussed with Sumer, that today’s competition will be a practice competition with the older kids in the school, that he should just, put his skills to practice, best as he can.  He’d started, nodding his head, seemed that he’d, understood me, completely.  Surely, the first game, four to, nothing, they’d, lost.  Then, Summer’s team, the Panthers, lost, ALL the way, game after game, got beaten, by his, U12 older schoolmates.  Using his own descriptions to describe the events: we got, electrocuted by the older schoolmates!

Losing one game, that’s, acceptable.  Two games, it doesn’t feel good.  And, by the third game that they were, losing, Summer immediately started, experience, that people can’t live with, losing all the time.  After losing the series of games, he’d strongly, expressed his, “minor upset” of the matters, felt, that the game has, NO fairness whatsoever.

Toward his upset, I’d thought, where’s the standards of what constitutes as fair and not?  In the competitive world, are there, really, the point of, fairness?  Do we need to, get down to the matter, and discuss it thoroughly the matters of: fair or unfair?  But, as he was, fuming up, I’d not, struck up this, discussion of the subjects.

Since he was little, in soccer, Summer has the will, and the drives to win.  When he’d won, he’d gotten all worked up, and, not hidden his radiant smiles over it, he would also, high-five his teammates, and hug them.  When he’d lost, he’d surely, felt displeased, and, there would be, the aftermath of his losing the games that came.  As the other young competitors started destressing themselves on the cell phone games, he was still, wiping away his tears, unwilling to admit, that his team had, lost the game.  Then, he would contemplate, why didn’t they win this time, and started, evaluating everything, and a few more tears would fall, still refused, to accept that he and his team lost.  This emotional response, more than natural, and normal too.  And normally, it would take a little while, like after we had lunch, or as he’d, gotten completely into the cell phone games, he would then, get himself out of the upset, and, reentering into the group of his teammates then.

For a short while, due to his emotional management when his team lost, it’d, affected the means of how the team played well together, we’d discussed the matter seriously, that if he’d needed to, drop out of the team, to find a new team to join, but he was, unwilling, to, sever off the rapport he’d already, established with the members of his team, and started, changing his behaviors, and, becoming more in tune with his own, emotional response to losing the games.

I kept on believing, that what Summer was upset over, was not because of winning or losing, but the matter of how the games were judged fairly or unfairly.  Winning or losing, was something he could, quickly digest, and accept as is, but back then, he still couldn’t, quite understand, the “difference of opinions on what’s fair and unfair”.

Let’s put it this way, back in the elementary years, he could never accept, why there’s, the existence of, unfairness.  For instance, why was so-and-so, so very, tall, it’s unfair.  Why does someone from class has a cell phone already, it’s not fair.  Why the team members are all leveled differently in their, playing skills, a bit, not fair.  The teachers looked out for certain students, a bit, unfair.

All of these, encounters of, unfairness that troubled him, or maybe, it’s, what he needed to, cross over, before the matter of winning and losing.  I think, even for me, I’d still needed to, introspect my own mind, and troubles, when encountering something that I feel was, unfair.  Fair or not?  This was, a question on the road to growing up, always going to be there, and it will, be a discovery journey we’re constantly on in life too, and will, continue to happen in our day-to-day lives.

And because of this, I wanted to tell him, as the younger graders are playing the higher graders, it’s, going up against someone who’s, out of your level of expertise, it’s only natural that you lose, winning, that would be, unfair, to the, older schoolmates.  Isn’t that right?  If you care about what’s fair or not, you will be more prone to, consider the opposite angles.  Because, you don’t need to get too serious about the fairness of things, because fairness, doesn’t really, exist as black or white.

On the road to life, there’s no, standards of fairness, it’s all interpreted individually differently.  As I finished telling him, Summer then, fell, silent, then, smiled, like he’d, finally understood, that winning and losing is only, in the results, and fair or unfair, that’s all, a false sort of a debate.  Any sort of a debate, there are only, the differences in points of view, it’s nothing on fairness.  I’d recalled, that I’d once told Summer, that in the future, if there’s something he wanted, he’d needed to, work hard to get it, and if he didn’t get it, he should, let go, after all, he had, tried, to attain it.  In the future, I suppose, that will, be how he would, handle things that come up in his life.

And so, this, is on the father’s teaching the son about, fairness, and, there is, no fairness, only the perspectives, the interpretations of what’s fair and what’s not, like how the soccer tournament was uneven, with this young lad’s team, going against older kids, and it’s expected that they don’t win, after all, the kids on the other team are stronger, older, more agile, trained longer than his age group, and this showed, how there’s only the personal interpretations of what’s fair and what’s not, and that’s based off of socialization, and everybody’s socialized differently, so, there’s no, one size fit all!

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Filed under Child Development/Education of Children, Education, Family Matters, Interactions Shared with the World, Parent-Child Interactions, Parenting/Parenthood, Perspectives, Properties of Life, The Education of Children, Values

Do We Protect the Self, or Do We, Fulfill Our, Families

And no, it’s NOT selfish, if we go for the self-preservation side, because we must first all, take good care of our, separate, selves, otherwise, how the HECK can we, care for, anyone else???  Taking from the tragedies of the society here, translated…

In the life of families, we are often trapped between the wills of our selves, or the benefits of the families, and started engaging in that, tug-of-war nonstop.

There was the news of how an elderly woman raised up her own two grandson, one of the children showed aggression, and symptoms of A.D.H.D., and, the elderly woman had been under too much stress in caretaking, and, lost it, and strangled the grandchild to death.  Another, how a couple was married, and, in less than two months of their marriage, the husband was, paralyzed, and was in a vegetative state, and the wife filed for divorce, and the courts allowed it.  These two seemingly unrelated events, shared one characteristic of concern: the matter of caretaking of one’s own families.

The two women in both cases, made totally different decisions, on caring for one’s own next-of-kin.  The wife decided to divorce, and, although, she’d gained the reputations of being selfish, of not being moral enough, but her decision, ended the fact that her marriage is bound to, slide down that slippery slope.  While the elderly woman’s persistence to the end, it’d, fulfilled the expectations of the traditional role of women, her sense of responsibilities, and her conscience too, but in reality, and the psychological aspects, the elderly woman, clearly, could NOT stand this kind of burden, and in the end, she’d, self-destruct, and the story ended, tragically.

And it made me wonder, as a part of the family, must we, give everything we have, for our, families, to sacrifice our own, happiness?  Is this, the necessity, the forefront, of setting up a, perfect, and happy family?  If at the end, there’s only, the suffocating burdens, that sense of, responsibilities that remained in it, enough to drown, cover up everything else, and, at this time, how can we still, keep the connections of the family intact?

In the families, when do we choose to preserve ourselves, when do we, sacrifice ourselves, and fulfill the needs of our, separate, families, from my past experience as a family courts judge, this, is from my observations: do take good care of your selves first, then, treat your loved ones the way you treat yourselves, kind too, then, as you feel, that you’d done, everything you possibly can, and still it’d not worked out, at this time, do be bolder, selfishly, embrace yourselves then, then, love your families, the way you love your selves.  I believe, that there would be the regrets that came with this, but so long as you’re willing, this regret can still, be made up for, I hope that we are all, living happily.

And so, these are, tragic stories of how giving to the family, caused the caretaker, to fall apart, like for the grandmother, she didn’t have a choice, or at least she couldn’t see the other options, and eventually, the caretaking became, too burdensome, and she’d ended up, murdering her own grandchild, while the other woman, she may seem selfish, because, it seemed as though she was, abandoning her husband who became, paralyzed, but she didn’t want to become his caretaker for life, and so, she’d selected divorce, and surely, it got her the bad reputation of ill-fitting as a wife, but heck, at least, she’d made a decision, to save herself actively, instead of being driving to murder her own handicapped husband after she grew tired and weary of taking care of him long-term, like the elderly woman who felt that she didn’t have any other, choice!  So, it’s NOT selfish, to look out for number one, and, W-H-O, is number one?  Oh yeah, we, individually, ARE, number ONE in our lives, and if we don’t take good care of ourselves first, how the @#$% (maxed out!) can we, take care of, anybody else???

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Filed under Choices, Family Matters, Issues of Morality, Life, Moral Responsibilities, Observations, Perspectives, Philosophies of Life, Properties of Life, Tragedies in the World, Values, White Picket Fence

The Snitch

The matter of, secrets, should we keep ‘em, for our young, or should we tell our spouses about them???  Translated…

I’d gone to preschool to pick my three-year-old daughter up, and she saw me, then, started, “daddy, I have a secret, just for you, you can’t tell mommy!”  As I’d heard her told me, I’d thought, finally, it’s, MY turn now.

Growing up in a family with a strict mom, dad’s always been our, best, listener.  And so, growing up, all of our worries, the upsets, the discomforts of puberty, to the major life decisions we are making as adults, we’d both, gone to dad to discuss, and, we’d always begun by stating to our father, “Don’t tell mom!”, but, as I grew older, I’d thought, that something, wasn’t, quite right, because it seemed, that mom always, knew the secrets that dad and I, shared, and, there was, that CRACK, in my father’s, promise to, not tell.  Until one day, as I’d just finished telling dad, “don’t tell mom, okay?” as I received his guarantee that he wouldn’t, I’d, gotten right into what I wanted to tell, while my older brother just, burst out in laughter, “after you’re done telling him, he’ll immediately go and tell mom!”, and, dad just, smiled bitterly, and denied it.

As my daughter told me what was on her mind, I’d, made the affirmations, that she did NOT want me to tell mom.  After battling it out, I’d finally, decided, to keep this, secret for her, to NOT tell my wife.  It’s just, that this didn’t last, because the little girl started, blabbing, soon enough, and, the secret is, no more.  I let out a breath of, relief then, then, I shall, experience, what it’s like, to be a daddy, with the secrets the next time then!

And, this, just showed, how kids need that confidant in an adult, and, it’s up to us, adults, to weigh and measure, if we should or should not, tell our spouses (1 @ a time!), of the secrets that our young children poured into our ears, because, betraying their trust, well, that’s, going to have, an adverse, effect on their lives that’s for sure!

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Filed under Family Matters, Interactions Shared with the World, Life, Parent-Child Interactions, Parenting/Parenthood, Philosophies of Life, Properties of Life

Unwilling

On death and dying, based off of the Buddhist belief systems, translated…

After the Passing of My Father, in 2009, I’d, Become a Monk with the Fagu Mountain Foundations, Taking Care of My Father in His Aging, Demented Years, was that Gem that Remained in My Memories, But, it’d Made the Me Ten Years Later, Start This, Conversations that’s, Transcendental of, Time…………………

The Travel Bag I’d Packed for Dad

Tired from reading my books, so I’d, shifted my gaze to the photo of my father in that Christmas hat, his round face had a feeding tube into his nose, and that look of a child made my heart ached, smiled at me lightly, and I’d, replied back to him with a similar smile.

Before dad I always acted crazy, wanted him to laugh with me, to play, to finish EVERY single item to care for him.  I have NO clue how he would interpret his crazy daughter, but as I see my cherished old baby, I can’t help, but smile on, wanted to hug him, to kiss him every single day.  Looking at his face, asleep soundly like an infant, I can’t bear to leave his side, worried that if he didn’t see me when he woke, he’ll, cry again.  And, even though it was hard for me to let go, I must, if that day will come, I can only hope, that my depending-on-me-too-much dear old pops can, follow the steps of Buddha closely, to not get lost.  I kept on worrying, just continued, worrying…………………

illustration from UDN.com

圖/紅林

In a corner of my home, there was a small travel pack, that was prepared by me for my dad, the whole family knows it too.  There’s the quilt we will pull over his body, the Buddhist verses chanting machines, the phone number of the funeral home, a pair of his dress shoes that he’d worn regularly, for the sake of when that day comes, he can, leave it all behind, with nothing, holding him back.  Every time we were told he needed to get placed in the I.C.U., I’d always, take this small pack with me, or, as the phone rang during the middle of the nights, my eyes would, automatically, shift to where the travel pack was.

I was born too late, knew things a bit too late, and, all I could do for my father, is just, this.

I’d often thought, that if that day comes, for my father’s sake, I can’t cry, I can’t, have him leave this world with his worries of me, and he couldn’t hear that music that’s, guiding him toward nirvana, that I needed to, see him off, in smiles.  I have to, make myself stronger, learn to, hold back my own, tears—and yet, as I’d thought of all of this, tears, they came, out.

Where Can I Go, to Find Him

I wasn’t willing, if one day, I’m, never to see my father again, what shall I do?  There’s no place, where, can I go, to find him?  I think, I shall, cry at the end, I’m, a crybaby, just like dear old dad.  Even though, everybody says that illness is trying, the end is the release from the bodily tortures, but, it’s also, the start of a, hard and trying time of missing the ones we lost too much.

Time came and went like the flash floods, we became, so tiny, like those, sediment.  Turning around, everything is, no longer, as it once, had been, how many lifetime’s worth of affinity must there be, for us, to meet up in this, current life?  If we want to meet up, then, we will keep on, walking on those, eggshells, without a second thought, along with the mercies of all the gods, then, we will be given the chance, to be together, in one, lifetime.

Life is a journey, we are on that same train together, some get on early, get off early, everybody has a different time; husband and wife, father and daughter, siblings, no matter how deeply we’re all connected, no matter how much we love one another, everything will be gone, like a flash of, lightning, but everything we’d gone through, will settle in, inside that field of our own cognition, like those, Buddhist beads.  We should, cherish what time we have on the ride, to use the time we’re given, to give to others, to cherish those around us, then, we wouldn’t, let what we’d been given, the kindness, the mercies that we received in life, waste, away.

Everlight Thinks

In the endless karmic cycles, how many times we parted already?  The Buddhist verses told us, that the tears we’d shed in the karmic cycle from hate, love, overflowed the four seas, the bones we’d accumulated, already, surpassed the tallest of peaks.  I will, use the body my parents had endowed me, to follow the Buddhist path, to give to the world in all my lifetimes, to give back to, all on earth.

Yeah, this, is this woman’s will, she’d, lost her father, and, it’d made her realized, that life is, filled with, the uncertainties, and that drove her to want to give back to the people in the world, not just those whom she cared for, she has a grander kind of love, which grew out of the love for her own, families.

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Filed under Family Matters, Life, Loss, Old Age, On Death & Dying, Perspectives, Philosophies of Life, Properties of Life, the Finality of Life

Can We Punish the Parents When the Children Behaved Badly?

By the professor of neurosciences here, on the functions of the families individually, and how the families affects the children in educating them, off of the Front Page Sections, translated…

A few of my master students who’d graduated came back to school for a visit with me, told me that they wanted to host a thank-you banquet for me, because back in June, the epidemic just got started, and they couldn’t, return back to school then, and the classes, dissembled on their own, and now, the epidemic seemed to have slowed down, they wanted to gather, and they’d wanted to tell me, how they put what they learned in my courses to good use after their graduation.  As I’d heard, I’d, gladly gone to the meal, because as a professor, I’d cared of nothing more than the effects of my education on my students.

That day, a student told me, “Professor, had I not taken your course on brain and emotions, I wouldn’t have realized that ‘you are in control of your own emotions, nobody can make you feel unhappy, you’re the one, making yourself, unhappy.”, I would’ve gotten too angered too like that teacher on the news, tipping the desks over too.”

He’d continued, the parents are spoiling their young rotten, they don’t believe that it’s a big deal if the children plagiarize, skip school, or play their cell phone games in class, eating the snacks, sleeping during class is wrong, he got angered that he couldn’t, teach anymore.  The character education wase not instilled in the families first, the teachers are “lone armies of one”, and couldn’t exert any power, he’d read on the papers, that China is implementing the punishment of the parents for not educating their young well enough at home, he’d hoped that Taiwan could, do the same too.

But, no way that was, happening, so he can only adjust his own mindset, took the time he was angry, to get to know the backgrounds of these students who are making him upset, and that was when he’d realized, that these students who’d been, full on their disciplinary records, were only, looking for, extra attention, they needed the attention, needed the affirmations……………They fitted in to the classics of “learned helplessness”, are the children the schools, and the parents had, given up, on.

He’d remembered me telling the class, that exercise will kick up the production of dopamine in the brain, to elevate the moods, he’d thought, writing his students up will only make the students give up on themselves, because for a student with the sense of shame, getting a written up is a stain on his record; but for a student without any mind to care, it wouldn’t have an inkling of an effect, it wouldn’t make any difference to her/him.  Then, as a punishment, he’d made the student go and clean up the local communities.  And, as the environment became cleaner, the student gained the sense of achievement from the commends of the residents of the local community, and it’d boosted the student’s self-confidence, and self-confidence brings about that sense of self-respect, and that particular student no longer acted up in his classes, and he’d not needed to tell him to “BE QUIET!” every three minutes.

Another student told me, he’d found, that what helped him the most, was what I’d told the class out of the blue.  Turns out one day, I’d told the classes, that everybody has two persona, one in front of others, the other, when we’re, alone, that the best way to observe someone, is when the individual is living from day to day.  Back then, this student was into a female lecturer, in the school where he’d taught, but his families liked the woman at the matchmaking.  Last month, the school sent him and this particular instructor he’d liked to visit someone who’d fallen ill.  He’d told, that as this female instructor saw how the place was messy, she’d, immediately, rolled up her sleeves, gone into the kitchen, and started clearing up the bathrooms and the kitchen areas, and before they’d left, she’d told the elderly janitor thank you, for giving her chance to do something good for him for the day.  My student was very moved then, felt that this female instructor carried the “virtues of being a good wife”, that she was fitting to become the mother of his own young; and decided to drop the matchmaking call that his families had made for him, and marry this female instructor from his school.

I was moved by his “fitting to be the mother of my children”, if every couple can consider closely, their qualifications of becoming parents, then, why would we need the country to set up the laws to punish those, unfitting, parents?

The families, the schools, and the society, are three pillars that make up a country, any one missing won’t do, and it’s a domino effect, one falls, the rest falls with it.  Currently, Taiwan is in a awkward position in that game of tug-of-war between China and the U.S., rather than sucking up, why not, work hard, to earn back that lost respect.  We were once, the head of the four dragons of Asia a long time, ago, why are we, moving, backwards, to the, bottom, of that list?

“Brothers shared the same hearts, no need to get the inheritance from their parents”, with the parents acting right, the schools doing their jobs, teaching the students the right morale, the government officials taking the responsibilities………………, you can count on only you, and nobody else!

And so, this showed, how important, the education in the family is, because the family IS the most basic, functional unit of a society, and, if all these families that makes up the society started, falling off left and right, how can you expect the country to be great?  So, this is on how education should still starts, with the family first, education in the families is, way, way, WAY more important than anything we will learn from school, unfortunately, the families are, mal-functioning all over the places, and, these days, if you don’t have the ability to educate yourselves, then, society gets, totally, SCREWED, and that’s, why the world is, currently, this big a mess, because families are, not functioning properly, and, children these days, well, they lacked the abilities to, educate themselves, after all they grow up, without the proper, role models when they were young.

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Filed under "Professional" Opinions, Child Development/Education of Children, Education, Family Matters, Life, Parenting/Parenthood, Perspectives, Philosophies of Life, Properties of Life, The Education of Children, Wake Up Calls

My Father-in-Law’s Final Wishes, Finally, Fulfilled

Fulfilling a dream of his late father-in-law, translated…

My father-in-law had always been an enigma to me, he’d never told us anything about his past, we only knew, that he was from a well-rounded family in Shaoxing, Zhejiang, and started working as a sailor when he was only eighteen, nineteen years of age, and followed that merchant ship to Taiwan at age twenty, and, never went back home again.

He had kept the diaries for long, but, never allowed us to read them, he’d told, “I’m not writing a diary, just whatever that came to my mind, I’d jotted it down, if you’re interested about my past, then, you can read it, after I’m a hundred.”  After he’d passed, as I’d helped sorted through his belongings, I’d, read through the more than twenty volumes of diaries my late father-in-law had, kept, mostly were the nitty-gritty of goings on in life, but, there was this, light blue notebook, on the first page, it’d had the historical pickle farm in his ancestral home in Shaoxing, with the names of all of his siblings, and he’d told of how his life in Taiwan wasn’t what he’d expected it to be, but, he’d refused to go back, due to how tough he was.

a notebook like this…

查看來源圖片
with everything about his past written down on record by him, for his offspring to find…

Because there’s no record of which pickle farm, we’d searched online, and found there were, several, but, there’s only one farm with the owners being, Chen, “the Chien-Yu Pickle Farm”, and, at its prime, it was, the historical pickle farm in all of China.  At that very moment, I’d, written to the Shaoxing Province connection here in Taiwan, hoped that they can help us find my father-in-law’s ancestral home, at the same time, if there are still living relatives of his there.  Not long thereafter, the letter from the Chinese local governments told us, that my father-in-law’s eldest brother is still alive, but he’s in a vegetative state, bedridden through the ages, and there were, five cousins, and his youngest aunt who’s still living.

At the end of 2011,my wife and I accompanied my mother-in-law to my father-in-law’s place of origin, Shaoxing, at the same time, we’d also gone to visit my wife’s eldest uncle who’s bedridden.  During the visit, my mother-in-law whispered in her eldest brother-in-law’s ears, “I’m the wife of Rong Hong, we had come home to visit you.”, and, everybody who was there, saw that our eldest uncle who’d been in a vegetative state, with tears coming from his eyes.

Two days after we’d returned back to Taiwan, my wife’s older female cousin called to tell, that eldest uncle is gone, that he was in peace when he passed.

And so, this elderly man is, waiting for that word of his loved one who’d come to Taiwan, and, he’d, finally gotten what he was waiting for, as he’d, passed away in peace, and, the family had, helped fulfilled the older generation’s dreams of returning home to visit his own kin.

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Filed under Family Matters, Life, On Death & Dying, Philosophies of Life, Properties of Life, the Finality of Life

A Mother’s Delusions

The lovers, of a, past time, a mother’s interactions with her sons…translated…

My set of, delusions, I suppose, it got started as MERS-CoV started spreading across Taiwan.

“Dad, mom, I will have classes starting tomorrow afternoon, in the morning, I will be picking up my living necessities, are there things you need me to pick up for you, do write it down for me.”  After school started back in February this year, MERS took over the world, and, Taiwan had been tightened on keeping the virus out.  My husband and I are usually busy at work, and my youngest son still stays in school, and, for my son, who’s doing research more than being in the lecturers, naturally, shouldered up the house’s defenses against MERS-CoV.

Remembered, how at first, none of us is familiar with the protocols of the measures.  Every time my husband or I got off work, dragging our steps, set foot into our home, my son could always quickly pick up that spritzer bottle, to sanitize us, and reminded us the steps, the measures to take for our own, protections, until all the details of the steps became routinized.  And we always felt comforted when we saw our son.  When he is energetic, he’d prepared the suppers; when he’s tired, we’d, broiled up some dumplings.  Luckily, he’s more often energetic than he wasn’t, and, most of times, neither one of us is picky with food.

“Mom, don’t worry about it, I’ll take out the leftovers in a bit.  The recycling materials, I’ll sort through them before class tomorrow.”

Often, by the time I got home, the leftover, the recycle materials, are all sorted out, and the clothes hung outside are all, taken in, and folded too, placed inside our room, like how I’d, normally done it.

For me, these simple days are, romantic; being with my family, safe and sound, that is, a huge, blessing.

illustration from UDN.com

身為老媽的癡心妄想。圖/蔡侑玲

After the alerts got elevated in May, school pulled its session, and the offices shut down, my sons and I, stayed at home, shopping, cooking, cleaning, and other household chores, no need to assign anyone to, they all got, done.

It was Father’s Day, the weather is sunny, and the outbreaks slowed down a bit, the family decided to go to the outside of the gym for a five to six laps outside, to allow that sun we hadn’t seen in a long while to shine on us.

Just as usually, we’d started walking, and started chatting, I’d recalled, how it’ll be Chinese Valentine’s in a few more days, I’d blurted out, “boys, you are my lovers from a past life, stay by my side, and don’t get married!”, their father looked at me and smiled, “You have me, an old love, am I not enough for you!”, I’d looked at my lovers, “come on, can’t I just, have some fun here!”, my sons used that exorcist’s gestures, waved over my head, “mom, you can, get back to normal now!”

I think, my sons are, already, used to their mother’s, crazy thoughts and words every now and then.

I knew, that this is, only, a mother’s delusions.  Actually, my sons are just like any children, with their, stubborn sides, had their rebellious stages during their younger years too.  But I’m still, moved by their, many actions often, especially toward me, their mother.

a mother and her sons…

查看來源圖片
photo from online

And, it’s no wonder, I would, carry this sort of a, delusion then.

And so, this is, the closeness of a mother and her sons, and, her sons are, very gentle, very kind, caring, and concerned toward their parents, and it’s still due to how connected this family is regularly, because these sorts of interactions, just don’t happen out of the blue one day, they must be set up, and they must become, a sort of a, ritual for everybody to get used to.

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My Father’s Treasure Chest

What his father, cared the most about in his life, as he’d, finally, discovered, sorting through his father’s, belongings, after he’d, died, translated…

My father has a brown wooden chest stashed away, that squarish appearance, carried that sense of having weathered through a lot, with that old-style iron clad lock on it, I’d watched him from occasions, with that thoughtfulness, opening that chest up, but never knew its, contents, nor did I, dare prod.

My father was originally from Shandong, came with the Nationals, with that thick accent of his.  His voice originally rumbled quite loudly, and as he’d become hard-of-hearing when he aged, he’d, upped his own volume of speaking, like he was, arguing constantly with someone.  As my father passed, I was, sorting through his belongings, found a set of old keys, opened up the chest, and, took a peek, at the secrets my father had, kept, locked inside…………

查看來源圖片
a chest like this…photo from online

What I saw were, the neatly, packed, stacked up, envelopes of letters, and the items wrapped neatly, in the plastic bags.  I’d, curiously, taken each and every one out to examine, some of the contents were yellowed, and rotten, with that moldy smell to them, I’d worried I might break it, and I’d, slowed, down my own breaths.

There were, the awards certificates from the services, rolled up or flattened out, of them, the dates had been, blurred, illegible.  There were, the handwritten stories of his life, the letters, a bit, rough, I’d read those, hardened, edgy handwriting, I’d started, crying.  What he’d kept closest, wrapped in that tape, to prevent the humidity from getting in, was a photo of the family of four of us………so, this, is the, ultimate, treasure then.

And so, the treasure his father kept, was the family’s photo, and this still showed how much this man cared about his loved one, how, he’d, taken the energies, to wrap up the photo, and tucked it away, at the bottom most of that, chest he brought over with him with the nationals.

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The Lesson of Respect from a Wooden Keg

A lesson of RESPECT this mother learned, from taking her daughter’s wooden keg to use without permission from her own daughter, translated…

“The availabilities of water for five days, and the other two are unavailable” was on the verge of being implemented, but, I have no idea how much water we use per day at home.  But to not run out, I’d started, emptying out all the containers, pots and wok, to use as the water storage containers, the plastic cases used originally to store our winter clothes, the bucket I use to water the plants, the ironclad pot for the soup……………the volume of the things I could have, are getting smaller and smaller, and I can’t think of anything else to use.

At this time, I saw that wooden keg my daughter bought with a lot of money, to soak her legs with, I’ll just, use that then!  As my daughter came home from work, she saw the water filling up the keg, she’d looked at me upset, told me, “This is now how you use the wooden basin, soaking it up in water, the wood will rot eventually.”

The soaking basin is afraid of water?  It doesn’t fit my logic at all.  My daughter pulled out the evidence from my past—I’d once not used the hinoki keg that’s used for bathing, causing it to stay humid, and eventually, rotting out, and finally, I had to, throw it out.  Yeah, I admit, I am, too careless at times.  And so, I can only, muffle up, and, start, pouring the water into the bottles and jars all around.

And, the next time the water supply was limited, this time, I’d, covered the keg with a huge patch of plastic first, and continued to save up the water for washing up, for flushing the toilets.  But my daughter still, grilled me, “I’d told you, that the wooden keg can’t be immersed in water!”

And I felt furious, of how she’d, used the same reason to grill me, didn’t I wrap the keg in a film of plastic already?  I’d entered into the bathrooms, looked—ahhhhh—I’d, found a bag that’s, with holes in it.  After I’d, gotten the water split into separate containers, by then, my anger was already, overflowing me.

I’d found two plastic bags with the “no-leak” guarantees, wrapped it into the wooden keg, continued to prepare for this third-round of not having water.

“Why don’t you respect me?  It’s MY wooden keg!”, my daughter started crying, and accused me.

how this…taught the woman about respect…

查看來源圖片
photo from online

I’d felt upset too, I’d saved up the water in the keg for everybody in the house, I’d already, wrapped it up in a plastic bag that won’t leak, how was that not respecting my daughter’s belongings?  I’d started, getting upset as she too, I’d, given so much to this family already, and my daughter was, even more angered, and more upset, and started, nagging at me, and it seemed, that a war was about to blow between us, mother and daughter, because of a wooden keg.

But, how is a wooden keg, and respect related?  I’d tossed and turned that night, thought, for a long, long, long time, then suddenly, EUREKA!  I’d understood why my daughter was, angered.

In my teens, because my mother rummaged through my room, and read my diaries—even though, I’d not written anything secretive in it, but that sense of not being respected, I just felt, hard-to-swallow—and so, I’d, torn those pages out of my diary, and burned them all, before my mother!  Harsh enough, and now, as that stubborn young lady I was, became a mother, it’d become, my daughter’s turn, to blame ME for not respecting her things.

Being in charge of the household happenings too long, you’d, mistakenly believe, that EVERYTHING in the house was under your jurisdiction.  And yet, every member of the family, all had their own, private things that they kept, and even though they’re, placed at home all around, they’d not, belonged to me, who’s, keeping the household tidy.

So, the keg was bought by my daughter, and, as the weather got cold, I can, enjoy the soaks, but, it didn’t mean, that I can, use it at my will.  Although, my goal in storing the water with it, was to benefit the whole family, but, I’d not, gotten consent from my daughter, the owner of the wooden keg, which caused me to get nagged by her, for not respecting her things

I understood it now!  Thanks to this wooden keg’s reminding me, that no matter how long we live under the same roof together, how close we all are to each other, “Respect” is an absolute, necessity!

And so, this mother learned, this important lesson, just because the keg was there, available, that does NOT mean that she could, use it, she didn’t ask permission from her daughter, because her daughter bought it, and so, naturally, as the daughter saw the mother used the wooden keg to store water, she got angered, and besides, the material of the wood can rot away easily, because of the moistures, and the mother finally, learned, the lesson of RESPECTING her own, daughter’s, belongings, and learned, that even though, they shared the same space of living, it doesn’t mean, that she can have access over everything she found lying around her house, especially those things that aren’t owned by her.

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