Mom and Daughter Growing Together

Posted By on June 2, 2013

(Authors Note: This is the continuation of the NYC visit from April 2013. These conversations were originally in Cantonese. Translations here are done as accurately as possible.)

After the first night, I was a little apprehensive about the 10 more days of staying with my mother. So I vowed, this week with my mom:
I will be kind.
I will express my gratitude.
I will be understanding.
I will be inclusive.
I will trust in my mother’s positive intentions.
Though, I remember the past, I will receive each moment anew.
Me: When do you have work?
Mom: Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, why?
Me: OK. Oh, I just wanted to know when to make plans with and without you, so we can spend the most time together.
Mom: You and cameron can have my room.
Me: But it’s your bed.
Mom: The bed is big, you’ll be more comfortable.
Me: Thanks, mom.
Me: Mom, do you want to come to lunch with us and an old friend of mine?
As I did this, I realized, I’ve never invited her out with me with a friend. I have excluded her from my personal life as a youth because it was my escape.
Mom: What are you going to eat.
Me: Ethiopian food.
Mom: What’s that?
Me: Ethiopia is a country in Africa that’s known for their poverty. So, this would be a taste of what food they would cook if they had food. We’ll be eating with our hands…
Mom: Sounds interesting. Sure.
Me: Mom, cameron and I want to go on a date. Could you put the kids to sleep tonight?
Mom: Sure.
This is the first time my mother has ever spent time with all three of my children … alone.
The next day. She said, “They were so well behaved. When I told them it was time for bed, they all just went to bed.”
In fact, she watched the kids three nights while we were there.
Mom: You are so skinny.
After every child birth, my mom would mention to me how I was going to gain weight and be fat (perhaps that is what people said to her). I learned to shrug it off as her own process. This was the first time she said something different. 
Me: I have some chub here and there.
Mom: No, you are skinny.
On the last day of our stay, cameron and I had VIP tickets to see the Daily Show with Jon Stewart and my mom had agreed to watch the kids for us. On the day before, she informed me that she also had a dance lesson she has every Monday and a birthday party of a close friend after that.


The Min Yi, I once knew, would have gotten upset. The mom, I once knew, would have gotten more upset and leave without saying good bye (Highschool graduation 1996, NYC visit 2005).


This time around, I asked, “So, what are we going to do?”
“I guess I’m just going to cancel my dance lesson and miss the party. It’s your last night here. I want to have dinner with you guys.”
She walked us out to the car with our luggage that night. She gave my children hug after hug after hug. She lingered with us on the sidewalk, saying “I don’t know why but it’s hard let you go.”
Mom, we’ve come a long way.

About The Author

I am a Chinese-American mother of three boys, parenting with the traditions worth keeping from the East and West. I continue to learn new ways of raising a family and myself.


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