12 Days of Gratitute – Day 3

I missed publishing my post yesterday.  While Sundays are usually a relaxing put-your-feet up kind of day for most people, I find it generally busy.  Husband starts his 5-day work week on Sundays – this means: (1) Saturdays are our only “family day” so most of the day is spent on Q-time rather than chores; and (2) my chore day is Sunday while I solo parent and have some one-on-one Mama/Kid time with a very active preschooler.  This Sunday was no different except that my parents decided to come for a visit.  Without going into too much detail, I love that my parents want to spend time with their only grandkid but this visit left me feeling like I was I was looking after not 1 but 3 kids!  Of course, after they left, I got a visit from good old-fashioned Chinese guilt.  The silver-lining of this episode of Chinese guilt is that I also started thinking about the amazingness (and not in a Barney Stinson way) of my parents which led to this post (although published a day late).

Day 3…The Parents

Mom and Dad








(Photo Credit: Mark Anthony Studios)

Mom and Dad were born and raised in a very poor part of this world.  Each of them is the second youngest of a number of siblings in the double digits (just imagine the guest list for my wedding – 3 generations of family on each side to start and we haven’t even gotten to Husband’s family and our friends!). They travelled across oceans and settled in Canada in the 1970s in the hopes of creating a better life for them and for their family – to give you a sense of the magnitude of this decision, picture two persons in their mid-20s, travelling across continents with less than $100 in their pockets to settle in a place where they had one relative and where their first language is not the spoken language – yeah, not sure if I have the guts to do this.

Over the years, they worked very hard – they raised two kids and put them through university and college, the Family House (which they/we have lived in since the late 1970s) is paid off, they are finally retired (well, Dad is semi-retired – he goes back to work whenever his old company needs help because he loves it) and enjoying life through travels and spending time with their siblings.  The family was very modest (my parents were very frugal) yet I never felt like I lacked for anything (maybe my own car when I turned 16 but being much older now, it was a smart decision on their part) – we had food on our table (and let me tell you, Chinese home cooking is.the.best), I wore pretty trendy (but not designer) clothes and there was a roof over our head (where I didn’t have to share a room with anyone); I went on all the school trips, family dinners out, presents at Christmas and a lot of family vacations.  It’s not only “not bad” but it’s pretty freaking amazing given Mom and Dad’s very humble beginnings

However, growing up, I KNOW that both Brother and I were challenging (this is probably an understatement) and we took Mom and Dad for granted. We were rebellious – always wanting to do what our friends were “allowed” to do – no matter what they did for us, it was never enough.  Mom and Dad were (are still) on us for everything no matter how big or small (Mom “gently suggested” that I should visit my doctor to confirm for HER that everything is OK with me to produce a second grandchild for her and Mom has also called me numerous times worrying about Brother passing his training exams or whether he and his girlfriend are fighting).  At the top of priorities led Family and Education – it didn’t matter if he was a cousin five times removed who never socialized with my family, if there was a drop of family blood, it was enough and help was given freely and don’t even get me started if I came home with anything less than an A (yes, I have Tiger Parents but they weren’t as intense to ask for an A++).  They still parent like we are 10 years old – note that this has extended to Husband as well because since our wedding, he is family and therefore Mom and Dad feel they have somewhat of a free rein with him (Dad has raked the leaves in our backyard and cleaned out our garage – much to Husband’s dismay as he could not find anything in the garage after that and Mom brought me a new dish rack since the one I currently have is not big enough – not the first time Mom and Dad buy and give us random things  – i.e., an old spice rack, wine decanter, Costco size Coffeemate, back scratcher, etc.).

I could go on and on with many stories of my parents. Their quirks can be exasperating but one theme rises above all – they only do things with great intention.  Mom and Dad would do anything in their power to make things better for Brother, Husband and me.  This is why Mom worries about Brother (and me).  This is why Dad rakes the leaves and cleans out the garage – because Husband and I are busy with our respective careers and an active preschooler.  This is why Mom and Dad buy random stuff for us – because they believe we could use the stuff which they found on sale and we don’t have time to shop for sales. By example , they have shown me to be generous at heart, to care and value family and education and to lead a life with good intention.  I have not perfected these and still slip up but just as they forgive me , so too I have learned to forgive myself and try to do better.

I love you Mom and Dad.