On this Mother’s Day, I am sharing this story of a girl and her mother.
My parents were very strict growing up. My sister and I only had one role: to study and get good grades in order to go to a good college. Anything that didn’t help achieve that wasn’t allowed. No makeup, no nail polish, no sleepovers, no dating. Even when we went off to college, my dad stressed that again, our only role was to study and get a good job. Thus, little by little, we pushed our parents to the outer sphere of our lives, telling them only what they needed to know, while conveniently leaving out such details like dates and bad grades.
Even after I graduated college and fully became independent, my parents required that I called them every couple of days or so to let them know that I’m still alive and kicking. Most days, I checked in with my mom. Our conversations were short. I never had too much to talk about… well because honestly, my life wasn’t very exciting or conversation-worthy.
I knew it wouldn’t be easy to tell my parents that their well-educated daughter is quitting her stable job in order to run around the world with a man that they’ve never met. I’m sure it’s every parents’ nightmare. Especially mine, as the Chinese culture believes that 1) living with a partner before marriage is a dishonor, and 2) not having a reputable job is an embarrassment. But my mom listened to me. And even though she didn’t like what I had to say, she understood that I needed to live my own life and pursue happiness if the opportunity is there.
My dad was a different story. He didn’t listen or understand and said some really nasty, hurtful words, including threats to cut off communications.
“No matter what you decide to do, I will never stop talking to you.” My mom told me.
But I felt so hurt from my dad that I withdrew from my family, including my mom.
The subsequent months I spent not talking to my mom was the hardest period in my life. I hated thinking that I made her sad. I didn’t want her to think that I was mad at her and didn’t care anymore. But at the same time, I needed space to put myself back together from the harsh, cutting words of my father that broke my spirit into pieces. I’m not sure if she understood or not, but she stepped back and allowed me the space I needed to figure out what I want.
And when I was ready to let her in again, she welcomed me back with open arms. No questions and no judgment.
From that moment, I knew I wanted my mom to be part of my life. No more secrets.
“The heart of a mother is a deep abyss at the bottom of which you will always find forgiveness.”
– Honore de Balzac
When I initially told my parents I wanted to travel the world with D, unsurprisingly, they asked how I was to make money.
“I can start a travel blog.” I said, since I had heard about people who successfully earn income from their blogs.
(Yes, this was the original reason I started this blog. Obviously, after a few months, I now realize I’m too social-network and SEO-challenged to really make a living out of this.)
“Yeah right,” my dad scoffed. “You think you’re a good writer? Who do you think would even be interested to read what you write?”
And so when I started this blog, I only shared it with a couple of my closest friends. I didn’t even tell my mom. I guess I was embarrassed about my writing. I was hesitant to let people know and thought no one would be interested.
Eventually after I reconnected with my mom, I gave her the url to this blog, even though I was still worried about my writing.
I’m still not sure if I’m a good writer or if what I write is interesting, but I do know this: my mom supports me and I’m sure she is the only person on earth who reads and loves every word I write on this blog. And that’s enough for me. This is why I write: to keep my memories alive, and now, to connect with my mom. So she can always be a part of my life, even from half a world away.
Admittedly, sometimes it does suck to think that I spent hours or even days working on a post, and maybe, like my dad had said, no one cares. And there are days I wonder what’s the point of blogging? But then I get a message from my mom, “Good post. I like your pictures!!”, and I know all the effort had been worth it.
Life can be funny. I guess I had to leave home in order to become closer to my mom. I’ve always known what an incredible and strong woman she is, but I’m only sorry that it took until I grew up and left the country to really connect with her.
My mom may not have always been the confidant who I felt comfortable sharing my life with, but she is amazing for not only accepting, but also supporting a daughter who has gone astray from all Chinese conventions. And that really means so much to me.
So thank you mom, for showing me unconditional love. And I know I don’t say it enough, but I love you and you mean everything to me.
As I write this, my mom is currently in China, visiting her parents. She doesn’t get internet connection there, but I know that when she gets back, she will be eagerly catching up on every post that she’s missed.
Happy belated Mother’s Day, mommy!