I’d like to interrupt this broadcast to dedicate a special segment to the coolest women in my life.
Even though they don’t read English. (Thank God…)
My Laolao. My grandmother. Who raised me (and introduced me to the glorious world of soap operas.)
My Laolao would stay with us a few months a year. When I asked her when she would be back, she’d say “I’ll be back when all the leaves has fallen.”
So everyday on the way to school I would pluck a few leaves from the trees.
My grandmother raised 5 kids on her own. She had my mom when she was 40. Her husband died 2 years after. She had no job. No money. All of their saving were lost in a lawsuit. My grandfather reportedly died in jail. I can’t even begin to fathom how that difficult that must have been for her, therefore I’m not even going to attempt to tell her story.
But I can tell you this much: She has 2 sons, 3 daughters, 8 grandsons, 4 granddaughters, 8 great-granddaughters, 3 great-grandsons. She has all of her teeth. Her hair is always meticulously combed with a special brand of hair mousse that stores no longer carry. She smokes like a chimney and is sharp as a tack. She loves TV and mahjong. She’ll be 94 soon. And I’d pray to God that she lives until at least 100.
He said ok.
My Mama. Well I guess in English, it’s also mama.
“God please don’t let me become my mother!!!” Is what I’d pray.
But every single day I find myself more and more like her.
But man is she a scary lady!!! If I tell her I’m sick, she’d first yell at me for not wearing that jacket like she told me to.
“Your mother doesn’t seem like the crazy psychopathy you described…” My friend commented to me after she met my mother for the first time.
“Obviously she’s not gonna act crazy when other people are around!!!” I explained.
She had her special way of parenting.
Me- “Mom, I’m thinking of taking up smoking.”
Mom- “Ok go ahead. But sleep with one eye open, coz I’m gonna kill you in your sleep.”
She’s also my moral compass. Whenever my selfish natural tendencies come out, I’d hear her voice.
“Quit being such a petty brat! You’re so self-centered sometimes it disgusts me!”
“Shut up! Shut up! Shut up!” I’d yell at her in my head.
But in the end, she’d win.
I’m not saying she’s always right… and if you tell her that, I’d kill you in your sleep. Capisce?
She’s one of the most resilient human beings I know. (Must be genetic)
I realized this last Thursday when I was kept awake all night by the WORLD’S WORST dilemma…
All of a sudden I thought “Oh my god!!! I don’t know how my mom did it!!! Her problems were wayyyy worse than mine!!!”
Then I fell asleep.
What I also remember is how she used to ride her bike to pick me up from kindergarten everyday. Sometimes she’d bring me small gifts in her front basket. Like a cake or a small toy.
One day she was late, and a classmate told me she had abandoned me.
“She’s not coming for you! Your mama doesn’t want you anymore!” He laughed maliciously.
Nobody taught me how to punch people so I just cried. I was so overwhelmed by fear that I continued to cry for what felt like an hour (when in reality it was probably 15 minutes).
Then I heard my mother’s voice.
“I’m here!” Asians don’t apologize. But her cheeks glowed from biking furiously.
“That Lying Fuck LIED and said you left me!!!”
Is what I would have said nowadays…
In reality I just remember running towards her with tears and mucus running down my face.
“I’m late because I went to the market and bought you this!” She said breathlessly.
In her front basket was the most gorgeous life-size doll I’d ever seen. It was bigger than I was!
Boy was I spoiled…