How We Celebrate Mother’s Day

Splitting up our schedules, so we would have time with our separate families, translated…

My wife is from Kaohsiung, she’d married me at age twenty-eight, and lived with me in Taipei, living alongside me, focusing her life on my family of origin and I, every year around the New Year’s or the holidays, the parents’ and elder’s birthdays, we’d spent in Taipei; and we’d only gone back to her home in Kaohsiung on New Year’s and winter and summer vacations, most of the other times, we can only make the phone calls back to her parents.

Several years ago, things started changing, my wife finally received her doctorate, and luckily, she’d found a teaching position in Kaohsiung, and so, she’d taken our younger daughter back home to live, and I lived with my college age son in Taipei. My wife’s scheduling was way more flexible than my schedules in the high school I’m teaching in, and so, she was the one, traveling to Taipei from Kaohsiung, and back.

The very first Mother’s Day after we’d, “split up”, in order to make the time for Taipei’s schedule, she’d especially have a Mother’s Day celebration in Kaohsiung for her own mother. Before Mother’s Day the following year, my mother opened up, said that we lived in Taipei, that we can gather at any time, that we should be the ones, having the Mother’s Day celebration a week early; that way, on Mother’s Day, my wife would be able to stay in Kaohsiung, to spend the day with her parents.

And this, is how we spent Mother’s Day now.

And so, this mother-in-law was very kind, and thoughtful, and, her act of kindness made the family work even better together, because I’m more than certain, that the man’s wife appreciated her mother-in-law’s kind gestures, to let her go back home to spend Mother’s Day with her side of the family.


The First of My Priorities

The shifting of this woman’s priority as she’d become, a mother, translated…

As the sleepy bugs attacked, Mimi who’s not yet two became very clingy and easily agitated. After I’d carried her to bed, we’d experienced rolling around on the sheets, a game of chasing, making friends with the big Teddy bear, went off bed to get some milk, playing with toys, reading books, until after a whole hour, she’d finally, fallen to sleep. And, in order to get this face that’s, so sound asleep, I’d needed to have the twice a day, three minutes, to two hours’ drama of putting her to bed.

Hanging up the laundry will only take me ten minutes, sweeping, mopping the floors, no more than fifteen, but, don’t know if the next time my daughter flipped over if she will have those shiny bright eyes, looking at me? And, in order to have a set schedule for her, I can only, keep my patience, and stay by her side, to soothe her, and tried not to think about how much time has already passed, and, I’d accompanied her into dreams, then, awaken in a panic in the late nights, then, started, sorting through the messes in the house, and my work.

Recalling how as I started teaching first grade, in order to get the kids to understand the trials that their mothers had weathered, carrying them inside, I’d prepared the big balloons, to get those six-year-olds to stuff into their shirts, to try walking with a protruding belly. I’d heard the kids who were sweating like crazy, smiling and telling me, “It’s so hot!”, “I keep on bumping into my belly!”, back then, I wasn’t a mother yet, and couldn’t tell them exactly, why it was that motherhood is so difficult? And, as I’d heard my coworkers told, that only in the depth of the nights, did they get the chance to catch a reflection of themselves in the mirrors, to put on the makeup, then, they’d recalled, that there are other roles that they’d taken, other than a mother. Back then being single, I didn’t get it, does being a mother meaning losing the self? Or, does being a mother mean, that we are, our last priorities?

And snow, I’d become, a mother like that. At 7:30 in the morning, I’d, run into class, and, get my baby back at five from the nanny, and engaged in that race between being a mother and working as a school teacher. And the identity of me being “Ms. Lee” became, miniscule, because I’d needed, to fight for the freedoms to catch a matinee or to go for a thirty-minute jog. And, the freedoms those revolutionaries fought so hard for, I’d, easily, turned in my own life of independence, for a child.

The twelve-year-olds are already, very opinionated, looking at the girls, complaining on how their mothers don’t know them one bit, and that they’d often gave their mothers the silent treatments. I’d recalled how when Mimi was nine-months old, and had a very high fever, how I’d waited with her in the E.R., waiting for the urine test results and the blood test results.

I want to tell my Mimi, I know, that in your world, there will be many more beautiful things that are going to be ahead of us, your parents, we understand it, and we will, let go so you can pursue whatever makes you happy, but, the moment you’d become our baby, you’d become, and will always be, our top most priority.

And so, this, is how the mindset changes from when you were single, to when you’d become a mother, because, as we became mothers, time is no longer ours, it’d belonged to our children’s, and a lot of women lose their identities, taking up the multiple roles that we take up in our lives, and this woman apparently, found the balance of being a mother and being a school teacher, and her top priority is her daughter’s wellbeing, and that makes her a good mother!

Another “Opening” on My Body

Adapting to that extra opening on your body after your cancer, learning to live in peace with it, stop seeing it as an inconvenience of your life, and just, accepting it as a part of the brand new you now, translated…

I was diagnosed with cancer three years ago, last time I’d worked up the courage to write out my own story, it was, six months ago. I’d not dared state that I’d, encouraged other patients of cancer, but at least, I’d, given some courage to those I knew.

On my birthday last year, I’d, passed through the trials of life and death again, I’d gotten a new partner on my body——an enterostomy. Although I was diagnosed with lung adenocarcinoma, but that cancer loved, running around my body, metastasized to my abdomen. As I’d gotten my enterostomy, I’d felt troubled when I head out, and worried staying out too long, and every time I’d gone back to my oncologist, I’d asked when I can get the opening closed?

After I’d stayed home for about a month, not dared going out anywhere, I couldn’t say no to the temptations of food my friends and families used, started staying out of my house longer. At first, I’d, become, so nervous, everywhere I’d gone, I’d, cased out the place, to make sure that there’s a place I can go, and clean myself off, and I’d felt safe and securer. With the passing of time, I’d slowly gotten better off along with my enterostomy, and, in these past six months, I’d not only fitted myself into kimono to go to a sake tasting, headed to my seven days in Disney Tokyo with my older sister, gone to a salsa class which I started taking from before I was diagnosed, dressed up to the nines, in my high-heels, to my best friend’s wedding! And, my pack for heading out went from everything I may need, to, just a small bottle for water to clean off myself with.

查看來源圖片what it looked like in a “diagram”…from online…

Since I’d had a enterostomy, every time I’d seen that poster of giving the priority seats to those in need, even though they don’t appear different, I’d felt, deeply touched. Everybody needs to get taken care of, like there’s no way I would need to, or feel compelled, to lift up my blouse to see my needs at all time; now, as I see those younger faces sitting on the priority seats, I’d no longer stared.

There’s an exit on my body now, and, it seemed, that it’d, helped opened up a brand new window to my heart too, I’d become, more open minded, with a little more experimentalism. I hope to develop a bathing device for myself, so I can get away from being wiped for my baths (although there are the enterostomies on the markets that allowed for showers, but there are still, many inconveniences).

I’d no longer asked my oncologist when I can get my enterostomy sewn back up, and accepted that it’s, a part of who I am; with it, I’d even become, an observer in the restrooms! Perhaps one day in the future, I will write another article on how I’d used the restrooms with my enterostomy.

And so, you’d, finally, slowly accepted this opening on your body as a part of you, and, this took a lot of time, because treatment of cancer is never easy, especially the aftermath of it, even after you’d gotten surgeries, to get rid of the cancer cells, there are still, many things that came afterwards, the regular follow-ups, along with many more inconveniences in your lives, but, you’d, finally, learned, to adapt yourself to your “discomfort” and started coexisting in peace with it.

From an “Outsider” to Being a Member of His Family

The brickworks, laid by the husband, to make his wife look good in front of his own parents, and the wife is learning the ways of her husband’s home too, and, because the foundation by the husband was lain well, that is why, she’s, getting perfectly along, with her in-laws now, translated…

Back then, as my husband took along his parents to my home to ask my father for my hand, my father who’d, spoiled me like a princess, kept bloating and bragging about how good I was, like I was, out of my husband’s league. During which time, I saw my in-laws who’s not the least bit articulate held their straight faces, but still, smiled courteously.

After I married, my father-in-law treated me, “the Princess” and “daddy’s girl” with great courtesy, never asked me to perform any actions. And, as my husband and I moved out of their house, my father-in-law came by to see our place, and, turned back to my mother-in-law, “Come by to clean up this place for them at another time!”, once I’d gone to my in-laws’ for supper, and, I was slicing up some radish, and accidentally, cut off my nail, and I’d let out a yelp, my father-in-law came, and, I’d gotten my mother-in-law nagged by him, “Just do it yourself, how could she know how to handle these sorts of household chores?”

My mother-in-law treated my father-in-law’s words like they’re, from God, and ever since, she’d treated me with a ton of kindness, never let me into the kitchens to help out with the chores, and had, come to our home from time to time, to clean up after us. And, although I’d felt, blessed by this “gift”, I felt, a bit upset too—I’d felt, that I was, treated like, an outsider, and not a member of my husband’s family.

My husband is the quiet type, rarely talked to his parents, he’d refused, to give them the money he saved up to serve them in person, and I was, the middleman of the deliveries. And, every month as my mother-in-law received the envelope, she’d kept pushing it back into my hands, and thanked us repeatedly, and, through time, this “pushing the envelope” became, a time we’d shared together, and, through our conversations, my mother-in-law learned, that I, who was cherished by my father like a princess, wasn’t locked up in an ivory tower at all, that I was someone with whom she could have great conversations with.

And slowly, anything that’s occurred in my in-laws, I was the very first one my parents-in-law called up, whether it be businesses at the banks, or, needing a replacement of the old appliances, they’d discussed it with me, their daughter-in-law, instead of their own son. And, naturally, I’d loved, being, a “window” for helping my in-laws with the nitty-gritties of their lives, and so, they’d not, seen me, as an outsider anymore!

Once, my husband’s aunt who lived alone, and was under economic duress came to my place to pour her heart out to my mother-in-law, I was using the internet inside the study, and suddenly, I’d heard my mother-in-law stated, “Take these……it’s okay! We have more than enough, my daughter-in-law had given me money to keep……yeah, she’s, truly, wonderful! We have more to talk about than the conversations I’d had with my son!” I’m more than certain, that my mother-in-law who’s a straight shooter, wasn’t saying it because I was in the next room and can hear her.

Perhaps, I have my husband to thank, he’d told my mother-in-law, that I was the one, putting in the money to give to them per month, that he wasn’t the one putting up the money, and, although I’d still not gotten a handle on how to do the household chores well, but I’m noted as a good daughter-in-law in the neighbors’ and the relatives’ minds. Perhaps, I should be grateful, that my husband is very strong and silent, because of his quiet, his cherishing every word that came out of him, I’d become, the family with whom my in-law felt comfortable, telling things to.

So you see, the reason why this mother and daughter-in-law got along quite well is because of the son’s doing. The man had, paved the way for his own wife, to work as a “public relations” between his own wife and his own parents, and, that is a good husband does, being kind to his parents, and at the same time, acting as a bridge between his parents, AND his own wife, after all, the household harmony is the most important thing, when you live in a sort of an extended family like this, isn’t it???

Traveling Together, Making Memories

Children are, growing up, so fast now, and before you know it, they don’t need you anymore, and they’d, stopped, wanting you, the parents, to tag along! Translated…

These past couple of years, I kept, wanting to travel with my children again.

When they were younger, every season, we’d find opportunities, to head out together, or to go to the theme parks away from home to visit, or the National Parks, it didn’t matter if the locations were far or near, how long the trips were, or if we’d gone to the theme parks or not, the focus was, in making more memories of the time we spent together as a family.

With their coming of age, their course loads became, heavier, and, there’s, not many chances we get to, head out to travel as a whole family, and slowly, when I’d, invited them along, they’d, had that look of difficulty on their faces, even as I was only asking them to head out for a walk with me. I knew my children loved staying at home, and that there are, many reasons for them to not go out, but, although, I’d, intentionally, ignored, I’d had to admit, “the parents’ dates of expiration had, passed”, they’d started, focusing more on gathering up with their friends.

I understood the minds of teens’ wanting to hang with their friends, looking back at my self, it’d started for me, around this age too, the companions I had shifted from families to friends, then, due to school, work, going abroad, and, I’d, stopped, hanging out with my parents, or siblings, this was, merely, a transition into the adulthood years, nothing more.

But, even so, I’d still hoped, to go out with my children again. After a while, in this desire of mine, I seemed, to have caught a glimpse of my own parents, aren’t they also wondering, when they will be, traveling all around, with their own young once more?

Ahhhhh, I guess, I need to, plan a trip with mom and dad this next time then.

And so, this, is the attitude adjustment of this parent, from when her kids were still younger, to adjusting herself as her kids are, older, and, how the children wanted to, hang with their friends more, than their parents or grandparents, and this reminded the writer, that she may need to, shift her focus, to traveling with her own aging parents, instead of, keeping hoping, that her kids will, travel with her, because the kids are only, growing older by the day, you CANNOT have those innocent children who’d, relied on you 24/7 back again!!!

The Gym, a Short Prose

The changes in the beliefs of this man from before, to after the marriage, it’s actually, quite funny, don’t you think? Translated…

He’s a fanatic when it came to exercise, he’d gone to the gyms after work. One day, he’d met her through a friend, and, the focus of his life became dating and the marriage, and clearly, the time he went to the gym got, reduced. But he’d still loved exercising, he thought this was only, a period of transition. He’d often thought, if she were willing, to go to the gym with her, it would be wonderful. But he thought he shouldn’t demand so much of her, because other than not loving exercising, she’d fitted to his ideal of a perfect woman.

But, after a few years of marriage, he’d told his friend, “the only good thing about her is that she wouldn’t, follow me to the gym.”

See how the mindset changes, from before to after the marriage? That, is how it always works, because when you were in love, you tend to, ignore ALL the not-so-good qualities about each other, but after you two get hitched, then, it’s, a different story, that, is when ALL the differences get magnified underneath that microscope of yours.

Healing Up from a Condition, a Poem

Each Day, a Brand New Start

The seasons of life, through the various stages of becoming older, translated…

I’d been a mother for many years, and, always fantasized, that one day, I’ll be, very good as a mother eventually, dealing with the assortments of situations that my children throw at me. And yet, things never work out as we planned, in my son’s teenage years, I’d often gotten mad, upset, and cried.

Turns out, that as my son who was originally very close to me, as he reached puberty, he’d had an altered personality, very unpredictable, his moods swung throughout the day, to the point that I’d become, too flustered, making me panic, as I face this strange child before me. I’d felt helpless, and he couldn’t do anything about it either, he’d told me, that he knew he wasn’t supposed to do the things, but, as the raging hormones came, he couldn’t control his mouth.

During that time, I’d stepped on eggshells daily, dealing with the tensions between my son and I, today was easy, but what about tomorrow? What’ll that be like? Every day became an unknown, a brand new beginning, that, roused up my own emotions.

After that period of turbulence in his teenage years, that little boy who’d asked for his mom constantly is now, gone, and, a young man standing on his own, stood before me. With my son’s growing older, leaving home for college, entering his own adulthood years, getting farther, and farther, and farther away from me. As you can see, I’m about to, adjust how we’re to, interact with one another again, to start a brand new phase soon.

I can’t help but be curious, the next time we meet, what sort of a curve ball will my son throw at me, to test my wisdoms as his mother? As the year starts anew, I hope, that in this brand new year, I’ll be, a wiser mother, knowing when you give him applause, when to let go, to respect that he’s, already, grown.

And so, this, is the adjustments in the mindset of this mother, as her son transitions from his teens, into adulthood years, and, this may be hard to cope with, because as your children grow older, you are entering into the empty nest stages of your lives, and, it’s just, a lot of adjustments, changes, to cope with.