This post is the first of our grand prize winners of our big “For the Love of Mom” writing contest. Over the next couple weeks leading up to Mother’s Day, we will be sharing our winner’s posts. Please feel free to comment and share them – we can’t wait to see how they resonate with YOU! I love this post from Christina, opening up my eyes to a world so foreign to me!
A guest post by Christina C.:
Born in a small village in China, and raised in Hong Kong, my mom was the third eldest of 6 children. Having the education of a third grader, schooling wasn’t a high priority for females. Her and her 3 sisters were put to work early on, and they would eventually be the parent’s caretakers in their old age.
My mom ran a juice store, baked goods in a bakery, and learned to administer shots at a local hospital. She was a Jill of all trades, which is very impressive for someone who had little to no schooling in her lifetime.
My mom’s brother and my dad’s brother were classmates, so my parents both tagged along whenever they hung out. My grandma thought it was time my dad found a wife, so he asked my mom even though she had a boyfriend at the time. She agreed without ever dating!
My dad came to the US to work to earn money before he came back to Hong Kong to marry my mother, and bring her back to the states.
My mom gave birth to my brother in the US, and I arrived two years later. We didn’t have the most loving household. “I love you” were never said, but we were always well-fed. My parents worked 7 days/week, so I was raised by my paternal grandma for the first 9 years of my life. My mom worked tirelessly while holding down 2 jobs, one as a seamstress, and another working at my dad’s restaurant, just so we could have a better life, but as a consequence, we’d spent little quality time together.
I’ve always felt my brother was my mom’s favorite, until the year he went off to college.
My mom was giving me the attention I had always sought out from her, but had never gotten. My brother wasn’t in the way of her loving me now. It felt as if my mother was seeing me for the first time. I was her companion while my dad was working. We’d spent a lot of time together that year, but just like that, it was over when I left for college.
My college roommate spoke nightly on the phone with her mom and referred to her as her best friend. I’d confessed to her that I didn’t even know if I loved my mom. I talked to my mom once a month, even that may be an exaggeration. I floated through 2 years of college, and yet, I still didn’t miss her. Just writing this out invokes a sadness tucked deep in my heart. I felt that I had held on to so much resentment and bitterness from my mom’s favoritism towards my brother, that I couldn’t even let my heart open up to the possibility of loving her.
My sophomore year was a devastating year for me. My paternal grandmother, the woman who had raised me, and the woman I identified with more than my mother, fell incredibly ill.
I remember the day my parents and I visited my grandmother at the hospital. I walked through her room door and I couldn’t breathe. My legs gave out on me, so I sat down immediately. Instinctively, my mom walked over and held me. I sobbed uncontrollably for a very long time while she just held me quietly. My world had broken into tiny little pieces when my grandmother passed, but in that instance, my mom quietly gathered them up and diligently glued them back together for me. It was in that one defining moment when I knew my mom had always loved me. It was my own stubbornness that kept her out and the barrier had finally been lifted.
Our relationship steadily grew throughout the past 20+ years. Today, I have a 2 year old daughter of my own. I now understand the hardships my mom faced trying to stay afloat while raising my brother and I the best way she knew how.
My mom is the best grandma to my little girl. They absolutely adore each other. My mom teaches her classic Chinese children’s songs & she sings along. They’ve shared many belly laughs and are making amazing memories together. I’m lucky my mom can spend time and shower my little one with her love and affection. I know she would have done the same for me if her circumstances were different. She immigrated here, and worked herself ragged just to give us a better life. I’ve come to rely on her as much as she relies on me. Words cannot even begin to express how much admiration, gratitude, and love I have for her. She is my superwoman and I can only hope I can be even half as good of a mom as she is.
Christina C. is currently a SAHM who is navigating this thing called motherhood. A lover of good food, baking, arts & crafts, CrossFit, and sleep.
This post was written exclusively for Tales of a Mountain Mama in response to the For the Love of Mom writing contest.
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