It’s Mother’s Day, and while I’m bummed I can’t be at home to celebrate with my mom in person, I’m looking forward to a Facetime sesh where I can give her a big virtual hug and send over my love.
Besides inheriting her amazing Asian genes (which has saved my gluttonous self big-time), I’m so thankful she has taught me the following:
- Grit above all else - My mom gave up her engineering college professor role in China to move to the U.S. in 1989 to support my father’s graduate education. Facing a new language and culture with no friends and family around, my mom’s pedigree from Wuhan was of little value, and she had to balance minimum wage waitress and housekeeper gigs to help pay for family bills and meals. And she never complained. As a young girl, I was just amazed by her humble nature and sheer grit and watched her re-establish herself in this new country from scratch by learning English and acquiring new professional skills in CAD Design.
- Comfort in my own skin - She encouraged self confidence from within and didn’t pressure me to wear makeup, grown long hair, or diet, as I was growing up like most other Asian moms. I’m incredibly grateful I could explore various ways of aesthetic self expression (yep, that pink pixie girl w/ platinum bangs at Smith was me) and believe that creative freedom is a strong reason I’ve been able to pursue less conventional professional interests as an immigrant from the traditional Chinese culture and ultimately entrepreneurship.
- Unconditional love for the fam - She has put me, my lil bro, and my father above all else, cooking delicious and nutritious meals from scratch every day, keeping the house in order, and offering continuous emotional support. I learned empathy firsthand from her.
- How to make homemade Chinese food - Hands down, the most awesome way for me to hold onto my roots. P.S. Friends and flames have benefited from this as well.
I love you 妈妈 and will be so proud to be as strong and kind a mom as you one day.