Two weekends ago, we celebrated my mother's birthday. Technically, she is 85 (according to her identity card). But she told me she's 86 because.... traditional Chinese count age differently.
The birthday meal was at the Seafood International Market & Restaurant. We needed three tables because my mother has many children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. I think if everyone had showed up, we would have needed four tables.
There was a lot of food.
Each table had a different crab. The other two tables had pepper and egg yolk crab. I think ours is the best!
There was a dessert but I forgot to take a pic. I think I was too full by then.
My mother and I have never had a fantastic relationship. Growing up, I often quarrelled with her and at the same time felt neglected by her. But I could understand as she has so many children and so little resources. I find it hard to communicate with her literally as my command of the dialect she speaks is limited. She is illiterate and my greatest regret is not making enough effort to teach her to read. We spent a few years on numbers and alphabets but she found writing hard and soon gave up. I think I should have just concentrated on listening, speaking and recognition. If I could go back in time, this is the one thing I would change.
When I was younger, I often selfishly focused on all the things my mother did not do for me, as a mother should. But after I was married and then had my kids, I found that my mother became something for me I did not even imagine she could be. She became the one person who solidly took my side every single time I turned to her. When my marriage was still young, I struggled with my MIL who was extremely demanding and sometimes quite mean to me. Every complaint to my mother was met with a sympathetic, how could she? it is not right, you don't have to be afraid of her. Even when I was the one being unreasonable and selfish, my mother would not criticise me. When hubs pissed the hell out of me, she would tell him in her limited English: you no scold Jane, I heart pain, cannot scold lawter (daughter). I think hubs practically shats his pants every time I threaten to telephone my mother.
Nowadays I no longer need to complain to my mother about such trivial matters because I am become quite fearless. But my mother has inspired me to be the kind of mother my kids would turn to when they are in need. I often find it hard not to nag, lecture and teach my kids the right thing to do because isn't that what parents are supposed to do? The right thing. This can be very hard to hear when sometimes all you want is something comforting and sympathetic. It is still work in progress but I will constantly strive to find the strength not to scold or criticise my kids and be able to let the small things go.