Becoming a mom changed me in a significant way. It gave me a greater understanding for my own mom, the trials she went through to raise us, and helped me see how she justified her choices in order to provide us with what she felt was the best life possible. Every choice we make, comes with a cost — hers certainly did. That is the struggle we all have to make as parents.
At 2 years old, I don’t think I was familiar with her
I recently asked my mom this question: “If you could turn back time, what would you have done differently in raising us?”. This was her heartfelt response:
Ok, I would have had different way of parenting, it’s very conditional, subject to your dad and me to have more solid financial status, and subject to the maturity of our mental states then I would keep both of you by my side by help of Housekeeper for baby sitting. Or tried to do the same as you are doing. I think you are a much greater Mom, I could never have achieved the same. I really feel sorry to you and Jule, I missed a lot and you grew without me, I didn’t do potty train neither guiding you learning to talk, u both like angels to me and had gone through a lot of my absence. Of course, we still had some good time together, but not enough compare to other families. I had to contribute time in business and still loving you all with my heart, it’s really tough. But if I could start one more time, I would follow you to all activities, like your color guard performance and Jule’s cheer leading activities…also involved your academic activities…
Too many things in my mind I can’t describe, just loving my family is always the same, never changed.
Dear Ange, I don’t think I have second chance to re do or change anything, but I really appreciate God and your dad, they turned both of you into the best rewards I could ever have. No other rewards or achievement can replace.
A little background to help you understand the context a bit more – My parents sent me back to Taiwan when I was 9 months old to be raised by my extended family (grandparents, aunts & uncles). My sister was also sent to Taiwan at the age of 2 months. My parents were struggling immigrants and did not have the financial ability to raise us, so my extended family raised us until we were 4 years old (not sure how they convinced them to take on such a task!).
In those years from infancy through toddlerhood, we never saw our parents. During that time, my parents worked hard to establish a life for themselves (and us) in the states. This is where her response comes from. She missed the opportunity to raise us and didn’t see us again until we were about to enter kindergarten. She said when I first came back, I had no idea who she was and didn’t even recognize her. I know it broke her heart.
I can’t imagine missing out on my children’s early years the way she did. She also worked a TON when I was growing up, and for the longest time I resented her for it. Thinking back on it now, this shaped me in a significant way — I’ve never been one to put much stock in possessions and this is the reason why… I always had plenty of stuff growing up, but never enough of what I truly needed — attention and time. What I value can’t be bought – they are free, but not always freely given.
We’re really close now and I think the world of her, but reading what she wrote in response to my question made my heart ache. She is flawed, she is perfect. This is my mom. So thankful to be able to have conversations like this with her now.