October 11, 2016

The Special Thing in my Mom I Hope to Pass Down

I've been thinking a lot about my parents lately...who they are, who they've made me. People talk a lot about the mistakes their parents made, all the cycles they hope to break. And my parents aren't perfect, of course, but what I'm really holding on to these days is everything they did right. They set the bar in so many ways, and I can only hope to love like them.

By the way...I think I can finally share the good news: I'm pregnant and my baby is due in April next year! If you've been wondering why it's been super quiet around these parts lately, well, now you know! I honestly just couldn't sit down to write about real life, so I've been focusing on my pregnancy and trying to wrap my mind around what's ahead. We're so, so excited, and I can't wait for this next chapter.

So when you're expecting your first child, the avalanche of parenting advice that rushes your way can be more than a little overwhelming. There are suggestions from friends, tips from family members, link after link of parenting stories online. And then, of course, there are all the pointers you pick up on your own.

More than anything, of course, as I try to imagine myself as a mother, I look to my mom. I remember the way she tucked me in when I was little, the music box that played, the final words she said each night: "I love you." I remember the notes she left in my lunchbox all the way through primary school, the times she saved the day by just being there. Again and again, I've replayed scenes where she was more selfless than I'm afraid I'll ever be and more empathetic than, at times, I may have deserved. I remember feeling safe, always.

She's not perfect, of course, nobody is, although she's a perfectionist. Sometimes she's way too perfectionist. Her punctuality makes her always in a rush, she's the queen of neatness, and sometimes she cares so deeply that I hesitate to share the tough things with her, afraid she'll panic for me. There's one thing, though, one quality of my mom's, that I'm vowing to pass on, and that's her relentless need to celebrate the little things.

Every time I got an A on an exam, the paper made its way onto our refrigerator for the week. Whenever I won first place in school debate, I got to pick what we had for dinner. On each birthday, mom ordered a cake and cooked so many foods and invited everyone to celebrate. There was the time she planned a surprise party for me...actually, many times. The woman loves surprises.

Sometimes I wonder where that heart of gold comes from. Maybe it's her roots, or from a life lived in, or maybe she took after the people who raised her. In any case, it's second nature to her, and the point is: she knows how to show love, and she does it. It's as simple and as difficult as that.

My mom and I are living apart now, since I'm married and currently living with my husband, but still she finds ways to celebrate the special moments. I come from a huge family. My parents have 6 kids and 12 grandchildren, and my mom's babysitting more often than not. Still, as big as the family has gotten, that's never diluted her love for any of us. There's always plenty to go around, and she makes sure we all feel it, not just on holidays or on birthdays or when the major milestones happen, but every day, in the smaller moments.

I hope I'll someday do the same. I'm definitely going to try.

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