Happy Belated Mother’s Day to everyone! I hope you all had a chance to express to your mothers (or other significant mother-like figures in your lives) how much you appreciate and love them. I don’t care how cliche it is, I totally admit that my mother and grandmothers are my heroes. They have all gone through so much and have more strength and willpower than Superman can ever hope to have. If I turn into even half the woman my mother is, I’ll be happy. But I’m pretty sure I can never be as great as her or my grandmothers though, since at this moment in time I have not mastered any of these achievements that they have:
- master a second/third/fourth language
- successfully sew clothing from scratch (I still wear some of my grandma’s handmade creations and get compliments all the time, like this coral and gold beauty.)
- kill, pluck, and prepare a chicken (or any number of domesticated livestock and fowl)
- write and publish a novel
- raise children
- live through and survive a revolution
- etc, etc, etc (If I list any more achievements I will start to feel super lame)
A few weeks ago my family visited the cemetery to pay our respects to my great grandparents and great aunt. We do a very casual version of the Tomb Sweeping Festival, wherein people go to honor and remember their ancestors by cleaning off the tombs, offering food, etc. We only clean the graves and leave flowers behind and then go out for dinner; we’re fairly Americanized in that we don’t burn incense or pray or do anything else traditional to the festival. The heavy majority of my ancestors are in China and I may not ever see their resting sites, so visiting the few relatives I do have buried here helps me, however tenuously, retain a grip on my family back in the motherland and our shared history.
We’ve been doing this annually since as long as I can remember, so cemeteries have never freaked me out (although I’ve never stayed in one overnight.) If anything, I loved to visit it because the one we frequent has large, sloping hills, perfect for running around on and picking dandelions to make wishes with. Cemeteries give me a sense of peace and in my own small way, by visiting their graves, I can pay my respects to the relatives I never knew (or barely knew before they passed away) and thank them for what they have done.
All this might seem rather piously filial for Americanized ol’ me, but I guess I am a little “old-fashioned” in the sense that I always remember to acknowledge and pay respects to my family members, no matter how distant (or dead) they are. They have shaped me into who I am now, and I am especially thankful for the strong women in my family. Especially my mom, who must have ESP or something because she seriously can read my mind and knows me better than I know myself. How do moms do it?