Sunday, May 10, 2009

mother's day/it takes a village...

Mother's Day always had this weird tension for me. Even though my brother, yipo (maternal great aunt), and I had this yearly tradition of making my mom breakfast in bed (that always ended in my dad eating most of it), there was always this artificial quality to it. My mom and I didn't have the best relationship growing up, much of it I think due to culturally-based miscommunication. It's gotten better in recent years.

The one thing I always regret is not doing anything to celebrate my yipo (who lived with me for 17 years) or any of the other relatives who've taken on the difficult task of raising me over the years. Both of my parents spent a good chunk of my childhood as PhD students which meant that at various times of my childhood I lived in China with my dad's family, hung out at daycare, or was taken care of by my yipo. Not that I want to contribute to anymore profit-driven Hallmark holidays, but I hope that all of the other people involved in raising us--such as family members and child care providers--can be recognized as well.

For an interesting short story on this topic, check out "Mrs. Sen's" by Jhumpa Lahiri in her book Interpreter of Maladies.

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