I met my friend Marquis less than a year ago, but he has become such a great friend and important person in my life, because he is one of the kindest and most real human beings I've ever met. He treats everyone with the same kindness and care, takes time to ask how people are doing, and cuts up fruit every day to share with his colleagues. He's truly inspiring.
Recently, Marquis decided to leave Los Angeles temporarily to spend time with his grandparents while he studies for the GMAT, but who knows where life will take him! So when he said he wanted to try Handel's, the ice cream place in Redondo Beach that I always rave about, I said, "Let's go!" We drove down to Redondo, and since we were down there, stopped to visit my parents. Little did he know he'd get sucked into a unique Chang experience.
After we had ice cream, I was thirsty for a cup of green tea to wash down all that sugar. As I was boiling water, my dad said, "Why don't I make some tea for you." That meant bringing out his full tea tasting set. And when dad busts out his tea set, it's an experience beyond just sipping tea and quenching your thirst. He likes it, because in the way mini zen gardens are for people, he finds the rituals behind pouring tea very relaxing. Moreover, the social side of sipping tea is always stimulating, because you're sitting around, having good conversation, and enjoying your company. And with dad, he's always full of history and knowledge it truly feels like an enlightening experience each time. At least for me it is. It was such a lovely afternoon, and for once someone else cut up fruit for Marquis, because my mom started cutting up a buffet of fruit as soon as we arrived.
Something that struck me and warmed me, was that Marquis had quickly taken to my family and noted that they remind him of his family. The thought tickled me, because my family is American-Chinese, with origins in Taiwan and China, and his family is American and Bermudian. And it's just amusing to me, because in the end people are people. It doesn't matter where you're from. People from the same place can be so different from each other, while people from different places can be so similar. Of course, Marquis' family is very different than mine, but where there are similarities, it's simply the effects of being human.
Life is beautiful like that. People are beautiful like that. Wherever we go we bring our customs and perspectives, and we gain new ones, marry some together, and even create completely new traditions. And when we open our homes to each other...just think of all the beauty that happens!
Plus, sometimes when you see your family through other people's eyes, you get a chance to see them through fresh eyes. For me, that often is a reminder of how much I appreciate and respect my family, and that I am incredibly blessed.
BIG LOVE & HUGS
Does your mom like to momsplain everything? Momsplaining is explaining how to do something you already know, often accompanied by "life lessons" you've heard many times. My mom loves to momsplain EVERYTHING under the freakin' sun. It can really annoy me and get under my skin while I am enduring the momsplanation, but it actually makes me laugh after the fact, because it's kind of pretty funny. Sometimes the things she momsplains are so ridiculous all you can do is laugh. From life lessons, to beauty and health regiments, to household chores, to driving directions, mama covers it all!
Here are my top 6 momsplanatations from my mommy dearest:
It's important to remember that, unlike mansplaining which is an act of egocentric patronization, momsplaining is an act of love...and probably a need to still feel like mom even when her children are grown ass human beings. The truth is, I find myself turning into my mother more and more. So, to any future children I may have, I apologize ahead of time for any momsplaining you will have to endure.
BIG LOVE & HUGS
Today we celebrated the life of an incredible man who loved his family and his community. Frank is synonymous with father and police officer. To serve and protect was just who he was.
I'll never understand God's plan, but I will always trust in His love. As I listened to the service and realized the psalm and the gospel chosen were the same ones we chose for our wedding, I kind of smiled to myself. That's because through all the stages of life and death, God reminds us to show mercy and to love one another. And while we're on earth, the thing that matters the most is how we treat each other, because that it was stays on earth beyond our time here.
It seems cruel to take away someone we love when they should have more time with us, but no one is ever really gone from us when we have been touched by their love. After a long battle with cancer, Frank is finally at peace, but his greatest gift to us is his love. His legacy lives on in his two beautiful children and they will pass that legacy on to their kids.
So, as we celebrated one man, one hero's life, we were all bound together by his love and reminded that...
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.
Rejoice and be glad,
for your reward is great in heaven.
BIG LOVE & HUGS
I remember a woman talking about her mother once, and how she always viewed her mother as weak. She always wanted to be like her dad, a big business man carrying a briefcase full of important documents. It would be horrible to be like her mom. What did she do? While dad was busy on the phone discussing important business related things, what was mom doing—she was just in the kitchen making sandwiches for everyone. While dad was busy traveling for work, what was mom doing—she was just shuffling the kids around between home and school and extracurricular activities.
Then she went on to say that one day she asked her mother why she never wanted a career of her own? Her mother was originally from Scotland, and grew up very poor. Her mother also grew up in a time when tuberculosis was widespread throughout Scotland, and many people contracted it. As such, her mother was also affected by it, and in particular, she contracted it in her fallopian tubes. This meant she could not have children. Eventually, her mother immigrated to Australia, found work, met and married her father, and when they decided to have children, though she wanted more than anything to have her own career, they made the decision that it would be best for her to stay home to be available to their children’s needs. Since her mother could not bear children, this woman and her siblings are all adopted. So, the woman she thought of as weak all these years, gave up her career to love and care for children she never had to love or care for.
Suddenly, she realized she never knew the woman she called “mom.” Had she never asked her mother, her mother would have passed on and she would have one day gone to the funeral of a woman she pitied.
I was thinking about this story this week, as Mother's Day in the U.S. is today; and as I get older, I have all these questions I want to ask my mom
Like this Australian woman’s family, in my family my dad was always the busy business man and my mother, though she was not a stay-at-home mom, worked a more "under valued" career path. My mother immigrated to the United States with my father, not knowing much English. In her native Taiwan she had gone to university and was in fact on a very different career path; but coming to this country not knowing the language, altered her job choices. So, for the entirety of my life and most of her life, my mom worked in our local post office, and still does.
I always admired her work ethic, and knew she made a great impact in her office as well as with her customers, so I’ve always been very proud of her. People respect her, and they adore her. On career day in elementary school, my brother and I even wore her uniform to school. I admit though, when people used to ask me what my parents do, I very confidently told them what my dad does (to the extent that I understand what he does), but when I got to telling them what my mother does, I admitI felt a bit self-conscious. Would they think less of her or less of me, because she’s not someone “more important”? She’s not a doctor or a business owner, or an executive at a large company. When I realized this is silly for me to be self-conscious about where my mom works, I started talking about how wonderful she is at her job, and what an impact she has on our community. There's a bit of a small-town charm to her job, because she sees my friends and their parents all the time, and that’s fun—but this “charm” about her job is actually a big statement to the charm of her as a person. My mother is a personable, big-hearted woman, and does not take crap from anyone. She is her own woman, independent, courageous, and full of love. People who meet her, love her.
So, lately I've been thinking a lot about how to show my mom more appreciation for all the love and inspiration she provided and continues to provide.
I always look fondly on my childhood, because I can’t imagine how difficult it must have been to be a young mother with 2 young children, trying to keep everything together while my dad was mostly out of the house, traveling overseas for business. She didn’t just keep things together though, there were countless trips to Disneyland, to visit my cousins, roadtrips—my childhood was a constant adventure. My dad always reminds us of this, and reminds us to appreciate her because of this. I honestly do not know how she did it, but I hope I can be as a wonderful a mother as her one day.
We think we know someone, until we really find out who they are. Mom and dad are mom and dad until we discover that mom and dad is a pseudonym for superheroes. I've always looked to my dad to show me the ways of the world, and to be the ambitious, ever curious woman that I am; but my mom is my hero, because she exemplifies strength.
BIG LOVE & HUGS
Last night, as my mom stood in church taking pictures of Chris and I receiving our Confirmation, I laughed, because it took me back to when she'd take pictures of my brother and I at our school functions, Boy and Girl Scouts events, recitals, and various other activities. More importantly, I felt the unconditional love of the sweetest and fiercest woman I know.
It's not easy getting my family to church these days--I usually have to find an excuse of a special occasion, or travel to other parts of the world and make it part of our itinerary. So, last night was one of those special occasions. It was Easter Vigil, and a very important night for Chris and I, as well as hundreds of thousands of people around the world doing the very same thing. I even got my brother into the pews, which meant the world to me.
I see my mom get antsy when we're in church these days, because she rarely goes, so she gets anxious about remembering what to do. I tell her, "Mom, God loves you like you love me. He doesn't care if you mess up. In fact, he probably loves you more when you mess up, because you still show up with love."
Knowing how she feels, I was deeply warmed when it was time for Chris and I and our thirty or so friends to stand up in front of the church, and she had no anxiety about standing up in the pews to snap pictures of us. That was my mother, continuing to capture the big and small moments in our lives with her love and her ginormous iPhone.
This week has been so special, and we continue to receive SO MUCH love. This morning, we woke up and opened the gifts and read all the cards we received from Confirmation. I started to tear up when I realize that many of these cards, prayers, and kind words came from folks we don't even know. Yet, we know they are our family, not just because we belong to the same parish and the same faith, but because humanity means loving each other as brothers and sisters. Chris and I are truly blessed to know this kind of pure and unconditional love. We put all the cards and gifts in a box we've labeled our "God Box" so that we may open it whenever we want to or need to feel the power this incredible love.
May YOU always remember that you, too, are deeply LOVED. You may think it strange that a stranger could honestly love you and wish for your well-being, but I promise you it's true.
BIG LOVE & HUGS