Rana pulled me aside the other day and told me,
I understand your culture now. I understand your decision.
She elaborated on a woman at work who had sent her daughter to live in China. It was soon after the baby was born, and the grandmother assumed responsibility of parent. The mother never went to visit, only sending money for her upbringing.
That day, the grandmother and granddaughter came to work, having flown into Canada to visit. No one at work had seen the child, two years old now. The whole time, she was nervous and shy, clutching the leg of her grandmother. When the mother tried to hold her, she wouldn’t budge, only crying the raucous, uncontrolled, uninhibited tears of a child.
Rana told me this with surprise and confusion in her face. It was hard for her to believe that anyone could do this to their baby. I wish I could say that I was surprised.
This child was too young to know bias or bitterness. She only knew what she felt, a being of pure emotion. The woman who was supposed to be her mother was no closer than a stranger, and for the first time, Rana was exposed to this.
I’ve always confided in Rana about my own relationship with my parents. She’s one of the few who really care, asking me if there’s been any news on a regular basis, especially since I cut all ties. We never argue, but she’s never fully agreed with me. She always tried to give me a maternal perspective, being a mother of three herself. I’ve admitted that I don’t understand what it means to be a parent, but that day, she realized that she never understood what it means to be a child of the Chinese culture.
It’s cold. It’s material. Most Chinese parents can only express their love with money.
In this way, my parents showed me that they loved me. They probably think they did the best they could, but as a child of the North American culture, I felt nothing. I never knew what it was to be loved.
And Rana said,
You were the one who rebelled against this.