I cried. I really really cried. I cried because it was such a loving and emotional tribute to his mother. I cried because it made me think about my own mother and where our relationship is today. I cried because my hope is that Ninjette and I will have a great mother-daughter relationship and I worry that it won’t be like that.
I cried because I don’t have memories with my mom like Stephen Colbert did with his mom. Most of my memories are filled with a bit of trepidation, that “walking on eggshells” feeling, and uncertainty. My mom did do her best in raising my brother and I, but I don’t have the kind of heart warming memories that one would think that would have. The biggest credit that I can give to my mom is that she always tried to get me to do what I loved and was good at. She didn’t have the notions of me becoming a doctor, lawyer, or engineer (the top three choices of good careers for most Asian American households). She dreamed of me becoming like Barbara Walters – on television, writing for magazines and newspapers, or on the radio. She encouraged those endeavors. For that, I am eternally grateful. I am also grateful that both my parents took us to so many different places while growing up, even letting us go on our own to our aunt’s house in Florida for many summers. The piano and violin lessons are things that I also appreciated from my parents. I also did a little ballet and tap as well as some art lessons.
For all those things, I am so grateful and thankful, yet I was still lacking something. I often longed for a family that gave lots of hugs and kisses full of those after school special moments between a parent and a child. I longed for a warmth and unconditional love that I was certain of- secure in, but to this day, I always feel a sense of uncertainty and insecurity.
Even as I write this, I am afraid. I don’t want to paint a bad picture of my mom and dad, but this is the hard truth of my childhood. This is the fear that fuels the way I parent Ninjette at times. It reminds me to give extra hugs and kisses and fill her little life with as much warmth and unconditional love as possible. I want her memories to be filled with laughter.
And I don’t want my daughter to miss out on her fantastic Seattle grandma and grandpa because she loves them so much.
I mourn for the memories that have past, but am looking in hope for the memories to come. And when the time comes, I hope there will be tears of fondness and love, rather than those of regret or missed opportunities because I just wanted a perfect family.