For Those Who Wander Lost is a blog-site dedicated to the Class of 2013 but with enough room for guest contributors to share their pearls of wisdom, advice, rants, and stories about college life and beyond. Posted here with permission by the author, the lovely miagetasora.
Hi all, this is miagetasora and I’ll be guest writing for today. This is my first “real” post on WordPress, so this is pretty exciting. Today is Mother’s Day in the US, so I thought it would only be appropriate to dedicate this post to mothers, specifically my mother.
For a majority of my 24 years, I didn’t give much thought to who my mother was as a person. I knew exactly who she was as a mother. She was my Korean-born mother who spoke little English, drove me to all my lessons, pressured me to do my best, and had high expectations from me. Sometimes she was my best friend and sometimes she was a pain in the butt. I gave no further thought about what sort of life she had before or her interests or her hobbies. She was my mom and that was the end of the story.
But a person’s story doesn’t just end with one role, especially a mother’s. I didn’t reach this epiphany until a few years ago. My mother and I were in the car when I asked her a question: when and how did you meet Dad? It’s the sort of question that I bet children ask all the time. Her answer was not the sort of answer children would usually receive:
Your Dad and I had an arranged marriage.
Arranged marriages are the sort of things you would expect to see in fantasy novels or in foreign countries, not from your family. As it turns out, my mom and dad only saw each for a month and dated for two weeks before they got married. My mother came all the way from South Korea to marry my father in America. I never even suspected my parents had an arranged marriage, because something you would expect from an arranged marriage is a miserable couple. My parents were nauseatingly lovey-dovey. They still are now. And I’m not going to complain about that (except for the many gross-out moments I had as a child).
It was after learning this little tidbit of information that I started to pay closer attention to my parents, particularly my mother. My father and I already had a shared love for science fiction and computer games, but my mother and I were fairly different when it came to our hobbies. However, I later realized that we weren’t as different as I thought we were. It turned out that we were both fond of historical fiction novels, preferred hiking mountains over swimming at beaches, and enjoyed the same kinds of foods.
Also, I had always thought that one of the biggest differences between me and my mother was sentiment. I was (read: am) a bit of a pack-rat who couldn’t bear to throw away the smallest scrap of paper because of some emotional attachment. My mother, on the other hand, was highly practical and would toss out anything worn-out and/or useless. As it turned out, my mother was very sentimental, but she attached those emotions to photographs and small notebooks that were hidden away in her closet. And I was actually rather practical when it came to compartmentalizing my emotions and deciding who to keep in my close circle of friends (at risk of sounding like a cold-hearted human being, I can and will dump people out of my life if they’re poisonous no matter how long we’ve known each other).
Even now I’m seeing new facets of my mother. Some days she’ll completely catch me by surprise with her previously unnoticed mischievous side when she cracks a witty joke at her children. Other days she shows a softer, more spiritual side when she gives me warnings based on her dreams. I remember one of the most surprising and interesting things I learned about my mother was her opinion on the parent’s role in guiding their children’s career path.
Asian parents are notorious for being very controlling when it comes to their children’s career. After all, who wouldn’t want a doctor/lawyer/business-person in the family? However, my mother believed that God had a plan for each of us and that we were all given talents that give us happiness. She didn’t believe that it was her place to force me or my siblings into particular roles, but to help us nurture our talents and get the job that suited us best and made us happy. When I was younger, I thought that my mother was a stereotypical Asian tiger mom, but it turned out I was completely wrong (not an uncommon occurrence).
Long story short, moms are people too (cue gross sobbing). Sometimes, I still need a kick in the pants to realize this and to really open my eyes to who my mother is. It’s a great experience and if there’s anyone who you should really get to know, who really deserves that kind of attention, it’s your mom. She’s the one who spent X amount of hours giving birth to you and she will be a permanent fixture in your life, for better or for worse. So, give your mother tokens of appreciation on Mother’s Day – take her out to lunch, buy her flowers, write her a heart-warming card. But, every day of the year, really take in who your mother is and make the stories and memories of her life a part of yours. There is no greater legacy in families than the stories of your ancestors. And, in the end, the memories of a person are all that is left after they’re gone.
Happy Mother’s Day, Mom. Thank you for everything and thank you for being a wonderful human being.