Now that I’ve become a mother, it’s even more apparent how little any of us (parents) knows about raising a person. I charge into the day with good intentions and I never know how each intention would turn out. I may have an inkling of what to expect, but the growing brain and body of littles are often at odds with one another (i.e. the brain wants another round of play but the drowsy body just wants to crash) that I find my good intentions sitting on the sideline just observing the open conflict.
This phase, I can only hope, shall pass, too.
My own mother was a superwoman in my eyes for many years being a professional and a duty-bound eldest daughter as well as daughter-in-law. Her strong personality never allowed challenges from me, her only child, and I never dared. These days I sometimes catch myself in the authoritative image of my mom, especially when I feel impatient with Baobao. When mom “advises” me to speak more kindly and warmly to Baobao when I vent over the phone, I think wistfully of the time when mom threatened to disown me if I were to marry my first boyfriend.
How much a mother can get away with once she becomes a grandmother?
My maternal grandmother A-Po grew up in the Japanese-occupied Taiwan and never had the opportunity to attend school. She worked on the farm and raised many of her grandchildren. I have fond memories of being her first grandchild and learning my way around the kitchen and caring for baby cousins by shadowing A-Po. In contrast, my paternal grandmother Nai grew up in a privileged family in Nanjing, China. Nai was well-educated, confident and proud, even though she lost everything during the conflict between communists and nationalists.
Sometimes, being in the moment seems overrated. As I try to get through another day in the trenches of early motherhood, that is, wiping dirty bottoms and calming a tantrum, my sight is set on the phase when reasoning becomes the normal mode of operation.