Re: Thank You
Is it possible for a child to have been brought up by kind, honest, and hardworking parents, only to emerge as cold, cynical, and unwilling?
The answer is yes. I would know because I was that child.
I was born the third child out of four. As a teenager in middle school, I was probably the most difficult person to put up with ― at least at home. My classmates thought that I was absolutely adorable, and I knew it. When I got back each day from school, it was a completely different story. Procrastinating until night, I would complain, weep, and rebel when my parents berated me. They were truly unhappy with me, and I was unhappy with myself. Why did I have nothing special about me? If only my parents had sent me to Chinese school like the typical Asian student. If only I was more athletic, beyond my years in studies, gifted in the arts.
Without knowing it, I made myself a victim of the word around me. I became my own lonely enemy. I blamed my parents for everything, but all this time, it was me who was the cause of all the trouble.
There has always been a language barrier between my mom and me. “I don’t understand,” my mother would say in Chinese in response to half of the questions I would ask. About a year ago, I would have just said “never mind” and went on with my work. I would brood over the fact that she didn’t even have a part-time job, probably thanks to her poor English, which made our financial security lie entirely on my father.
My parents’ pressures and stresses are always traced back to their greatest fear: that their children will not grow up to be happy and successful. By giving them my trust and therefore earning that of my parents, I know that I’ve alleviated a large part of the worries that they used to have about me.
I’ve acknowledged the fact that I should expect my parents to organize my life for me, only because we are human that my parents and I have ― and will continue to endure ― our many failings. Everybody has faults, but that makes it their job to overcome them. Today, I use a mix of English and Chinese, “Chinglish,” and give a much greater effort to clarify myself to my mom. Most importantly, I acknowledge the fact that they have always done what they thought was good for me.
I’ve never been completely straight with my parents. For example, my mom is under the impression that I’m writing an essay for the money. Why, who in their right mind would choose to write a nonobligatory essay in the summer? I’ll admit that the cash incentive is 1% of the reason I chose to participate. But the other 99% is that nagging voice in the back of my head reminding me that I at least owe my parents a sincere thank you for putting up with me for so many years.