I've been unplugged (on purpose) for the past week and just catching up on some of my favorite blogs. Here is a beautiful one that I read by my friend, Casey, about the life and passing of her Chinese grandmother (who she refers to as "one of her parents")
Everything I learned about being Chinese I learned from her. She did not bind her feet as a child, so I learned to talk back and refuse to be treated in a subsevient manner. She did not allow herself to be subjected to a loveless, arranged marriage, so I learned to fall in love and let my heart guide me. She treated the least of our society with the most of her heart, so I learned to seek out justice and be grateful for what I have and give back what I can. She spoke loudly and with conviction, so I learned how to be a loudmouth and badass, too. Occasionally - only very occasionally - she cried. Whenever she did, I cried too. As my uncle died a year ago, she sat quietly in her wheelchair and from time to time reached out to touch his toes. I remember what it was like to touch Matthew’s toes for the first time, to fully embrace his newness and the beginning of life. I can only fathom what heartache she felt when she sat there and touched his toes for the last time at the end of his life.
I'm reminded what my children are learning from me - especially as young women of color. I was raised by a Filipina mother who was not afraid of speaking her mind, as long as no one else heard it. She would talk smack about people, when they weren't around, and when she saw them face to face, she was polite, kind, and cordial. I grew up doing much of the same. However, when my daughter Joli was diagnosed with cancer, I lost all appetite for pretending to be nice. I found my authentic, truthful voice. I had to serve as an advocate for my sick toddler, and learned to be an advocate for myself.