What is love? Love is powerful. Love is giving. Love is selfless and pure.
I believe in the power of a mother’s love.
I grew up in a family where there is always responsibility. Parents have responsibilities. And, I have a responsibility. My family immigrated to the United States from China about five years ago. My parents own a little takeout Chinese restaurant where they work. During the school days I don’t usually see them. Every time when I leave school permission forms on the kitchen counter for them to sign, I wonder, “What is a family?”
Now, I know. Family is love, and it is my mother’s selfless giving and powerful love that hold us all together.
Every morning when I enter the kitchen, I always find my mother’s familiar shadow dancing on the white kitchen wall. On the kitchen table, three bowls of porridge are ready to be served. Whenever I look at Mother’s narrow back and her scarred hands, tears fill up my eyes. I just wish that she could have cared more for herself.
Two summers ago when Mother walked out of the doctor’s office, I found myself crying. A week before our departure to come back to the Unites States I went to the hospital with her. Mother told me to wait outside while she went in to talk to the doctor. Even though his office door was closed, his words still shot through my heart like a bullet. He told her calmly in Chinese, “You shouldn’t have waited until now. The only thing that we can do right now is to prevent it from becoming worse. But if you don’t follow the whole treatment process it will lead to stomach cancer.”
These words still strike me every time I think about them. To this day I still refuse to believe something horrible will ever happen to my mother. Even after the diagnosis. After that summer, our family was never the same again. My parents continue to work at their restaurant and I continue to go to the school. Our life goes on as usual but we all learned something valuable: love.
Next week, Mother will leave for New York for her usual check-up. Meanwhile, I will be willing to help out at the restaurant because I know when I walk into the kitchen tomorrow morning I will find three bowls of warm porridge sitting on the kitchen table.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.