Lily, Pauline, Rosie, Hope, and Faith

My mother inspires me with her enthusiasm and ability to find happiness and to establish a place for herself wherever she goes.

What did you learn from your mother about being Taiwanese? (妳從妳母親那兒學到甚麼是一個台灣人?)

From my mother I have learned about the different dimensions of being Taiwanese—cultural, political, lingual, and of course, culinary!

Cultural: I grew up celebrating the Taiwanese culture through various traditions, such as making and eating batzang during the Dragon Boat Festival, celebrating Lunar New Year with all the festivities.

Political: My mother taught my siblings and me about Taiwanese history, politics, and identity, and inspired and encouraged us to advocate for an independent and democratic Taiwan.

Lingual: Our family has always been multilingual, which reflects the linguistic diversity of Taiwan—we speak Hoklo Taiwanese and Mandarin, and Hakka (Mom does)

Culinary: My mother taught us to appreciate, to love, and to cook with the diverse flavors and ingredients of Taiwanese cooking; she used to make many traditional Taiwanese eats from scratch (e.g., oyster omelet, ba-wan, Taiwanese rice cakes, batzang, and much more…)

Tell us about one of your earliest memories of your mother. (妳對母親最早的記憶是甚麼?)

Earliest memories include playing with my mother on my parents’ bed with my siblings—Mom would launch us up with her legs into the sky and play “airplane”. I also have wonderful memories of my mother telling us stories after stories about our large extended family.

What is the most important thing you have learned from your mother? (妳從母親/女兒學到的最重要的是甚麼?)

Over the years, I have learned many things from my mother. I will name three important life lessons from my mother:

1) If you can help even one person (e.g., help lift that person from poverty) you have done society a great deed
2) Be flexible, yet be true to your core beliefs
3) Live every minute of your life with boldness and grace (but not entitlement)

Tell us about the ways that your mother makes you proud. (妳母親/女兒讓你感到驕傲的是甚麼?)

My mother is an amazing mother, grandmother, and career woman. She has accomplished a lot in her life. What I admire most about her is her ability to reinvent herself again and again. Yet, she always remains true to her core beliefs, talents, and character. In her early twenties, my mother was a devoted stay-at-home mom. She then had a decade-long stint as a teacher and then director of a highly reputable kindergarten in Taipei. When our family immigrated to the U.S., my mother earned a dual master’s degree in early childhood education and psychology while working part-time as a library assistant, housemaid, and waitress at a Chinese restaurant. She accomplished all of this while raising three elementary school-aged children, while my father, who was also a graduate student, spent long hours at the lab.

When we were in our teens, after several years of working in early start programs my mother changed careers and returned to school for an MBA while working full-time in high-tech. During that time, she managed to be a doting mother, a disciplinarian, as well as an active leader in the San Francisco Bay Area Taiwanese American community.

Once we entered college, when my father expressed a desire to return to Taiwan to further his career and to be closer to my aging grandparents, my mother accompanied him back to their homeland. As a devoted wife and partner to my father, it never occurred to her not to be by his side wherever he chose to go. Plus, she was bold and flexible: she could go anywhere and create something grand for herself. That was exactly what she did. During my parents’ decade-long residence in Taiwan, my mother served as the vice president of the global supply chain division for one of the largest Taiwanese multinationals in the world. Every other weekend, she and my father visited their respective parents in Southern Taiwan. She also made time to campaign for the first and second democratically elected presidents in Taiwan. At the height of her career, my mother also traveled the world — North and South American, Eastern and Western Europe, and all over Asia—for business.

When it was time to return to America, my mother once again reinvented herself. She returned to her first career as if she never left the profession. She is now an accomplished social worker who administers a federal program that places infants and toddlers with special needs into early intervention programs. She has a special heart for and interest in the Asian American community where children with learning differences are often ignored, hid, or shunned.

Career aside, my mother would tell you that she lives for her family, which now includes 5 grandchildren. She helps care for my brother’s children on a weekly basis. My niece and nephew love spending time at “A-ma and A-gon’s” home. Every other month, my mother flies to Seattle to spend quality time with my twin toddlers/daughters. My mother also fits in time to jet-set to the East Coast to spend time with my twin sister’s son several times a year. My mother has never missed an opportunity to learn and grow, whether at age 25 or 60.

Tell us about how your mother inspires you. (妳的母親/女兒如何激勵妳?)

My mother inspires me with her enthusiasm and ability to find happiness and to establish a place for herself wherever she goes.

As time has gone on, how has your relationship with your mother changed? (隨著年歲的增長,妳們母女關係有怎麼樣的變化?)

As time has gone by, our relationship has only deepened and broadened. Now that I have my own children (also twins!) I turn to my mom more and more for her advice and wisdom. I think the fact that I also gave birth to twin daughters has deepen our bond. She is a wonderful grandmother to my daughters and to all her other grandchildren.

What is one thing that you would like your mother to know? (有那件事是妳希望讓妳的母親/女兒知道的?)

Mom, I love you very much and you are an inspiration to me, Rosie, Peter, our spouses, and all your grandchildren.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *