Family

Waipo and WaigongWaipo, my mother’s mother was my closest family during my pre-school years. She looked after me while my parents worked six days a week in a chemical plant. I followed Waipo everywhere in the house. I tagged behind her so closely that I could only see her from the knees down, her shoes and the floor. 

 

When Waipo took me to her vegetable garden, it became harder to follow her. The earth was uneven. The hoe and ladle she used had long handles. They moved behind her with no eyes.  I stopped following her. 

 

Waipo would take some fresh vegetables home. When we sorted out slightly yellowed leaves in front of her house, Waipo’s chickens, ducks and rabbits would come close. We fed the rabbits with green leaves. With their pure white and grey hair, they looked so clean.  Their beautiful big, reddish eyes darted about so elegantly. They kept looking at me when they ate near my feeding hand. I loved their neatness, nimbleness and cleverness. I was a rabbit, Waipo said, born in the Year of Rabbit.Big Family 1984

 

After I went to kindergarten, my father was imprisoned – a victim of the Cultural Revolution, I developed a close relationship with my mother. She helped with my school homework: constructing sentences, writing essays and poems, understanding the multiplication table, and solving math problems.  Mother taught me songs.

 

My father returned home when I was in grade four. In his absence, I had learned to read and write, developed my intellect. I was distant from him as the government had taught everyone to distance themselves from counter-revolutionaries. Fortunately my father was financially compensated, which showed that he wasn’t a counter-revolutionary. But it took years for me to feel close to him.

 

After I settled in Canada, I planned that I would have a marriage-like relationship by the age of 30 and a child by 35. Unfortunately, finding love didn’t seem to be like any goal I had planned to achieve. Now I am in the process of achieving parenthood through surrogacy in spite that I will be a single dad.