My Mother

Zhang Sanjian 2022-03-08 12:00


I am a child who grew up in a single-parent family. My mother has accompanied me for most of my growing years, but, to my shame, I have never written anything for my mother. Tonight, sitting in front of the computer, I want to record the bits and pieces of the past…

Ever since I can remember, my mother has never changed her hairstyle, always having curly short hair, fluffy in a style somewhat resembling a cabbage. Thinking about this, my eyes get misty, as I realize I have no memory of what my mother would look like with long hair. Perhaps she adopted this ‘strong woman’ appearance for the convenience of taking care of me.

I once saw my mother’s smile with long hair in old, yellowed photographs. If time could flow backward, I really wish I could go back to the past, to see the beautiful long hair of my young mother, her youthful face with an innocent smile, a small dimple, and two tiny fang-like teeth. In my memory, she has always been a very serious person, raising me alone, and playing the roles of both father and mother, which was not easy.

I am an only child, so my mother had very high expectations of me. The phrase ‘hoping one’s son will become a dragon’ couldn’t be more fitting to describe her expectations for me. In my childhood, in addition to academic subjects, my mother placed great emphasis on my artistic cultivation. She spared no expense in buying a piano, just so that I could have the skill to have a foothold in society in the future. But back then, I was like ‘thorns on a bench – unable to sit still’. Later, under my mother’s strict requirements, I had to practice the piano for at least two hours every day. Oh, how I suffered in my heart.

I remember the piano teacher always used to hit the back of my hand to correct my mistakes, and sometimes, if I pressed the wrong pedal, I would even get a kick. The teacher was really fierce, and the fiercer she was, the less I wanted to learn and the less I could absorb. I just sat on the piano stool and played blindly, even though I didn’t know what I was playing. My mind was either blank or already wandering outside the window… Anyway, just tapping on the black and white keys for two hours was enough to muddle through.

How great it would be to go out and play with my friends, they are all waiting for me. Having a date with the piano is just utterly boring… At that time, I didn’t understand the significance of learning these things at all. Only when I grew up could I slowly understand my mother’s good intentions. In fact, I have also thought that if I had persisted in learning, maybe I would be a piano prince by now, haha.

Thinking back to when I gave up, I really can’t help but laugh. At that time, I was crying my eyes out to my mom, saying, ‘Mom, please, I beg you, don’t make me learn piano anymore. The piano teacher is so fierce, I don’t want to play the piano! Please, I beg you! Mom! Mom~’ while crying and tugging back and forth at the corner of my mom’s clothes. My mother didn’t respond to me, so I continued, “As long as I don’t have to learn piano anymore, I will study hard, I promise you, I swear.”

Of course, my mother couldn’t withstand my pestering, so she finally said, “You said it, if you don’t learn piano, you must study hard afterward, or else see how I’ll deal with you.” — It turns out that my mother was the one with the toughest exterior but the softest heart. But as it turns out, a child’s promises don’t seem to be very effective.

After promising my mother to study hard, not only did my grades not improve, but they actually dropped quite a bit. After falling out of the top ten in my class, I stabilized, always hovering around the 20th to 30th place in class. This really worried my mother. Didn’t I promise to study hard? Since then, my mother’s ‘tightening spell’ has been constantly ringing in my ears. The most memorable phrase she said to me was, ‘Look at your cousin, younger than you and much better at studying, always in the top three of her class. She even cries when she occasionally falls out of the top three. And look at you, what a mess you’ve made of your studies!'”

Maybe I really don’t have much talent for studying, but I can recite Jay Chou’s long string of song lyrics backward even now. This proves that studying is like ‘a wooden patch on an iron pot’ for me — it’s just not my thing.

One time, the results of a major exam came out, and I failed!!! And I had to take it home for my parents to sign! I thought to myself, it’s all over, the cat’s out of the bag. What to do? I carried my backpack and walked heavily, setting off on the way home. I didn’t take the main road but chose to go through a technical college to get home, doubting myself along the way. Am I really that dumb? Why can’t I understand the textbook the more I read it, even failing the exam? Life is already so hard, why does little me have to bear so much blame? The more I thought about it, the sadder I got. It was bad enough to do poorly on the exam, but going home to get scolded was just ‘adding insult to injury.’ As I reached the door of my house, before I even had a chance to knock, the pent-up feelings burst out! I started crying loudly, ‘Wah!’ and kept crying until my mother opened the door, both worried and concerned, asking, ‘What’s wrong, son? Who bullied you? Are you alright? Why are you crying like this?’ I didn’t answer, just kept on crying. Then my mother noticed the test paper in my hand (I won’t mention the bright red Arabic numerals), and was stunned for a second, ‘You scared me to death, I thought something terrible had happened. It’s okay, it’s okay. If you didn’t do well this time, just work harder next time. Hmm, you’re more responsible than before, knowing to cry when you do poorly.’ (Need a confused emoji face here. So crying shows responsibility?)

My mother was strict with me in terms of studies but provided me with meticulous care in life. According to her recollections, due to a divorce dispute, we had to move out of our original home. When I was just two or three years old, we stayed at my aunt’s place. I slept on the sofa, while my mother spent a winter on the marble floor, which led to some chronic health issues. Once I started school, in addition to pulling me out of my warm bed, my mother would also serve me a bowl of steaming eggs and hot milk. If we were really in a hurry, she’d give me fifty cents or a Yuan to have a bowl of soup noodles downstairs. (Writing this is making me hungry.) As I got older, I started to really enjoy pop songs by Ado, S.H.E, F.I.R., and Jay Chou, so I begged my mother to buy me a portable music player. Although we weren’t well-off, she always wanted to give me the best and got me a Sony Walkman. I was thrilled! I listened to it on the way home from school, while doing homework, and even before going to sleep. My mother became anxious when she often caught me listening to music until midnight, mumbling lyrics (‘When I close my eyes, it’s darkness; my sky today is a bit gray, hum hum ha hei ಠ_ಠ’). She would frequently conduct surprise checks at night and even threatened to take away my Walkman. But I had a strategy – I would stick my feet out of the blanket, bury my head under the covers with my eyes closed, and pretend my toes were moving to the music’s rhythm. When my mother would mercilessly pull off the blanket to check, I wasn’t listening; I was indeed sleeping. Who says you can’t move your toes while sleeping? After being fooled a few times, she stopped checking, haha. There are many more such little stories, and if I have the chance, I’ll share them with you one by one.

Today is International Women’s Day, and I want to dedicate this article to my mother. It recalls the stories of ‘matching wits and courage’ with her during my upbringing, which were both beautiful and happy. There are no superheroes in this world because the superheroes are right beside us. My superhero is my mother, my ‘Wonder Woman’ who shields me from the wind and rain, overcoming all difficulties to protect me. I want to tell her, ‘I love you!’ I hope she can always be healthy and happy. As a mother, she has done enough, even more than enough. There is no need for any guilt, feeling that she hasn’t been able to help much.

You have to believe that your son, with the help of so many kind-hearted people, can face all the future’s challenges. I love you, Mom. Happy Women’s Day. Remember, the most important thing is to be happy!

I also extend my wishes to all ladies, Happy Goddess Festival! On this holiday, don’t forget to give your mother a call to express your thoughts and say ‘I love you’ ❤️.

Only love is everlasting, may kindness never cease.❤️

(Source of images: Internet)


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