Friday, October 09, 2009

Happy Birthday, Mom

As I tweeted this morning, today is Mom's 72nd birthday.

Growing up, Mom was boss. She got us up in the morning for school and made us breakfast. She made sure we had lunch money, or packed us a sandwich for those few times we brown bagged it. She went to the grocery store and paid the bills. If we wanted to do a family outing like dinner and movie, we wouldn't go unless Mom wanted to go. If I wanted expensive sneakers such as my Adidas Cross Country with the green stripes or Nike Cortez with the red swoosh, Dad would tell us to ask Mom.

Mom was in charge at the restaurant during daytime hours. I sometimes tagged along with her during summer vacation and used to play in the air conditioned dining room. She always made an awesome lunch like hamburgers, fried rice, chicken or shrimp while there. She knew our neighbors and was friendly with most of our friends that visited our house.

When Mom wasn't working, she played mah-jongg. Lots and lots of it. She'd often take us to homes of other Chinese families, play long into the night and go to work that morning often with no more than a few hours of sleep. Years later, when I'd come back to Columbus to visit during the holidays, Mom was always in search of the next mah-jongg game somewhere in town, even if the weather conditions were less than ideal. She lives now in New York's Chinatown and still plays mah-jongg several times a week.

While I don't see Mom more than a few times a year anymore, she's the main reason why I had such a fun and memorable childhood. I wish she'd take more vacations, but she's happiest when she's busy.

Happy Birthday, Mom. I love you and couldn't have made it without you.

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