On Chinese Parents “Enjoying the Benefits” of Their Children

(photo by Jason via Flickr.com)

“Your parents raised you up to such a big age, and they still haven’t enjoyed the benefits of having you.” That’s what the mother of one of my husband John’s best friends said to him a few years back. By then, John was already over 30 by then (30 is an age where, according to the saying that comes from Confucian ideals, a man should stand on his own feet and earn a living) and still a graduate student — meaning, no job, no owned apartment and not much money — with no children.

“Didn’t you feel invalidated when she said that?” I asked John the other day.

He giggled, but even still I sensed the anxiety hidden within his laughter. “Of course! But I also understand her. Her view in fact is very traditional.” Continue reading “On Chinese Parents “Enjoying the Benefits” of Their Children”

The Filial Side of Moving in With My Grandma

John and I with my grandmother
John and I with my grandmother

Lame, loser, or just plain “oh Lord.” My American friends could have easily thought any one of these things — if not more — about me, all because my husband and I moved in with my grandmother.

That’s why I never just told people in America, “We’re moving in with Grandma,” but made it clear that this move came with an asterisk. She’s 89, she had a stroke some years ago, my grandfather passed away last year and she lives alone. We’re moving to China next year, once John finishes his internship — it just didn’t make sense to start a new household all over again, only to have to leave it all behind in an international move. Without this addendum, I felt certain we’d get branded as just another pathetic boomeranging couple leaching off of sweet little grandma.

But my Chinese father-in-law never needed — or asked for — the footnotes on our move. Continue reading “The Filial Side of Moving in With My Grandma”