“Don’t you ever get tired of him?”
The continuous (and quite monotonous) question my mother asks me every time she and I end up in a deep conversation between mother and daughter. Believe me, she asks this out of pure curiosity rather than spite and resentment about my love life. You see my mother is a ferociously independent and stubborn woman, a quality she had inherited from her mother (my grandmother), and I from her. Three generations of stubborn women. Heh. So it perplexed her as to why David (love and light of my life) and I were always together. Butt buddies. Don’t we need our alone time? Hence the asking of the original question.
You see my mother was born dirt poor in the countryside of Guangdong province, China. Growing up she had a ravenous appetite for academia, but with no money she took it upon herself to ensure she got a proper education. She even went as far as selling her breakfasts my grandmother would make her each morning for a couple of cents. Each time she would stash that money away until she had enough to purchase reading materials with it. She always did blame her short stature on her lack of nutrients as a child. She had no one else to rely on, my grandmother was too busy taking care of my three uncles at home (twins plus additional boy) and my grandfather was working to provide for the family. All she had was herself.
My mother had spent her entire life working and relying on no one else but herself to achieve the goals she set forth herself. She was so used to being on her own bulldozing and trailblazing a path of independency for her children that she had never had the opportunity to fall wildly and passionately in love with someone that would equally be her best friend and her husband.
I want to say that my parents love each other on some deep level, but to be honest it doesn’t quite seem that way. I’m not saying my parents don’t love each other, but it’s different. It’s a silent kind of relationship. One that is from the old world of Asia, silent yet respectful of each other. There’s no affection, rather just always a mutual distance between my mother and father. Although on rare occasions they will speak lightly with youthful smiles on their faces and for just a second they will talk about something that isn’t related to work. My mother had even admitted that sometimes she was so sick of seeing my father’s face that she needed to be alone and do her own thing. That made no sense to me.
My mother didn’t quite understand what it was like to love a man that was also her best friend as I tried to explain it to her. While yes, David and I respected each other’s alone time when we need it, but for the most part we’re quite happy spending most of our days together. I don’t have to hide anything. I can be the most genuine me without having to worry that he will hate me for it. I want to truly believe that we’re capable of accepting and loving a person through their worst and through their best without fear of said person up and leaving when shit hits the fan.
The scariest thing was that most people fall out of love for the same reasons they fell in it. That their lover’s once endearing stubbornness has now become refusal to compromise and their one track mind is now immaturity and their bad habits that you once adored is now money down the drain. Their spontaneity becomes reckless and irresponsible and their feet up on your dash is no longer sexy, just another distraction in your busy life. Nothing saddens and scares me like the thought that I can become ugly to someone who once thought all the stars were in my eyes.
When things got ugly, I always chose to open up my communications, chose to identify what broke and how to fix it (David’s weakest link), and chose to recreate something worth falling in love with again and again. So that the terrifying reality quoted above would never see the light of day. My parents, unfortunately, choose to never speak of their grievances thinking that maybe if they don’t talk about then it never happened. Problems don’t disappear rather they sprout back with a vengeance.
I no longer fear the day someone who swore I was their universe can no longer see the stars in my eyes as long as they still choose to look until they find them again.
Perhaps it was the accumulation of my mother always being on her own coupled by the fact that she settled her life (for her children) rather than choosing a more glamorous route for herself with the money she made that lead her to this moment of generational difference on the topic of relationships. David isn’t a toy that I’m going to play with and one day be bored of him and toss him like a tissue. I genuinely enjoy his company as his companion, while we’re not perfect- we choose to define our happiness our own way.
I’m not here to chide my mother’s decision on her love life as something to look down upon. She had sacrificed her life for me and my siblings. But I do hope that one day she and I will come to an understanding and I won’t have to explain why I won’t simply “tire” of David. It’s commitment on both ends, one that I will keep so long as there’s a breath left in me.
I’ve chosen the people who were committed to choosing me, dedicated to finding something to adore even on the ugliest days.