Friday, July 3, 2009

Life With Nana

Nana is having a very hard time with us leaving for vacation tomorrow because she knows she is not going with us.

But she is trying to be a trooper and help out with our preparations (in between having me search for a last minute, cheap flight on-line, hee hee).

We went to a barbecue recently and came home loaded with bowls and bowls of cherries.

We borrowed a cherry pitter from Marimba Sticks' mother-

(very handy device)

and she sat and pitted all the cherries so we could freeze them. After she was finished and I expressed my gratitude for her labor she uttered one of her most famous phrases,

"Your welcome... what are ya gonna do when I die?"

(Major emphasis on the word "die")

It has become one of our longest,standing jokes. After she has cooked a particularly delicious meal or washed an unusually large pile of dishes, I walk up to her and place my arm gently around her shoulders and say,

"Boy, I sure am going to miss you when you're dead."

To which she replies, "Good! You better."

Now I realize that all of you "American" folks are sitting there MORTIFIED by this conversation.

And I don't even know how I could explain that, after this dialogue, my mother walks away feeling loved and appreciated and I walk away knowing she is happy. But in some strange, motherly way, she is so pleased and I'm good with that.

I used to tried to speak very kindly and politely to her and erase the "wise-guy"ness that marked my speech growing up. I wanted to give her honor and be a "good" daughter.

She thought I was mad at her and told me to knock it off.

It's a tightrope I walk over here, I tell ya. She would never, ever tolerate disrespect.
Disrespect to an elder in the Filipino culture is a HUGE no-no. But being "stiff" and overly polite is often perceived as haughtiness.

The Filipino community I grew-up with in San Diego I would describe as relaxed (in an informal sense), generous (especially with food), often gregarious (fancy word for loud), quick to laugh yet easily offended. Strange yes, but I think it just comes with being people. Imperfect but passionate, loving people.

And that's our Nana. She is generous, thoughtful, highly opinionated, loud, sweet, stubborn, tender-hearted and caring.

Oh, and she's ours. And we are so glad and very grateful.

Besides all these wonderful attributes, how could I not love a woman who, at age 62, wears these as her house slippers?!



Abigail said...

That's funny, Mom! Brilliant!

I love her slippers! Where'd she get them? TJ Maxx? or Kmart?

Lainie said...

I bought those for her when we went to Justice remember? She saw them and said, "Hey Lain. You gonna buy these for me? I am your mother after all. Besides, you'll miss me when I'm dead and think of these slippers.

Suzanne said...

Hi Lainie - Just saw your blog on FB - I love it!!! I also love your Nana too...she is quite a lady! Have fun on your trip!

Alicen said...

hee hee. i'm giggling while reading this. i think this open talk about parents' dying must be similar in many asian families. i grew up hearing the same thing from my mom. she still says "you better learn this before i die"... or "you need to appreciate me while i'm alive", etc..

respect for parents/ elderly is HUGE- so valuable & Biblical! btw- i see the same respect in your children that you have for your sweet mom.

we love you nana & all your cuteness!

Shearer said...

That's so funny Lainie! My mom and the three of us girls joke about what we're going to do when she dies. Like who gets what and how much we'll miss her certain dishes also. I think she feels loved by it :)
I also love your Nana. She is a treasure!

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