Last night, when I returned from powder puff football practice (they let anyone join, even me!), my legs throbbed from the drills the coaches made us do, my body fatigued from the day's events, and my mind tired from focusing on when to yell "pass," "ball," and "over," and the first thing my mom asked me upon entering the back door was whether I had dinner. It was approximately 9:20 when I got back - I sure hope I ate by then! "Yes, thank you," I responded. It was as if she didn't hear me because the next question I got was, "Do you want some fruit?" and again, I tried, as politely as I could, to say no. "There's pizza if you want, leftover from our dinner!" she yelled from the living room and as I walked through the kitchen, I could see one little thin slice sitting on a plate and saran wrapped. I love thin crust pizza.. but I wasn't hungry. "And we have some mooncake but you shouldn't eat that cuz it's fattening!" she told me. "Okay! Thank you mom!" I replied. I was exasperated. A bit perturbed. But that's what mothers do right... they bug you until you call it nagging but it's really just affection.
Living at home is a constant challenge.. especially at 27. I think I've analyzed it enough to conclude it is due to the fact that these people who raised you, taught you everything you knew, are now your roommates AND your parents- which is hard. Plus, you've already been out on your own and now you have to come back and try to mesh your preferences together. Now, it's as if you're a guest and you're not here in the long run but just temporarily staying over for a bit.
The worst part is - I end up feeling like a lousy daughter when I think.. ugh, why are they nagging me?! The first thing my dad usually says when he comes home is where's the lil girl? - but in Chinese - I can't use pinyin well so forgive me for the lost in translation attempt. My mom loves getting updates on my life - how's work and has an impeccable memory that results in inquiries about every single friend I have had since elementary school and sometimes I just want to scream - I don't know where she is! I haven't talked to her since middle school!
So this morning, as I scattered half a dozen skirts and tops all over my purple sheet covered bed, trying to find something appropriate for a meeting with the senior manager and cute for when I meet up with a handsome guy later while carefully balancing the fact that I really wanted to wear the Chanel earrings Grace got me from Hawaii, my mom pranced in and plopped down on the spot which hadn't been engulfed by my clothing options. This is a rather normal occurrence - being in real estate gives her so much flexibility so she doesn't usually get ready for work until I leave. I tilted my hips sideways as I hopped into my tiny closet that is carefully placed in the corner of the room where the sleigh bed meets the door opening (sometimes I've hit myself while doing this and have to bite my knuckles in pain as the throbbing subsides) and as I did so, I asked if she had heard from Lay-Lay (my brother) as of late. To no surprise, she hadn't. (Guys don't seem to like calling their mothers as much as girls and guys don't also seem as privy to share detailed updates on their lives with their mothers... something my mom often complains about. A lot of what's going on in Lay-Lay's life is usually relayed by me and then if anything is important enough, retold to Momma Chou by my brother again.)
She stared at me and just kinda observed so I asked her what she had for dinner last night. "Yesterday we had pizza for dinner." Oh yeah! I knew that! She then continued... "You know, I got really sad yesterday." Oh man.. this is definitely because of the 'tude I gave her when I came home because I was irritated at her repetitive questions about whether I had eaten. "Oh.. " I continued. "Why..." I asked... a bit fearful of the admonishment I'd soon encounter.
"Well, I went in to get pizza for Dad and I at the Pizza Hut on Second. I was waiting there for the one pizza I ordered - thin crust, soooo good, and I thought of all those times when I used to go with Lay-Lay to pick up a bunch of pizzas for the whole family. But this time, I was sitting there by myself and nobody was with me. And then I started to cry because I missed those times when Lay-Lay would go with me and we'd eat together as a family. Yesterday, the only people eating the one pizza we got was Dad and me. And.. we didn't even get buffalo wings."
Awwww. My mom's so cute. It's hard to stop looking to the past sometimes.. especially when it was filled with happy moments. I reminded my mom that the future would also have lots in store. It didn't hurt to add that she is having a load of fun with my dad, that they go to all sorts of fun college and elementary school reunions together, that they have friends to hang out with, eat dinner and go dancing with! I told her to have fun now because when she had grandkids, she'd have even more options to juggle between. To that she laughed and said... hurry up then!
As I reflected on this morning's events... I thought...sometimes, we can smile about the past.. but we shouldn't stick around there too long.. and instead should really should learn to put it behind us. As good or as bad as it was... it belongs in the past and must stay there in order for the present to get to the future. A friend once reminded me about Lot's wife when I was apprehensive about the past and its influence on my present and future. It's one of the biggest challenges about finding the gospel and adapting to be a daughter of God. Time after time, I am faced with questions about why I've changed my standards, why I no longer participate in inappropriate joking and why I spend so much time with God. Over and over, I have explained that I didn't really choose myself... instead, the Lord gave me signs that indicated why I must not choose otherwise. In a way, I am obedient because I know the consequences of not doing so and I am faithful EVEN if it is hard. And I have been blessed because of it and that joy is undeniable and indescribable.
So remember Lot's wife. Who's Lot's wife you ask? So in the Bible, there was a story about Lot and his wife who were both instructed by the Lord to "Escape for thy life, look not behind thee . . . ; escape to the mountain, lest thou be consumed" (Genesis 19:17). Lot and his wife left and his wife, against the instruction of the Lord, looked back.. and then... dun dun DUNNNNN.. she turned into a pillar of salt. Lesson learned... every time you find yourself dwelling on the past.. think, that's salty and try to avoid it!
As for my mum, it's an example of dwelling on the good parts of the past, which not as cunningly trapping as the bad times, can also be dangerous if it distracts you enough that you're unable to focus on the present. But... she's right, those were good times. And I also look back and smile and then think.. there's a slice of cold pizza at home waiting for me. How good that makes my heart feel!