by Phebe Huang
Growing up I went through several disputes with my mother. I remember she would restrict me from the things I wanted or wanted to do. At the time, I honestly believed my mother was a monster, my worst enemy. I could not comprehend why she behaved the way she did towards me. It was not until I had my first daughter I finally understood my mother intentions.
I remember one distinctive time in my childhood, 1992. I had my first eye exam. I was sitting in the doctor’s office swinging my legs back and forth unabashedly. My mother, sitting calmly next to me, reach over and placed both her hands on my legs as a precaution I should refrain from any further fidgeting. After I abruptly stopped, she whispered sternly in my ear, “Darling, you are a lady you need to sit like a lady. Please mind your manners.” After her comment, I remember thinking to myself: Why is she always trying to control me. I am my own person.
As the day progressed, and after the eye doctor diagnostic test result, I found out I had to wear prescription eyeglasses. I was not happy. I found eyeglasses not only repulsive but as well embarrassing. The doctor gave me a few choices to choose from, which were a few pink ones, black ones and blue ones. I did not bother to look because I wanted prescription contact lenses instead. I begged and begged, and begged my mother. However, she completely ignored me and said, “Choose this one, it will look adorable on you.” In front of me was this pink marble shaded, thick-rimmed eyeglasses, which nearly resembled swimming goggles; it was hideous! I placed the rather large eyeglasses on my small-framed face, and instantaneously I could hear the taunting laughter and insults from all of my peers. “Hey, you four-eyed!” “Geek!” “Freak!!” The horror I would have to face still makes me cringe today. I quickly pulled off the object of turmoil and pleaded with my mother relentlessly. “Please, can I have contacts instead? PLEASE, Mom?!” And again her reply was no. Tears welled in my eyes as I had bit my lower lip to stop myself from crying. I looked down with my arms crossed and stood behind my mother hiding any evidence of my disdain from her. When it came time to pay, I notice my mother scrambled for change in her worn, old and torn black bag. She counted each coin piece for what it felt like an eternity when all I wanted to do was leave.
Subsequently, during freshman year, the most popular boy named Kevin had asked me out, but at this time, my mother forbade me from dating. I decided I would ask my mother anyways if I could go and of course, she said, “No.” I truly felt at that moment my mother was trying to ruin me. My thoughts were: Was she envious of my life? Why must she hate me so much? Her excuse was I was too young to have a boyfriend and having a boyfriend was too distracting. Moreover, It was October. Homecoming was near, and I really wanted Kevin to be my date. I was fourteen at the time and he was seventeen, a junior in high school. Despite what my mother said, I went to the homecoming dance with him. The boy that everyone drooled over was my date.
The night was going well. Kevin and I stood at the school’s gym lockers with his arms wrapped around me. He felt nice and comforting. It was everything I wanted at this time. All of a sudden, next thing I remember, his tongue down my throat. The next thing I remembered his tongue down my throat! I felt violated. Why must he do that? What was he thinking? Without another thought, I quickly pushed him off with full force and yelled “No!” Needless to say, that night I was just another tally in his book. Kevin immediately walked away and replaced me with another young attractive target that was willing to falter to his needs. Afterward, the humiliation with Kevin affected me to the extent that all I wanted to do was lay in my bedroom, cradled in a fetal position, and cry. When I returned home, my mother could sense I was feeling miserable. She asked me if I was feeling ok despite knowing I disobeyed her and went with Kevin to the homecoming dance. She was not the least bit concern with my disobedience as she was concerned of my emotional well-being. Yet, I completely ignored her and ran straight into my room, dramatically slamming the door. This was a depressing moment for me.
It was February 4th, 2000, and I was lying in the hospital bed. My mother was beside me her hand brushing my forehead, and padding my forehead with a warm damp towel. I remember telling her, “Give me Space!” “Stop, hovering over me, Mom!” Minutes later I felt the urge to push while my pelvic muscle contracted. It was time to see my little miracle. My palms gripped the cold bed handle as I wailed out loud, “I can’t do this! I can’t do this!” But my mother persisted in brushing my forehead with her warm palm while one nurse held my hand and the other held my legs. The midwife peeked up between my legs and said, “One more push!” The next thing I remember was this tiny soul, squealing, placed in my arms. With such little effort, I comforted her. Looking down on this child I barely knew, I fell in love with her the second I saw her.
After the birth of my first daughter, the experiences I had with my mother, those tiny moments which define me as an adult, define me as a mother. Then came the birth of my second and my third, which slowly brought to life a different perspective. A motherly perspective, of all the countless things my mother tried to do for me against my own will, she did not in vain. In retrospect, I would do anything in the world for my daughters. I will care for them, protect them, and give them unconditional love even if this means the same manner my mother had. After all, her intentions were all out of pure love for me as mine are selflessly out of love for my daughter.