When I was much younger, something always happened at the dinner table.
Which parts of chicken and fish are mother’s favorites?
When there is a whole chicken on the table, my mother would take the two drumsticks and put them into the plates of my brother and mine. She would then say this, “The two chicken wings are for your father.” (All of us are fully aware that, up to these days when he is over 80 years old, Dad still loves chicken wings. We have given up advising him not to eat these most unhealthy parts of a chicken.) And then mother smiled and said, “I love eating the neck and the boney parts of the chicken.”
When there is a fish on the table, the unsaid rules in the family are that I will take the tail and the two fins, my brother and Dad will take the “meaty” parts. Mother always takes the fish head. She said, “Fish head is delicious. Anyway, nobody knows how to eat it in this family.”
When I grew a bit older, I thought for myself, “Does mother really like boney parts of the chicken and fish head? Did she eat them because she knew that these are parts that nobody in the family would eat?”
Now that we have grown up. We have our own children. I am surprised to find out that Julia and I seem to do exactly the same thing as my mother did. We would leave the better parts of the chicken or fish or other food to our children. However, we don’t encourage mother to eat fish head and boney chicken anymore. We will reserve the better and more “meaty” parts for her. She has been sacrificing throughout her younger days for her husband and children. Isn’t it about time when we should choose to give her the best parts of the dishes?
I notice a recent change of behavior after mother was promoted to be grandmother. Now she will keep the better parts of the food for the grandchildren, especially when my son works late, she will reserve the choice portions in small plates for him. Now when mother takes the fish head, she will say,”I am already an expert in eating fish head. Young people nowadays don’t know how to eat it. Let them have the more meaty parts.”
Oh, mother! You are over 70 years old already. This is the time you should enjoy the best parts of the food. Do you know that the younger ones have so much more time to enjoy food than you? You don’t need to sacrifice for them anymore, they will be fine.
Although it saddens my heart to see mother still sacrifices at the age of 70 plus, I behold the radiant joy beaming from her face when she slowly eats the boney chicken and fish head. May be deep inside her heart, she enjoys being a good mother or grandmother more than the choice portion of the food?
Honor your parents while they are still with you
I came cross this Cantonese video below. I would like to share it with you. The story line is simple. After becoming a mother, a daughter realized that her mother had given up her dancing hobby to take care of her when she was young. The adult daughter decided to enroll her mother to a fan dance class so that she could relive the dream and ambition of her youth. The mother found it physically challenging to cope with the dance steps but she kept quiet. She knew that it was a way that the daughter showed love and appreciation for her. When the daughter had the time to understand the mother’s situation, she realized that the mother did not enjoy the classes much. The daughter was puzzled. The conversations at the final part of the video is most classical. I think they best demonstrate a devoted mother’s heart.
Daughter: I thought dancing was your dream
Mother: Don’t be silly, my girl! Taking good care of you, seeing you grow up happily, that is my greatest dream fulfilled.