“Why do you always fly from Beijing to Shanghai like you are a package?”, my next-door neighbor begged to ask. However, she seemed not figure it out that I was hurt by her statement. When I was a young girl, I used to take the flight from Beijing to Shanghai since I needed to see my father. Despite the distance, I was not left with any other choice but to take the flight due to the love I had for my parent: I needed to feel secure and loved in that matter. To make sure that I felt secure, I had a picture of my parents and me which was taken as a remembrance of our togetherness. In that picture, my father wears thick lenses and has thin hair while my mother has a lovely smile with watery and shining eyes. I am the one standing in the middle with the beautiful dress. I missed those times a lot and this perception is attributed to the personal experiences I encountered while I was growing up. Right now, I am having dinner with them but, at the same time, I am not happy since I understand that it will take a long time before we will share a meal again. I also understand that there will be no next time to laugh and embrace each other. This is a dream I would wish to come true.
You see, my father left us when I was only three years old. I lived with my mother and grandmother. As a young girl, I could not understand the reason for his departure, and though I was really hurt, my mother did not take it well too. She used to beat me up for small mistakes I had committed. I knew she loved him so much and whenever she looked at me, she got angry for my resemblance to him. These beatings made me feel hated so much which in turn negatively affected my social capability. From a talkative young girl, I turned into a silent one who would hardly talk to other people. Seeing my sufferings, my grandmother took it upon herself and sent me to a boarding school in which, she knew, I would not be subjected to the terror and inhospitality. All this happened when I was only three years of age: yes, I was sent to kindergarten.
For once, I felt as if I had been relieved from a harsh life at home since the school environment was warm and loving. It was in the course of kindergarten that I felt loved since I had my first real kiss with a boy who was a year older than me. All in all, life at the school was more pleasant as compared to my mother’s beatings at home. While in school, I used to go home each and every weekend to meet my mother, but my social life had already been affected and I was always silent in most of the times. When my teacher asked my mother about the issue, things always turned sour since she would become hostile and violent towards me. The situation became worse when one day, the teacher asked everybody out of the classroom except for me. She had initially wanted to tell a story which I refused to turn up for. This made her so angry that she made me stand at the door and wait for my mother to pick me up. I stood there embarrassed waiting for mother to come. It took a lot of time before my mother showed up since I remember standing there for the whole afternoon.
When she finally arrived, she found me crying hard. “Why do you guys hate me so much?” “Why did you leave me to stand here for such a long time”?, I continued. She had never seen me so broken down. She started crying too. ‘Baby, baby I am so sorry”, she said to me. She quickly embraced me and hugged me for a long time and later, assured me that she was willing to change for the better. “No more beatings, I am really sorry, please forgive me”. I felt better and for the first time in my life, I felt the motherly love I had missed all along.
At seven years of age, things started to become even better. For instance, my mother started to look after my personal items an attribute she did not bother to undertake before. She also made me understand that she was struggling too hard to make ends meet on her own and that this situation had consumed all her concentration and energy which made it difficult for her to pay attention to my personal need. To be truly clear, I seemed to like the way my mother had transformed her past behaviors and as a matter of fact she now became open and caring altogether. The fact that she invited for father to come over for dinner; I was anxious and happy. I had never seen my father and was thus eager to get acquainted with him. He was tall, strong, and very loving. He brought a gift: a big box of LEGO. While at the dinner table, I kissed him on his cheek to let him know how much love I had for him. I could see his smile and shiny stare at my mother: I understood that he loved her too. He loved us all; that was all I needed at that time.
It should be understood that my earlier perception towards my family especially mother changes dramatically. In fact the picture that I took along with me everywhere became more important to me. Unlike in my past perception when the picture took to represent security-symbol as well as a family that was once together and happy but had been distorted by the departure of my father everything had changed for the better. My father had become more caring and appeared to be quite tolerable to issues affecting families. Through his eyes, I could perceive the desire he had for reclaiming his family and maintaining it as well. My mother had noticed it too and truly my parents were a changed lot. At the dinner table, my mother promised to take care of her family and there was no way she could get it out of her hand again. Her frequent smiles and a jovial mood at the table made father shine with love. I also took notice of her smiles towards me unlike in the past when my resemblance to father bothered her a lot. Nowadays, I look at the picture and see a beautiful family which is growing and flourishing in love: the reason as to why everyone in the “picture” is smiling.