Monday, December 1, 2014

show me, don't tell me

Have no fear, you will find your way it is in your bones, it is in your soul. The little cutie, is my mom looking stylish with her fancy Mandarin-collar dress. My mom actually found this dress years later. I was able to get one photo of my daughter wearing it.

Life is a wild ride. Just trust your journey. At times, it seems like nothing makes sense. In some moments (and months) sense can not be made. Eventually things get back on track. It all works out.

Two things define you, your patience when you have nothing and your attitude when you have everything. This is one of my favorite photos of my mom. She looks so happy, pure joy. This photo was taken at the Lake Sarah cabin years and years before it would be remodeled.

Be sure you place your feet in the right place then stand firm. Adorable, look at my Grandpa's tie! Clearly this photo is from the 1970s. They were vacationing in Florida. My Grandparents were always renegades, trying new things, ideas and doing things they believed in. They helped start the Chinese American Association of Minnesota back in 1967.

Chinese American Association of Minnesota (CAAM) is the oldest and largest Chinese American community organization in Minnesota. Tracing its history to the Chinese American Club gatherings at Nankin Cafe dating back to the 1930s, CAAM was founded by Nankin Cafe’s owner, Walter James in 1951 and incorporated with his help in 1967. My Grandfather, Stanley Chong was the president of CAAM 1967-68. Both of my grandparents strongly believed in preserving a good public image for the Chinese community and providing cultural events and education for future generations.

After a good dinner one can forgive anyone, even family. I love this photo mostly for the large Afro hairstyle my uncle Gary is sporting. I am going to come clean and tell a secret family story. Ready? It's a good one. So back in my junior high days, I ended up with a tiny (or maybe not so tiny) hickie on my neck from a boyfriend (now super famous ex-boyfriend). We were visiting family in Iowa. I thought my mega-thick-long hair would cover up the evidence of teen love. I was so wrong. OMG, so wrong. The uncles found the evidence. Inspired by what they found. They decided it would be best to thoroughly shame me in front of the entire family, in my Grandma's crowded living room. (even the dog, Muffy got to witness this one).

At the time, Pretty Woman was a very popular movie. The uncles decided to change the lyrics from "Pretty Woman walking down the street" to "Hickie Woman walking down the street". I was red-hot with shame and anger. It's been decades and decades since this all went down however the uncles still like to remind me with that simple tune. Thank goodness there were not Smart Phones in 1990. If this happened today, there would have been an instant video posted to Vine, Instagram, Facebook and Youtube. The uncles could have made a killer profit with ad revenue on Youtube.

When you look at your life the greatest happinesses are family happinesses. The finely style gentleman in the middle is my Great Grandfather Bill Hukill. I loved how he wore a Bolo tie, made fresh homemade bread and had the best eyewear. Since I was the oldest Great-Grandchild, I was able to spend a fair amount of time with Great Grandpa Hukill. Maybe it was old age or his genuine personality, but he was always so calm and reassuring. I loved visiting with him. I am so grateful for my time with him. It makes me sad when I see this photo, all those sweet little babies never really got the chance to know him. Great Grandpa Hukill died about a year after this photo.

Cherish the times with your elders and your family. You never know when the end will come. And once they are gone, the sweet stories and gentle voices are gone. Put down your phones, shut your laptops during the holidays. Be present with your family, learn about those amazing stories, pull out old photos and ask questions. Time moves too fast.

Smart folks know that the kid table is the best table in the house. Yeah Grandma Winnie's kitchen with Grandma Winnie! This was after Grandma got a new table (sans the Paisley Patterned vinyl chairs and wild wallpaper). I love that she would eat with us at the kids' table. I have the best memories managing that table. I was the oldest cousin, so I often served at the sit-in-babysitter while the parents got liquor-filled drinks in the other room. No problem, I loved the giggly moments with the cousins.

This year was my first Thanksgiving without any Grandparents. I am living in denial.  I didn't go home to Iowa. I could not do it. The thought of Grandma Winnie not being there with all of us, was too heartbreaking. I know that no one can live forever, but sometimes you wish some people got special exemptions.

Three kids means that there are often cereal box walls at my kitchen table. For the love of Buddha "Speak only if you can improve the silence". My youngest makes me insane! He is amazing, witty, bright and fun but he really knows how to make me lose my cool. The other day I told him "just sit there and do nothing. I just need a minute".

His response "I can't do nothing. Sitting is not nothing, it's sitting. See I am still doing something, I'm sitting. Hello, you are not looking at me".

Or the time that his was smacking his older brother in the backseat while I was attempting to drive. I threw one arm back there to break up the fight and heart this classic statement "Are you giving me a high-five?"


Wonder where this all started? click here.

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