Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash
Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Personal Essay: My Mother’s Story

"I think that's the meaning of stories. They help us to understand our mistakes."

January 28, 2021

Have you ever heard a story from your parents or grandparents? My grandparents passed down many stories to my mother. I remember the happiest thing in my childhood was letting my mom tell stories of the past. Some were her memories; some were my grandparents’ memories, and some were folk tales. The most interesting, however, were her memories. 

My mother was born in a small town. She was the eldest child in the family. When she was born, she was the little princess of the family. My grandparents took good care of her. What impressed her most was that grandpa was willing to ride a bike for an hour just to buy her a small skirt. In winter, my grandmother would knit sweaters and scarves for her. My grandparents gave her the best they could. 

She felt that my uncle had robbed her of everything she should have had.”

However, after my uncle was born, everything changed. My mother had more responsibilities on her shoulders. This is understandable. She is the oldest in the family, so she should take care of her little brother. However, at that time, my mother was still a little girl, so she couldn’t understand. She felt that my uncle had robbed her of everything she should have had. Thus, she became very rebellious. She took a bunch of children around town every day and never came home to help take care of my uncle. My grandfather became very angry and worried. He looked everywhere for my mother every day. However, my mother would never show up at home until dinner. No matter what my grandparents would say about her when she came home, she was still the same.

One day, an accident happened. When my grandfather hurried to look for my mother, he didn’t notice the hole beside him, so he fell down and hurt himself. At that time, my mother was playing outside. In the evening, when she got home, she felt something was strange. Nobody was at home. When the neighbor saw her coming back, he told her what had happened and left my uncle with my mom. My mom’s mind suddenly went blank. At the moment, she saw my uncle smiling at her, and she realized she was wrong. 

Looking at my mother holding my uncle’s hand—that was the moment they knew my mother grew up.”

The next day, she took my uncle to the hospital to see my grandfather, and she also brought her cooking. My mom had never cooked before, and this was the first time. After arriving at the hospital, my mother handed the food to my grandparents. My grandparents had tears in their eyes when they opened the lunch box and saw raw eggs and pork. Looking at my mother holding my uncle’s hand—that was the moment they knew my mother grew up. My grandpa came home after his recovery. My mother began to help my grandparents do the housework and take care of my uncle. She never came back late anymore, though she still hung out with her friends sometimes. Every time when my uncle was bullied, she would try to protect him, because she knew she had another responsibility.

Before I first heard that story, my mother and I had the same experience. I am also the oldest in my family. My parents gave me all their time before my sister was born. After my sister was born, I felt my parents had halved their love for me. I could not understand them. It wasn’t until my mother told me the story that I realized it was not that they did not love me, but that my little sister needed extra care. What I should do is to love my sister together with my parents, instead of fighting for the so-called “half of love.”

I think that’s the meaning of stories. They help us to understand our mistakes. We gain experience from stories. If one day the same thing happens to my child, I think I will tell them the story of their grandmother.

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