My brother and mom’s argument last night reminded me of something that happened when I was about 10 years old. My mom had just bought my three younger sisters and me new bathing suits for summer. She asked us to try them on. My brother asked my mom where his was. She replied that she only bought bathing suits for the girls. My brother started crying and said, “Mom, you don’t love me and Yeng (my other brother). You only love the girls. That’s why you buy them so many things, while we get nothing.”
It was really sad.
Last night, my brother indirectly accused my mom of not loving him because she treats him differently from my sisters. It’s funny, because I hear the same complaints from my sisters.
Growing up, I used to think that my mom loved my brothers more than my sisters and me. Why? Because that was how our culture was. Boys are valuable assets to the family because they will carry on the clan name and are expected to take care of the parents in old age. Girls are viewed as possessions, just being there for the time being, until they are married off. Then, they take on their husbands’ names and become their possessions.
I didn’t have a good relationship with my mom during my adolescent years. We didn’t agree on so many things. I guess, you can say that I was assimilating faster than she was to the mainstream American culture. I wanted to cut the chains of restrictions that my so-called culture put on me. My mom didn’t allow me to go out with my friends. I couldn’t go over to my friend’s house. I couldn’t stay after school. I had to fight my way into my high school’s dance club. I was basically under house arrest from the time I was 12 until 17.
I asked my mom and grams so many times why I couldn’t do the things that I see other teens my age do. Why couldn’t I go to the movies? Why couldn’t I stay after school with my friends? Why couldn’t I have a boyfriend without my mom always insulting him? Why is it that my brother has the liberty to do whatever he wants, but I’m not allowed to even sit on the steps in front of my house? Their response was, “You’re a girl. If we let you go out like that, you may come back home pregnant.” “That doesn’t make any sense!” I would scream. “My brother can get a girl pregnant too!” “But he won’t ruin our reputation,” they said.
It was bull shit. Excuses. So, being young and immature, I concluded that my mom didn’t love me. She loved her culture and my brothers more than she loved me. So, I deliberately rebelled against my culture just to frustrate, annoy, and piss my mom off.
It wasn’t until I got married that I stepped outside the tiny box that I had created and looked in at my relationship with my mom. It was at that moment that I had an epiphany. My mom loved me. She didn’t love me any less than she loved my siblings. She didn’t love my brothers more. She. Loved. Me. She always has and always will.
I am different. We all are. So, our mom couldn’t have loved us all the same. Because we’re all different. The one needy of time and attention, she gave. The one who is a crybaby, she comforted. The one whom she believed to be independent, she left alone. The rebelling one, the runaway, she held on and chased after. Though our mom loved us in different ways, she loved us all the same amount. No more, no less.
I no longer worry about how much my mom loves me because I know that she does. She doesn’t need to say it, her actions speak louder than words. My brothers and sisters have yet to realize this. They are still very immature and insecure. They seem to hate each other because they feel that Mom treats each of them differently. She’s too lenient on this one. She punishes that one too much. She’s always giving to this one. She’s always taking from that one. She’s always telling this one to do chores. She never yells at that one. She’s unfair, unjust.
Instead of looking at how much our mothers don’t do for us, we should look at how much she has done and is doing for us. If you look at it this way, then you will see things in a totally different light.
Jealousy: the infamous green-eyed monster. It can sink friendships and most definitely tear families apart. A mother loves each of her children the same amount. She may love each child differently, but she will never love one more than another. Be wary of jealousy. It’s a vicious beast that will tear you up and make you bleed from the inside out.