For Vietnamese National Family Day
Michael J. Fox
(I planned to publish this post 4 days ago, but I was spending the weekend with my mom (she’s in France to visit and help my brother with his kids), and I also helped her preparing my uncle’s farewell party so it kinda slipped my mind until now)
Bài viết tiếng Việt: Gia đình yêu thương
I didn’t have a chance to spend much time with my grandparents on my father’s side, simply because my grandmother went to a very faraway place when I was not born, and my grandfather followed her when I was only 4. My only memory of him would have to be when I was only a bit more than 3 years old, my grandfather was ill at that time already, and our relatives would visit him very often and brought him fruits. Being as ill as he was, he always saved the freshest fruits, waiting for me to come back from kindergarten and gave them to me. The day of his funeral, I didn’t understand anything, but when they started lowering his coffin to the cremate room, I suddenly bursted into tears.
My grandparents on my mother’s side were both in the war. My grandfather fought in the war since 1936, he was captured and held at the Con Dao prison, and after that ha even became the vice president of the country. My grandmother was a military doctor. My grandmother was very beautiful when she was young (she still looks very young now). As for my grandfather, he is very very intelligent. He can speak 6 languages, and he remembers a lot of poems as well as songs. My grandmother is very good with handicraft things, when I was little I stayed with my grandparents for the summer, and my paper toys were all made by my grandmother, and every single one of my dolls has at least one of their clothes made by my grandmother.
My grandparents love each other a lot, I still remember how my grandma always take out all the bones from the fish for my grandfather during meals, and when my grandfather was nearly finished with his meal, my grandma would go take a banana and a pot of yogurt for his dessert. My grandfather, after every meal, would go into their bedroom, made the bed nicely before joining my grandmother watching the television. My grandfather went with my grandparents on my father’s side when I was 15, but I believe that they are always watching over us every day, and praying all the best for their children and grand-children.
People often say opposite people attract each other, just like the opposite poles of magnets. This ‘theory’ is very fitting for my parents. I sometimes find it very amusing that my parents have a lot of differences, and yet they still fell in love with each other
My mom is very ‘hip’, and she’s always ready to learn to use new technologies. She uses both the ipad and iphone, and she post photos on facebook perhaps even more than me, she even opened a facebook account for my dad, although he rarely use it. On the other hand, my father is a bit…conservative, he oly likes old and simple things. He only use an old Nokia that can only calls and receives messages, and he really doesn’t like it when software on his computer are updated. Once a technician, when fixing his computer, also updated his Word 2003 to 2010, so for a whole week, my mother had to listen to my father’s complaints because everything is so different from the old version but I know that he is saving just for the future of my brother’s and mine.
My father is very passionate about poems and music, and everything that has to do with arts. Every time there is a wedding of our relatives, or the neighborhood organized a party, he would go to the stage and entertain people with one of his ‘collection’ of poems or songs that are fit for the occasion. Our neighbors sometimes even said that they wanted to invite my father as the MC for their child’s wedding (and my father was actually the MC for my brother’s wedding )
My mother is not so into arts, she likes reading and listening to music, but she doesn’t remember as much as my father, and she’s not fond of performing on stage. However my mom is very good in starting conversations and networking. From the lady next door, the fruit seller at the nearby market, to a friend in her yoga class, every time she meets them she can start a conversation and talk like they have been life-long friends. Sadly I don’t get any of this from her at all
There are still a lot of differences, for example my mom is very superb in cooking, and my dad would perhaps only do the dishes, etc, and they are even 10 years apart. From what I heard from my father, my grandfather (my mom’s father) met my dad when he was on a business trip in Russia, when my dad was a PhD candidate, and my grandfather is very impressed with my dad’s language skills, which was a good as my grandfather’s personal translator, so when my father is done with his thesis and went back to Vietnam, my grandfather tried to introduce him to my mom. My mom didn’t really care though, and she even called my father…uncle my father tried to give her flowers as a gift but he ended up buying tuberose, which is usually used in Vietnam in funerals and to put on graves (my mom’s colleagues teased her and said that my father was trying to tell my mom that if she refuses him, she will have to take that bouquet to put on his grave because he can’t live without her, how very romantic ), and still my father managed to make my mom fall in love with him, and then they got married, and then there is my brother and me
My parents are both very hard-working and intelligent, they both have a PhD degree. This is why they put a lot of effort in my brother’s and my education. My father taught me English when I was in kindergarten, and thanks to this ever since Kindergarten until the end of my secondary school, I am always loved by English teachers and when I started high school years in an international school and after went study abroad, my good level of English really helped me adapt much faster to the environment. My mom always look after my study at school and always try to help when I have difficulties in studying. My childhood, besides having all those dolls and teddy bears, were filled with books, magazines for kids, etc. And no matter how busy they are, they always take time in the weekend to take me and my brother to parks or around the city center.
My father loves and pampers his kids a lot, especially his daughter (it’s me). All the time since kindergarten until my high school years, it was always my father who rose me on his motorbike to school, if I go out with my friends for dinner, my father would stay late at his office to wait for me, and even when I was back in Vietnam for my internship, he took me every morning to my office, he doesn’t let me ride my motorbike alone because he’s scared that the crowded road is too dangerous for me the only drawback is that he’s pretty short-tempered and his punishment beating is very very painful :s but luckily, for both my brother and me, he stopped that kind of punishment after primamry school, because we were old enough to be taught by words. My mom doesn’t use beating, but she (like a lot of moms in the world) has a habit of complaining, and plus the fact that she is very high maintenance, I, as her only daughter, always receive earfuls of her complaining ranging from the biggest to the smallest issue. However, when I went abroad to study, I realized that it is thanks to her complaining that I started to better myself, I started to know how to take care of my life and my financial, and how to take care of people around me.
I am not the kind that openly express my love to my family, so when I’m abroad we usually Skype chat, but our talk is only for the first 15 minutes (this is when I tell her what happened at school, and she tells me what happened at home), after that it is usually 1-2 hours of my mom doing her things, me doing m things, with the camera on so we can look at each other and still we call each other every single weekend, that’s how families are, right? Until now, when I’m 24 already, my parents still cares about me a lot, they still ask and support my decision, and help me and give me advices so I can achieve the best results possible.
3. Big brother, sister-in-law and their 2 princesses
My big brother and me, probably like a lot of other siblings, does not get on with each other’s generation, especially when we are 9 years apart any time we stay together, a fight is bound to happen, usually for the stupidest reason, and my brother enjoy teasing me as well, so there are even more reasons for our bickering to happen. Nevertheless, I know that he loves me a lot. When we were in Vietnam, if my parents are busy and can’t take me to schools, my brother would always give me a ride, and he usually take me to movies as well. When I first came to France, he helped me taking care of a lot of things, he showed me how to buy metro tickets, took me all the ways to school to familiarize myself, and lots of other stuffs. So even though I usually bicker with him, I would not let anyone mess with my brother!
My brother is married for almost 10 years, and they now have 2 beautiful princesses, 1 4-year-old and 1 almost 1-year-old. My sister-in-law really knows how to take care of the family, and the 2 girls are very well-behaved and adorable. I don’t live with them anymore, but I still visit them in the weekend.
I wrote a lot of things, and yet I don’t know how to end it. Maybe because feelings for our family is not something you can put an end to, even a temporary one. I guess I will use a wish instead. I wish for my grandmother, my parents, my brother, my sister-in-law and their 2 princesses all the best in world, and all the health as well, so that I can always have a place to turn back to, and to share all my happiness and troubles. I love you all