Parent Skill: Pack Mule

I am once again scrambling to get the family packed and on the road before dinner. The amount of energy required to jaunt off for this long weekend is staggering. Of course loading the car wearing a 14 lb baby strapped to my chest on a hot, humid day was a bit much. But we do what we must.

The truth is I find it insanely gratifying knowing I could go head to head with a pack mule’s ability to haul stuff and hold my own. I may look ridiculous to some (ok many). But you fellow parents know! When kids are in tow, being able to load or unload a car in one trip is an invaluable skill! I am proud to say I can carry 5 grocery bags, a car seat (with baby) and purse or diaper bag in one arm, hold my 2 year old in the other, and still unlock the front door.

On that note, I see another pile of bags waiting to get loaded into the car…

Aunties Not Aunts and Chinese Pants

Before I get on to today’s post I want to commend those who post daily while traveling with children. I had envisioned a nightly blog ritual of wine and relaxation as I shared my thoughts on the day. A moment of “vacation” each day in the pre-children sense of the word. (I bet fellow parents are falling off their chairs in laughter right now).

In my head I am still relaxing on a comfy sofa as I post with wine in hand. The realty though is I am sitting in my car in a Target parking lot at 7:45am waiting for the store to open. I have been driving Haiden around for an hour so that he doesn’t wake up the relatives. This is my moment of relaxation.

On to my post.

I do not have aunts, I have Aunties. They have always been a blend of familiar and mystery to me. On one hand the Aunties use many of the same facial expressions, phrases and customs I associate with my mom. If she is a portrait, they are the background. The story of where my mom began.

On the other hand I’ve always felt like an outsider to the Aunties’ world. My mom moved away from home when she was a young adult and, after several decades of living in the Midwest, she’s adopted more American habits than the Aunties. Visiting them means getting a concentrated dose of Chinese culture.

The Aunties got to meet my children this past weekend. As I watched them play with my fair-skinned, blue-eyed babies, I thought about how different my children looked. I’ve often felt neither Chinese nor white enough, caught between the two cultures. My children will probably not have that struggle, and I was shocked to realize a part of me wished they would. Then I saw Amelia walking around in the little Chinese outfit the Aunties had brought her; an adorable vision of blond hair and red satin. I smiled as she proudly showed me her new outfit. My sweet girl was being embraced not just by her Great Aunties, but by her Chinese heritage.

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