- 4 years ago
- Wedding: June 2014
I guess I just need a place to get things off my chest.
I was born and raised in the US by my very traditional, Chinese parents. My mom fengshuis the house, fights for the restaurant bill, is a clean freak, has Buddha statues everywhere and is really superstitious.
This summer, after I got engaged, my mom flew in from Hong Kong to meet my fiance. He flew his mom out from PA, and the moms met and the four of us hung out. His mom stayed for a week, and my mom stayed for six. It was the worst mom/daughter experience I’ve ever had.
Being ABC, I’m familiar with both sides of the cultural fence. I know you give and receive gifts with both hands, you serve your elders first, you help them do everything and all that jazz. But I also know that American culture doesn’t have all those things. So I knew I had to be the one to bridge the cultural divide between my mom and fiance.
It turned out to be a huge gap. Enormous.
I got yelled at every few days, and if you’re Chinese, you know that when a parent yells, you don’t yell back. It seemed like we did everything wrong, but she can’t yell at him so she yelled at me. Apparently I should have known better. But she also said, “you don’t know because you’re not Chinese.” Ouch.
Here are some things we did wrong:
We didn’t pick her up from the airport. We’re in Seattle, she flew into Vancouver Canada. On a Wednesday. In the afternoon. Doesn’t matter – we should’ve taken off work to drive up, cross the border and pick her up.
He didn’t give me spending money to take her and his mom out for jaunts around town.
I asked if she thanked him for driving her around, going out to dinner, getting groceries. Why should she? It’s his duty to do those things. More yelling.
We got a puppy. A big one. He’s not my first dog so I know the first few months are tiring with housebreaking and training. Mom lost her shit constantly, upset because taking care of the puppy was exhausting me. She was mad I wasn’t getting enough sleep. She had no idea I was tired because she was stressing me out.
He had a cracked windshield. Apparently that’s really bad luck. He didn’t get it fixed right away because he has a demanding work schedule, and we were deciding if trading it in for another car would be better. We ended up with a new car, but she thought he was disrespecting her for not doing it right away.
There was also some yelling about a conspiracy between him and his mom that he’s marrying me just to be able to inherit property. It was bizarre and deluded. It got so bad that I considered not getting married just to avoid her insanity. One day she yelled at me right before our wedding dress appointment. I was sobbing and she didn’t understand why I canceled the appointment.
I thought it was going to be a happy visit with lots of celebrating. It was the opposite. I haven’t cried that much since high school. He’s seen me upset maybe twice in the last year, and when my mom was here it was maybe twice a week. It was an eye-opener for him.
Now that my mom’s left, the waters have calmed, but now I’m panicked about the wedding next year. She’ll be flying back and I’m dreading it’ll be 10 times worse. I might be stressed because of last minute wedding planning, but the thought of her doing more crazy yelling freaks me out. I’ve tried talking in a calm tone, explaining my thoughts and feelings, tried to reason but that doesn’t work. She really is one of those people who does not listen. She doesn’t want to see things from another person’s point of view. She’s older, knows better, has more experience, and I’m a disrespectful child.
I don’t know what will happen next year. I want to marry him, I’m excited to spend our lives together. I also think my mother will somehow turn things into a disaster. I’m dreading the day she flies back.