Against the Odds

My parents aren’t very romantic, but I can tell my dad is getting more sentimental as the years pass. He recently reminisced about the beginning of his relationship with my mom.

Your mom was a country gal, and I was from the big city. She’s 6 years older, highly unconventional for our generation and culture. Your mom’s entire family was against our marriage and impending move to the U.S., predicting that our relationship would die within the year, leaving her stranded with nothing and alone in the states. We’ve been married nearly 40 years.

Conversations with Lily

I’ve only spent an hour with her today, but my heart is already bursting at the seams. When I’m with her, nothing else matters. I’ll never forget her reaction when I surprised her this morning — it’s forever seared into my memory.

A few snippets:

“Jen Jen, would you like to play with me?” Always irresistible, always in a slight British accent.

“Hey Mochi, what’s the matter?” Said in a sweet, comforting tone to one of her dogs, who was looking mopey.

“Mochi, it’s not for doggies, for pete’s sake.” I laugh, and she smirks because she knows exactly what was so funny. “Yeah, I say ‘for pete’s sake.’”

“Turn on the music, so we can dance, ok?” A gal after my own heart. But I prefer my dance parties after 8am.

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Don’t worry, she gave me a mask too.

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Gratitude

Maybe it’s…

  • The holidays.
  • My turning 30 soon.
  • Being back in Lodi, where I grew up.
  • Facebook’s On This Day feature.
  • Watching my niece blossom into the smartest, funniest, coolest kid.
  • My new OCP.

…but I’m feeling extra sentimental these days. In my usual fashion, I’ll share a little bit, in list form. :)

Here are a few of the countless things I’m thankful for:

  • My people. My family (furry ones too!), friends, and coworkers. I could write a book on this bullet alone. Everyone, both near and far: even if we’re not in touch all the time, I’m often thinking of you and appreciate you very much.
  • Automattic/my work. I get to work on fantastic things, with wonderful company, amazing flexibility, and incredible benefits. I never forget this.
  • My health. I’m aging, I can feel it! My wrists are hurting more, my right ankle continues to be problematic, and I experienced heartburn for the first time ever, twice in the past month. These completely trivial annoyances remind me to appreciate my body and all that it does for me, despite the hell I sometimes put it through.
  • Technology/the internet. I have the pleasure of blowing my parents’ minds every time I reveal a bit more of the magic. It’s slow-going, but such a treat. For example, my mom was pumped today because we just got to watch an episode of BBC’s Monkey Planet (she loves animal documentaries) on the TV instead of the iPad (thanks Chromecast!). They have had such rough lives, but they deserve all of life’s pleasures, which we often take for granted.
  • The bay area. It’s beautiful!
  • All things new — good, bad, or inbetween. New experiences, new places, new feelings.

Here’s a glimpse of my completely normal, but 100% delightful day:

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Although the photos aren’t anything special, the moments were.

 

Onions. Onions All The Time.

I am extremely sentimental. Let me be clear: sentimental, not uncontrollably, outrageously emotional. I pride myself on being more objective than your average person and being able to look at a situation from all sides. Just ask my brother — I’m certain he thinks I annoyingly play devil’s advocate way too often. But overall, I am a sap. Case in point:

– Weddings = waterworks
– I wept when my work-husband was laid off, despite knowing that he would move on to bigger and better things
– Thinking of a dog I’ve lost (nearly decade ago) can still bring me to tears
– I nearly cried during this super bowl commercial. Clydesdales? More like crydesdales, amirite?!

All of my friends know this about me. And although I wish I was less tearful at times (how embarrassing would it have been to cry in response to a super bowl commercial?!), I embrace it. I like that I feel so deeply. However, I do my best to hide this side of myself from my family because… I don’t know why. The Zhus have never really been emotive around one another. Whatever the reason, I’m working on it, which makes for a lot of discomfort. One little treasure has made this monumental undertaking a bit less daunting: Lily Zhu.

coyall smiles

I love my niece an incomprehensible amount. Born just 4 months ago, she doesn’t do much, but… WOW. You don’t know how much you can truly care about someone until a little bundle of joy like Lily enters your life. I spend time each and every day looking at photos of her (only because I’m too far away to snuggle her in person).

Lily’s arrival and the frightening, but obvious aging of my parents, along with the scary health complications of some of my fit, young friends (maybe more on that later) makes me all the more grateful for our time here.

So let’s get cheesy, shall we? Remember to love deeply and don’t take anyone or anything for granted!

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P.S. Thanks reddit, for surfacing this devastatingly sad and heartwarming tale years later. WHO IS CUTTING ONIONS IN HERE?!