It’s not just Amy Tan’s imagination

Baby showers and I go way back. WAY back. I liked them as a kid because the ones I went to had lots of games. And cake. It’s fun to guess what’s in that baby food mush and paint onesies.

I went to a baby shower for a teaching credential classmate just today. It was nice to see her, and to know how happy and excited she is. She’s an awesome person, and she’ll be a great mom.


The shower itself was cringe-worthy. It all started with introducing ourselves by saying who we were daughters and granddaughters of. Now, granted, it’s pretty awesome to hear stories of cool women in someone’s family. It’s nice, even. But not everyone has admirable women in their families to look up. Not everyone even knew their grandmothers. I, personally, found saying “daughter of ::my mom’s name::” like it was a vagina monologues ritual, way too sentimental.

My family’s financial situation, as well as just plain old upbringing, did not make me the mushy-gushy type. As proven by that incident when I was four and my mother pushed me away because I was making her late to her night shift at the old Del Monte canning factory, a job she needed to keep because my dad was stuck making minimum wage working at his father’s asian market, when he would have done better going the electrical engineer route that he had started when he was in school. So my mother had no mercy for her bawling four-year-old who just wanted her mom to stay until she fell asleep.

Yeah. Chinese immigrant families really do have that much family drama. It’s not just Amy Tan’s imagination.

So I was sitting there like a grumpy, dark, cloud, listening to these women go on and on about their mothers and grandmothers and how they all sweated sparkles and homemade bread, while I reminisced in my head about how I learned to make ramen for my own dinner when I was eight.

I’m totally making my childhood sound WAY more horrid than it actually was. I’m pretty thankful that I was brought up the way I did, whether it was intentional by my parents or not. You wouldn’t believe that my mother would have made Amy Chua look like a caring individual; she’s grown more and more sentimental with each passing year. Sometimes, even I barely recognize her.

But my parents were good parents, because they did the best with what they had. And so what if I was teased in 4th grade because I only had one set of clothes to wear to school for the week? I shot back at those teasing me that I was saving the planet by not buying into that consumerism, nor spending gallons of water on masses of laundry each day. That, and I kicked all their asses at handball, and spelling bees, and math tests, and Oregon Trail. I learned how to be tough. I learned how to be economical, to embrace minimalism, because it made me appreciate the things that really mattered.

On a recent Daily Show episode, Chris Rock said that he would send his kids to a camp where all kids get their lunch money stolen. He also joked that you can’t touch a rich kid now. They have more power than even their parents.

In conclusion, it will take a very special man, as well as a very long time, before there will be any baby showers for myself. If at all.


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