To me, my grandma is gold. She likes to dress in plain clothes and laugh about her own white hair, but no other color depicts her better than gold. Warm, loving, and shining persistently, even in the dark.
When I was born, my mom had shifts almost every night at the hospital and my dad’s business was just starting up. The burden of caring for me, then, fell on my grandparents. My grandpa has always loved me very much, but in his traditionally masculine opinion, the tedious work of child-rearing belonged to the women of a house. So my grandma cooked, cleaned and did laundry for an entire family (as she had done for the past 55 years). Aside from that, for 10 years, she bathed me, played with me, tucked me in, and taught me just about everything I knew before school. She supports me fully in whatever I wish to pursue to this day. I remember begging her to stay in bed a little longer and not go do chores so we could snuggle a little more. I remember her reminding me to blow on the dumplings before digging into it, so as to not burn my lips. I remember her rescuing me from my terror of going to the bathroom alone at night. Above all, I remember always being in a golden glow of love and safety around her.
My grandma has been through a lot. She was extremely malnourished until her 20s due to the Chinese Great Famine, and was forced to quit school after elementary because of the Cultural Revolution, despite her persistent desire to learn (I am teaching her English and sharing books with her right now, which she quite enjoys). The One Child Policy was implemented when she married, meaning she could not have had the number of children she would’ve liked, despite her love of them. Then, when she retired, pension reforms were made due to the outrageous proportion of the working class to retired (1:6) and her hard work for 50 years was undermined pitifully. Yet her golden positivity persisted, and she would wave away my frustration at her suffering every time I fume about these things.
Despite all the hardship she endured in her early life, she is still able to act as a role model to me, every day, by being positive and thankful. She was also able to radiate such unconditional love and support for me, that I became the healthy teen that I am, on my way to a life I desire for myself. She is, indeed, the gold shining brightly in my life every day that helps me keep my faith in this world.
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