Speak Loving Words this Holiday

Photo by  Bart LaRue  on  Unsplash

Photo by Bart LaRue on Unsplash

Since my parents moved to LA from Maryland (where I grew up) 3 years ago, I see them 2-3 times a year. Usually in the Springtime, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.

Judging by their age, life expectancy, and that 2-3/year frequency, I’ll see my parents around 50 more times. Ever.

49 after this Christmas.

Indeed it’s a crude estimate and impossible to truly know how many times I’ll actually see them, but seeing a number that only has 2 digits is striking to me.

My mom had always wished for us to be bilingual. But growing up in Maryland, it didn’t make sense to my kid brain why I should give up my Sundays and evenings to learn a language I only heard spoken at home.

It wasn’t until my thirties that I realized the significance of the fact that my mom has never been able to fully express herself to me in her native language.

So I started taking Mandarin lessons.

And for the first time as an adult, I had a conversation with my mom in her first language.

Before we said goodbye, I said “I love you” to her in English. She said it back in English. Another first.

It was like we both finally realized what was missing. To be able to express love, not just in actions, but in words, too.

Loving actions feed us, protect us, and provide us with what we need to survive and build a life.

Loving words, on the other hand, are inedible, intangible and essentially impractical.

Which is exactly why they mean so much when we go out of our way to speak them.

Happy holidays everyone.

Eddie Shieh, PCC, MFA