I didn't always have a good relationship with my mom. For over a decade, we mainly only interacted around food.
She used to fill my plate for me with way too much food, and I'd almost always make a fuss about it, complaining that I didn't want to eat so much.
Instead of trying to understand her actions, I pushed her away.
One day, I asked her about her favorite food growing up, and we ended up spending the next two hours talking about her childhood in China and the Cultural Revolution.
It forever changed the way I saw who she was. I finally started to understand why she always tried to indulge me—it is her dearest expression of love.
When my mom was a child, food was the most precious thing she had.
She was born at the height of the Great Chinese Famine so instead of milk, she could only eat flour and water. People were so hungry they ate leaves and tree bark.
Whenever she cooked, brought perfectly cut fruit into my room, and gave me the freshest food while eating leftovers herself, she was saying, "I love you."
In Chinese culture, those words are rarely said out loud.
I now know that she's been saying that to me every day through her actions.
I can't undo how I treated her in the past, but I can look forward and choose to embrace her love language fully.
I get to love her as she has loved me my whole life.
Thank you for giving me life and putting up with me all those years, Mom. I love you so much.