My Parents’ 50th Wedding Anniversary – A Long Distance Toast

This is quite an auspicious day.  My parents are celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary back home in Texas.  It pains me that I can’t be there in person to celebrate with them, but I am there in spirit.

Mommy, Boppy (“Dad” never sounded right), here’s my humble toast to you:

Thank you.  I don’t know how you did it, raising us three kids the way you did, under the circumstances you were under.  Moving from Taiwan to Canada in the 1960s must’ve been quite a culture and climate shock.   In addition, not having any money, raising two (at the time) young children…and Bop earning a Ph.D. in physics, was simply epic.  Yes, I never thought I’d ever use that word to describe anything, but that describes your accomplishments as parents.  Epic.  Raising 2nd generation Taiwanese Americans must have been a battle.  With us going through our ethnic identity conflicts, and the usual teenage drama, you manage to produce children who feel pride with our Taiwanese heritage (and we still speak Taiwanese!), as well as being American.  Not an easy feat, given that I have failed at teaching Emma any semblance of Taiwanese or Mandarin so far…

You taught us well.  I must say that I strongly believe that Jean, Peggy and I must be some of the most down to earth people (I guess saying it that way makes me less so…) anyone could ever meet.  We grew up without that material urge, to buy the latest whatever… we were anti-trendy, and loved it.  Well to be honest, I was un-trendy because I had no clue. Peggy and Jean fought over bragging rights of who bought the cheapest shoes.  How did you do that as parents??  When other college students at UT were driving fancy cars, I felt proud to drive around in our family Ford Granada, because it could fit the most people…If Liren were still here, he’s still take a stab at me for putting a subwoofer and Pirelli tires on that car… 🙂  But I was grateful to have a car.  You taught me that.

You taught us from an early age that a person’s character is more important than one’s status.  We never sought out friends because of their status, but because they were nice people.  My closest friends still fit that description.  Regardless of their career choices or titles, my friends were/are very down to earth, genuinely good people.  They don’t pretend to be someone they’re not.  Your friends today resemble that as well.  You never taught us to discriminate against anyone, or to judge them based on race, religion, income or status, and perhaps that’s why I’m able to relate to people from all walks of life. Wherever I worked, I was equally interested in getting to know the top dog and the custodial staff.  It was never a conscious, deliberate act, but just felt second nature to me. At first I didn’t realize I was doing that, but now I know why.  I’m attracted to good people.  Simple.  That value I learned from you.  That’s also why I married Aye.  🙂

Mommy, I don’t think any of your doctors would have predicted you would be here to celebrate this day.  Your cancer diagnosis was very severe, and prognosis was very dire, as you were told in hindsight.  You fought through chemo and its effects with such courage, positive attitude, that no one now will ever underestimate your inner strength.  I think we’re all amazed.  As a tai chi instructor for many years, I thought it was cool and you kicked ass.  But as a cancer survivor, you are TOTALLY KICK ASS!

Boppy, your tireless efforts to help Mommy get better was such a display of love and dedication, that all husbands should aspire to be.  You are an amazing person with so many talents: a physicist, musician, cook, auto mechanic, wine maker, track athlete, and on top of that you build furniture of all things!  There’s nothing you can’t do, you even helped cure mom of cancer.  Mommy is better today, because of how you supported her physically (making cancer fighting meals daily) and emotionally.   I could not ask for a better role model on how to be a father, husband and a friend.  Your marriage is a wonderful role model for me and Aye, and you’ve shown me the things in life that are truly important.

I hope you don’t ever have doubts about how you did as parents.  If you do, please stop now.  I am so proud to be your son, and to have won the ‘parent lottery.’  Congratulations to you on your 50th, and a Texas sized hug to both of you from Thailand!!

Love,

Jack

Mommy and Boppy, glowing at one of their 50th anniversary parties.

Mommy and Boppy, glowing at one of their 50th anniversary parties.

 

 

 

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