Boyfriends and Parents

I still remember it clearly. I was four years old, laying on the couch, sipping my
apple juice and watching my cartoons. My dad sat down beside me and
asked me in Vietnamese:

“Who do you love most in this world?”

It was a game we’d play a lot. I knew the answer because my dad taught
me how to answer the question. I smiled, eager to show off my knowledge.

“I love my daddy, Ha Quan Truong!” I yelled.
“And how much do you love me?” he smiled.
“This much!” I stretched out my little toddler arms as wide as I
could to show him how much. In my mind, nothing could be much bigger
than that.

The game usually ended there, with a kiss on the cheek from him. But this time, he went on.

“Y’know, one day you’re going to find a boy you’ll love more than me
and your mommy. And you’ll leave us for him when you marry. And you’ll
leave your brother too.”

My eyes widened in disbelief. I  couldn’t imagine my life without
my parents. How could I love anyone else more than them? It was
impossible. I thought long and hard about the problem. Finally, it
dawned on me:

“No, I’ll just never marry a boy, daddy. Then I can be with you and mommy and Vy Tri forever.”

My dad smiled and laughed and then kissed me on my cheek.

******

For as long as I could remember, my mom’s always ingrained it into my
head that I’d marry a nice Chinese or Vietnamese boy so my parents could speak to him and understand him. He would older than
me with a nice doctor/lawyer/engineer job, preferrably five years older
than me so he could take care of me. (Of course I couldn’t start dating until I was 25 with a nice
respectable doctor job.)

I remember the lectures in the car on the way home from school, sitting
around watching her sew, almost anytime she could find. I wouldn’t have
been surprised if she whispered it into my ear during my sleep. (Some
form of brainwashing on her part?)

******

The funny thing being, all of her insistence only resulted in my active
rebellion against it. Maybe it was the typical dumb teenager hormonal
induced reaction, but I could find nothing else more boring and
unattractive.

My first serious crush was not on a Chinese boy, or a Vietnamese boy.
Not even on an Asian boy, but a white boy. Who was smart but had no
ambition.

My first boyfriend was Vietnamese but younger than me (but only by a
few weeks) and a high school dropout whose career ambition was to
become a famous singer.

Subsequent boys who entered my life – crushes, flings and boyfriends –
were also against my mom’s ideal type for me. One was younger by two
years. Another one, high school dropout. Many were the gangster bad boy
types. None were the type to “take care of me.” Instead, I was the
strong supportive one.

As I’ve gotten older though and experienced heartbreak and broke a
few  hearts myself, I find myself more and more attracted to the
type my mom actually wanted for me and the type I worked so hard
against.

My current boyfriend is Chinese and speaks three different dialects of
it including Mandarin. Which means he can communicate with my father
and my father can communicate with his family. He’s only a year older
than me, but he takes care of me. He’s good to me, and my parents see
that. He’s sweet, funny, good natured with a good head on his shoulders
and a stable career.

It’s oddly comforting to think after all this time that my parents were
right. But while I still love my father as wider as my arms can spread
(and more), I think I’ll have to go back on the whole never marrying
idea.

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22 comments
  1. staytru said:

    parents are always right on an odd level. On a less serious but related topic, I think they’ve conditioned me to like preppie clothes. You don’t understand the odd excitement and bond-building between my mom and me when we see a cable-knit sweater at the Gap. or just a plain knit sweater for that matter. I have nothing but cable-knit sweaters. hell, the woman knits me cable-knit sweaters. hurrah for cable knit. hahahaha.
    How do mothers always know?

  2. hahahahahahaha……… aaaaaaaaaawwwwwwwwww…….
    …o0(Kids say the darnest things)
    my mother never gave me a specific guy to like or marry… she just told me that i wasn’t allowed to date until i get a master’s degree (i think that’s older than 25, right?? i’m pretty slow with the school stuff. ) and she said that i’d give her grandchildren one day (which i told her that if i go to university, then my brother has to be the one to provide the grandkids since my brother is a high school dropout) but she never mentioned marriage or whatever, nothing about the ideal guy or the ideal love life…. i think she’s just expecting me to *poof* magically find the perfect husband the next day after I recieve a Master’s Degree in something that I’m happy to be doing…. *sigh* Mommy… *aiya*

  3. Awwww…..! This is such a sweet entry. I love the innocence of the first part and I love the ending as well =) All my life I’ve had the same conflict inside of me (choosing the bad boys I seem to end up with or finding myself a good boy I can take home to my proud parents and who could also take good care of me). Sigh..or perhaps it’s changing the former into the latter, which is a very naive, although romantic, notion.

  4. And you know I’ve suspected the brainwashing as well. How else would I have this fetish for men in suits and ties? Nothing else seems to impress me more.

  5. haha … cute post… oh yeah, i remember those conversations well.  my parents always said the same line, “It’s nice to have friends, but don’t get serious until after you have your career” … “Find a nice guy” …
    I’m glad to hear you’ve come to your senses — yeah, it’s now the so-called “bad boys” who are the unappealing ones.  Glad to hear that you’ve found yourself a good catch!

  6. aww… anna… how cute!!! don’t you hate when parents are right? my mom always told me to go find an engineer… i don’t know any, but my boyfriend is a chemical engineer tech… close enough πŸ™‚

  7. dcee604 said:

    ryc: hey…wait a sec there…I can’t tell if you’re being serious or not, cuz one of my postings today was Protected..and I don’t ‘think’ you’re on my protected list..what gives?! Hmm..weird..

  8. dcee604 said:

    ryc2: Well, you are now! lol…Well, you had me going there for a sec, cuz I did post something that is a little more personal to me earlier in the day, and I know I protected it.      The circle of trust…tread lightly.

  9. Kyole said:

    Thanks for your reply.. I agree… especially at our age… we do pick on those who’re younger…and older..  thinking that we’re the “trend” or the “right” ones.
    Nice to meet you anyways…  have fun in school.. (ahem.. by the way..  you’re in med school? )

  10. One day, they will just wish you to marry…..anyone! haha  Well, mine do.

  11. Anonymous said:

    random props.. I can totally relate to the lesson your parents taught you about the guy you’ll leave them for. Us girls are known to be rebellious towards our parents at a naive stage but then we grow up to being just like them and listening to them unattentionally… crazy huh?
    I love your background by the way.

  12. Anonymous said:

    Interesting take. When I was younger I only wanted to date chinese girls, but as I got older. It didn’t really matter to me what ethnic they were as long as we clicked.

  13. Anonymous said:

    awww thanks for the comment girl.. your pretty too !!! πŸ™‚

  14. u’re so cute anna. but my parents are still wrong. and marriage is still lame. haha

  15. (RYC: what a dink … ahh, he did you a favour — now you got yourself a good man … and how unoriginal – “it’s not you, it’s me” — Yeah, you better sure as heck believe it’s you, coz’ it ain’t me!! haha ;))

  16. dcee604 said:

    gingerbread house? Are you sure they’re from Easter? I thought Gingerbread is used for Christmas! ..hrmm…

  17. Heya, thanks for the random eprop.
    Awww… what a cute read indeed. Interesting too; makes you think about our lives and how it pertains to relationships. I’m sure I’ll be back for more.  

  18. RYC:I know what you mean. I’ve been in both relationships that had comfort and safety and no passion, or passion but no comfort and safety. One was boring the other was just insane. Do you really think though, that you can DEVELOP passion for somebody when it wasn’t there in the first place?You know, I’ve always seen you around but never really looked at your site. Now that I’ve looked at it, I’ve discovered that I really like your writing here. I’m subbing you πŸ™‚

  19. hehehe…..mom and dad are always right!  looking back, that is…..

  20. RYC:OMG, yeah I know who you are! πŸ™‚ Anna_143, huh. Funny that we’ve both been on LJ for so long, have the same friends there but never spoke a word to each other; and then we run into each other on Xanga. Bizarre.I took that photo, yeah. It’s one of my favorite beaches here. :)Ok, so the thing about developing passion. You see, it’s hard for me to understand how… ohhhhh… okay now that you mention it. I was GOING to say that it’s hard for me to understand how you can love somebody but not feel passion for them and then somehow develop passion for them, but it’s happened to me before. It seems to be rare though, for me at least. But possible.

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