My tolerant mother has taken care of me for twenty two years and never received an income or even a promotion for her magnanimous efforts of raising a poor Vietnamese speaking mercurial daughter. With great admittance, I am a spoiled brat.
After I turned 18 and went off to college, I really thought I was a true adult. But I found myself going home on weekends shamefully so my mother could do my laundry. I wake up past noon and next to my bed will be a plate of perfectly cut up gauva accompanied by the greatest concoction ever: salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper. It's truly a Vietnamese thing (the dip and the motherly behaviors). I figured this type of behavior would diminish by the time I turn 21, the age where I can legally drink, rent a car, buy a car without a co-signer, buy a house without a co-signer, and gamble. How come when I turned 21, all I did was drink until I couldn't anymore? I should have gone and rented a car!
The realization that I've yet to seriously grow up occurred one morning before I went off to work. My morning routine is trite and amazingly lazy: wake up at 6:35, drag myself to the restroom, pee, brush my teeth, wash my face, attempt to comb my hair, give up and tie it in a ponytail, change, and go to the kitchen. All of that takes an impressive ten minutes. I'm independent during those 10 minutes. On this particular morning, I slipped on a black dress because I didn't feel like using my muscles trying to squeeze into my fitted pants. As I walked into the kitchen, I stood by the cabinet, waiting for my mother. "Chờ đợi một phút" she says as she places bags of fruits and a napkin in my black lunch pail. "đồ ăn nóng" she says as she hands it to me. She basically told me to wait a minute and that the food is hot. I grabbed the handle, thanked her, grabbed my car keys, put on my black flats, and walked out the door. My mother loves to watch me as I leave, and I always wondered if I'll do that when I become a mother.
She runs back in the house and comes out with a strip of stickers, the same one she uses to clean up the cat hair on the floor. Though my brother and I bought her a lint/pet fur roller, she prefers the stickers because she has more control and it's more effective, she claims. And there I was, standing in the walkway with my arms stretched out like scarecrow as she patted the stickers all over my dress as if I was going through security. "Mèo lông" she says. It means "cat fur" a word she's been using since my brother brought home Blue and Willow a year ago. My black dress was covered in tiny orange cat fur. In that moment, I imaged a helicopter aiming it's spotlight at me standing there with my mom on her knees intricately patting the stickers all over my dress, reporting to the news anchor "breaking news, a 22 year old woman is delayed from going to work because of apparent cat fur on her dress. Her mother is quickly ridding of the contamination."
After a minute, I told her it looks good and that I couldn't see the cat fur anymore. I thanked her, and casually walked towards my car. I place the lunch pail in the passenger seat, put on my seatbelt, turn on the engine, and drive off with NPR on the radio encouraging me to donate money for their Fall drive.