Conversations with My 6 Year Old About Growing Up

There are so many children’s books out there in the world; some are strange, many are funny, but only one has had the power to move me to tears. That book is called “Love You Forever” by Robert Munsch.

To be honest though, the first time I read it, I thought the author was a little nuts. Let me tell you why. In a nutshell (pun intended, haha), the book follows the journey of a mother and her baby from the time he is born until he is a father himself. Every evening the mother rocks her son to sleep and sings a sweet song that goes:

“I’ll love you forever,

I’ll like you for always.

As long as I’m living

my baby you’ll be.”

And when I say she does this every evening, I mean every evening. Even when her son is a 6 foot tall, hairy man living across town, she drives over to his house in the middle of the night. She takes the super long ladder she strapped to the roof of her car and climbs up to his bedroom on the second floor, makes sure he is fully asleep, and takes him in her (very strong) arms and rocks him to this song.

LoveYouForever2

Yup. The counselor part of me totally had a field day psychoanalyzing this scene. 😉 My initial thoughts were: This mom is so codependent, overly attached and unable to let go of her kid. Where are her boundaries?!

It was about nine years ago when I first saw this book at the library. Since then, every time I see it on a shelf, I bypass it because of its “dysfunctional” message. But recently, I finally understood what the author was saying (and now know that he was not nuts when he wrote the book). 🙂

The other day C and I were talking about her upcoming trip to the dentist to have 2 (stubborn) baby teeth pulled. I attempted to allay her fears by going over the procedure and answering her questions. The conversation was going well, and she was staying calm and looking thoughtful when she said something that made my heart drop.

C: “You can stay outside.”

Me: “What?”

C: “You can stay outside. You don’t have to come with me.”

It took a minute for me to register that C was saying she didn’t want me to go into the dentist’s office with her during the procedure. I was supposed to stay outside in the waiting room.

Me: “Are you sure?”

C: “Yes. Stay outside.”

Me: “Aw, my baby’s growing up!”

C: “Mo-om!”

Me: “NOOOOOOO! Okay, I’ll wait outside.”

And that’s when the story of “Love You Forever” came to mind. Because with every ounce of blood pumping in me, as long as I’m living, my babies will always be my babies. I may not be as crazy (or brave) as the mom in the book to break into my kids’ homes when they’re adults and rock them to sleep, but it doesn’t mean I wouldn’t want to. (Actually, hubby would probably beat me to it!) But in my heart of hearts, I will always remember E and C as the cute, chunky babies who challenged and inspired me, and ultimately, grew me into the mom I am today.

So, yes, sweet daughter, I know you (and your brother) are growing up and don’t need me as much as before. I just need a little while to catch up to this new reality, so be patient with me. But I (and your Baba) would really appreciate it if you could do us a favor and choose a one story house when you grow up. 😉

Here’s a link to where you can hear “Love You Forever” read to you and view the illustrations as well. (Get the tissues out!)

And we’ll end with Mariah Carey’s song, “Always Be My Baby”. 🙂

When did you realize you (or your kids) were growing up?

My New Release: The More the Merrier!

Happy Tuesday and welcome to my book release party! Sorry for not sending out invitations in advance, but it was hard to round up any snails on such short notice. 😉 I was hoping to do this in two parts (cover reveal and then book release), but it all came together at once this week. So without further ado …

Cue the fireworks!

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/freedigitalphotos.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/freedigitalphotos.net

I’m thrilled to share my first short story with you, a sweet romance titled The More the Merrier! Here’s the book cover (designed by the amazing Deborah Bradseth of Tugboat Designs)!

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Now, people say never judge a book by its cover, but I think there’s a lot of information you can gather from this one. Fuzzy white sweaters? Red sparkly font? Asian faces? Hmm… If you guessed this is a story about an Asian couple at Christmastime, you’re right. 🙂

Here’s the gist of the book (aka. back cover blurb):

Fed up with a string of bad blind dates, health blogger Alyssa Wu just wants to drown her sorrows in ice cream. But there’s one more evening she must endure – a fake date with her best friend Barry Chang. They must convince her family they are in love, an act which may (or may not) be easy to pull off, thanks to the magic of some mistletoe.

This 10,000 word short story is perfect for your lunch break, workout or while you wait in line on Black Friday. Read it today to get in the Christmas spirit any time of the year!

This story was so much fun to write, especially given the fact that I had to think about wintery things in the middle of an August heat wave. That’s where Alyssa’s love of ice cream came in. 😉 The male character’s name comes from two people whom I adore; one fictional and one real. Barry is of course for Barry Allen of The Flash, someone who is sweet, genuine and courageous. Chang is my dear maternal grandfather’s surname. This book is dedicated in loving memory to him, a man so rich in love and compassion.

After I wrote my last book, True To You, with a Chinese main character and her family, I decided to tackle writing about my culture again in this book. I find a lot of humor in stereotypes and boy, are there a lot of funny things that Chinese parents do. LOL. 🙂

I hope you enjoy The More the Merrier! You can read an excerpt on my blog under the “Seasons of Love Series” tab (click here). And yup, this is book #1 in a new series. There will be three more short stories coming next year for the seasons of spring, summer and fall (along with book #3 in my “Taking Chances Series“)!

You can purchase The More the Merrier at Amazon.com: Kindle format. It’s available for $0.99 or free on Kindle Unlimited.

And take a listen to the song featured in the book, Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas is You”. It’ll get you in the Christmas spirit for sure!

 

 

 

One Word for 2013 & 2014

One word. So much can be said with just one word. Some words, of course, may be more weighty in their meanings, while others are more simple and to the point. But have you noticed that one word in a dictionary typically needs several more words to define it? Many words even have three or four definitions attached to them, broadening the scope of the meaning. That’s the amazing power and beauty of words. That’s why I love writing.

Just the other day, the mom of one of C’s friends asked me, “Why writing? How did you get into that?” 

I smiled and stopped myself from laughing out loud.

It wasn’t the question she asked that made me want to chuckle. It was the wide-eyed, curious expression she wore on her face. You would think I had told her I did belly dancing for a living (no offense to belly dancers who I think are crazy talented and entertaining). 

“I’ve always like to write,” I replied. “I don’t like to talk, but I like to write.”

I could have gone on to say more, but it’s not easy to have an extended conversation when you’re chasing preschoolers around a park. Even if I had, it’s hard to put into words (ironic, for a writer, I know!) what writing means to me. I imagine it’s like a butterfly discovering its wings for the first time and realizing it is no longer confined to the ground. For me, writing is like being set free from the trappings of a cocoon to float into the sky. Expressing myself this way makes me happy and for that, I’m grateful.

Image courtesy of Eddy Van 3000 from in Flanders fields – B – United Tribes ov Europe


I’m grateful God gave me this passion and for the opportunities to see it come to life again. Writing came back into my life a few years ago, and when I say it returned to me, I mean just that. I hadn’t thought about writing for a long time and hadn’t needed to do any since graduate school. But one day when I decided to clean out an upstairs closet, I found a story I had written from my youth (literally from high school). The next day, hubby heard about a children’s book contest and told me about it. Long story short, my entry didn’t win, but the publisher still decided to take my story and turn it into a picture e-book. Yay!

Now, I don’t believe in coincidences because the world is too messy of a place for things to fall exactly into place by chance. But I do believe in God’s redeeming power. And redeem is the one word I think of when I look back on this past year. 

re·deem

 transitive verb \ri-ˈdēm\

: to make (something that is bad, unpleasant, etc.) better or more acceptable

: to exchange (something, such as a coupon or lottery ticket) for money, an award, etc.

: to buy back (something, such as a stock or bond)

You see, there was a time when I was given the opportunity to apply for the honors English class at my high school. I was not your typical Asian student; I worked hard and got almost straight A’s, but I didn’t excel in any subject area enough to be in the GATE (Gifted and Talented Education) program… except maybe in English. My teacher recognized this and gave me and another classmate the chance to move up. Unfortunately, she made it in and I didn’t. But what held me back wasn’t my writing skills; it was my shy personality and lack of class participation. 

Grrr. 🙁 That incident brings about some regret, but it is what it is. However it serves as a great reminder that things can change. Because ironically enough, the very same story that got published was one I wrote in that English class 20 years ago, the class that I felt stuck in because I couldn’t advance to the honors class. God took that disappointment and made it into something good. That’s what the word redeem means to me.

This past year was full of redemptive moments; I blogged about a major one here. My writing journey has been another one. It has been an up and down adventure mixed with celebratory dancing one day and head-in-my-hands groaning the next. Throughout it all I have learned that God is faithful and is always doing his redeeming work, which I think is His best kind of work. 🙂

I was going to blog about my one word for this year, but since hindsight is 20/20, it was easier to think of one for last year. So, my word for 2103 is redeemed. 

And now that I’ve seen so much of what God has done this past year, I have more faith for this new year. So, my one word for 2014 is believe.

Here’s a great song about believing – “When You Believe” by Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston (such beautiful voices!). 

What is your one word for this past year or this new year?

Monday Mentionables: Chicken Wings, Holiday Shopping & Christmas Songs

Oh my, I think this post qualifies as an “Almost-Tuesday-Monday Mentionables”. Haha. I am realizing that blogging while my munchkins are home on Christmas break is going to be challenging (cue the broken record of whiny voices asking, “Mo-om, what can I do?”). So in the spirit of trying not to be perfect, as well as, making my best effort to be present with my kids, I’m giving myself a “blogging pass” for the rest of the year. I hope to recharge and come back with a bang in 2014, so stay tuned. 🙂

In the meantime, here are today’s mentionables…

1. Sweet & Spicy Rubbed Wings. Thanks to hubby, I have fallen in love with chicken wings from Wing Stop. But since I am also frugal (aka. cheap!), I decided it would be more cost efficient to make them myself. I found this recipe online and it was pretty easy to follow. I did make some changes though: I left out the spicy ingredients and the coffee for the kids’ sake… and the paprika for my wallet’s sake ($8 for a small bottle!)… and the cinnamon for hubby’s sake (he dislikes it). So, I guess I just made sweet rubbed wings. 😉 But everyone liked it! Let me know if you try the recipe as is and how it tastes. 

Sorry for the poor lighting – gotta change out the lightbulbs over the dining table!

2. Holiday Shopping. In light of all the retail therapy that is being done this week, let’s not forget the poor men who get dragged to the malls by their wife/girlfriend/sister/daughter. Check out this link for photos of miserable men and the dark side of holiday shopping. 🙂

3. Christmas Songs. Just wanted to share four of my favorite Christmas songs.

#1: Little Saint Nick by the Beach Boys

#2: All I Want For Christmas Is You by Mariah Carey (performed here with Jimmy Fallon & The Roots)
 
#3: Underneath the Tree by Kelly Clarkson
 
#4: O Holy Night (sung here by Jackie Evancho)
Here’s wishing everyone a Merry Christmas!