I had meant to write this earlier in the week, so I'm sorry it's belated.
...when I was a kid, I cried that time I won a game of Snakes and Ladders, because it meant that you lost. Because I didn't want you to lose. Ever.
...how you used to fill the kitchen sink with water so that I could play with pots and pans (and apparently learn important dishwashing skills that have carried through to this day).
...how you took me to swimming classes or tennis lessons, without complaint. Except when we were late, because that meant wasted money on those precious minutes we missed when I could have been paddling or working on my forehand swing.
...how you cried when we learned that Bor-Bor had lupus and you told me that you felt helpless because we were so far away. But she made it through that struggle - because she knew you were thinking of her - and so did you.
...when the immigration offical saw our Chinese-soon-to-be-Canadian faces, and asked you, "Do - any - of - you - speak - English?" you looked at her incredulously and said "We all do" in your most proper English, which slapped the condescension right out of her. And it was your command of the English language, and your English degree, that inspired me to pursue the same in college.
...when - for three months - you spent four, painful hours on an irregularly-scheduled bus every day to take D. to school in another suburb, so that she wouldn't have to change schools partway through the year when we moved.
...how you came to all of my school concerts with Dad, even though the music was probably miserable to hear, and how you came to my parent-teacher nights, even though you didn't have to.
...how you packed Thanksgiving dinner "to go" and brought it to my little dorm room - five hours drive away - in my first year of college. With plenty of turkey leftovers for those weekends when my sad college meal plan meant I had to cook.
...how you taught me so many cooking skills. And apparently raised a tyrant in the kitchen in the process.
...how you came to love my partner because of who he is, and what he means to me.
And I'm grateful...for all these wonderful memories of the things you've done for me over the years, and that you still continue to send me recipes and jokes that you find online, and that you still haven't found the birthday card you bought for me a year ago and keep promising to send, and that you're still in good health, and that we get to talk every week and sometimes more.
And I'm grateful to be your son.
Happy (Belated) Birthday, Mom. I love you.