The Day My Parents Confirmed I Was An Accident

It all began with an observation my wife made:

I don’t know, a 7 year gap is pretty wide between you and your brother. Are you sure you weren’t an accident?”

I might have responded with: “Hmmm, that’s an interesting point…” But I didn’t really think much of it after she said it – I just brushed it off and moved on.

Then half a year later – just two months ago – this happened during our regular Thursday night dinner with my Parents…

As I went in for that last bite of rice, I casually asked my parents in Chinese:

“Hey, can I ask you guys a question?”

I look up at my at both my parents, and they gaze up to look at their 31 year old son, sitting next to his wife and 16 month old daughter.

They both had a genuinely curious look on their faces, and probably thought I was going to ask them about something trivial, like how did they cook the tofu, or what time are they going to come over next week.

Instead, I hit them with this bomb:

“I was wondering…Was I an accident?!”

If this was a movie, this is where my folks would comedically spit out their soup. That didn’t happen – but it might as well have – for what came out was a rapid fire succession of responses:

“No, of course not!” stumbled my mom.

“No…You see, it was so tough back then after having your brother…” my Dad chimed in. “…we were in a rough financial situations too…” He stammered on.

The funny thing was the more he spoke, more and more reasons of why I was an accident came to light.

At this point, I remember looking at my wife, and she had the biggest, ‘WTF is wrong with you?’ expression on her face.

I was loving every moment of it, because I had already known the answer. Since my wife’s comment six months before, this was something that I thought of for a while and come to terms with.

Unlike my parents, I was ready for this conversation.

“…Aaaand our house was so small too…work was tough…”, my dad continued.

I’m willing to bet that over three decades ago, when they found out they were having me, my folks had a conversation like this:

“Okay, the day he asks if he was an accident, here’s what I’m going to say..and here’s what you should say…”

Unfortunately for them, the gameplan that they devised was locked away and buried deep like a faded note inside a time capsule housed in a rusted tin container.

The gameplan, though was solid when planned, couldn’t hold up to the test of time thirty years later.

After I grew out of my teens, they probably thought the coast was clear, and that they wouldn’t have to deal with this awkward conversation – especially to an emotional  teenager. 

And we all know that if there’s one common Chinese family stereotype, it’s that we love avoiding awkward moments where we have to express any feelings or emotions.

They probably thought, well, if he wasn’t going to ask now, he’s not going to ask ever.

Ha! I sure showed them!


After the dinner, I felt pretty good about myself. Sure, I basically sucker-punched my parents with my question, but I felt pretty at ease.

Can you imagine telling this version of me that her was an accident?

In most stories that I hear regarding someone finding out they were an accident, the main character is usually embarrassed or devastated by the news.

I, on the other hand, was not phased by the discovery.

Perhaps if this were say ten years ago, learning about this would likely have bothered me.

But not today.

I think a lot has to do with the fact that I’m quite proud of what I’ve accomplished so far in life, and I sense that my parents feel the same way too.

I’m proud to be an accident, and thinking about it further, I’m even more proud with how my parents handled my upbringing ensuring that it never crossed my mind.

Never have I felt unwanted, and never have they expressed that I was a burden to them and their lives.

I always felt loved and cared for from the both of them – at least as “loved and cared for” as possible in the Chinese family sense, like that “What Asian Parent’s Don’t Say” video.

In any case, I never questioned whether I was planned or unplanned.

Hey look! Here’s a photo of my dad NOT telling me I was an accident!

Coming back full circle –  as my wife and I constantly ponder whether or not we want to have a second child –  knowing this I think helps put things into perspective. I don’t think we’re ready for a second, and I don’t know if we’ll ever be with how content both of us are.

However, upon learning of my origin, there is solace in knowing that even in the difficult circumstance my parents were in, they ended up raising an unplanned child that grew up feeling wholeheartedly and conditionally loved and wanted in this world.

Of course, if by fate or fortune we end up with an unplanned kid, I’ll at least know to rehearse my lines, and be extra suspicious if he or she casually asks me a question during a family dinner thirty years later.

I’ll just simply get up and leave the dinner table and let my wife answer the questions. She did afterall, caused all of this with her innocent observation allowing me to confront my parents and realize that it’s actually okay to have an unplanned kid.

G.D.F.R. When Your Parents Make It Real

 

One of the greatest titles in the world is parent, and one of the biggest blessings in the world is to have parents to call mom and dad.

– Jim DeMint

 

So far the journey towards becoming a parent has been sort of like a dream. We’ve experience many highs and certainly some lows.

But this adventure has been fantastic and almost dream-like in the sense that I’ve been witnessing things slowly unfold into something that is real.  I’m not just talking about strollers or cribs, but rather the variety of things and moments that make me feel like I’m becoming a dad.

Well today after having a conversation with my parents, the prospect of me being a dad became very real.

Don’t get me wrong, the past six months of preparing have made me understand what’s to come.  But when I actually put into words the ideals of what I will do for our daughter to my mom and dad, things felt very real, very real.

It was a simple discussion with my parents on how I will be teaching our daughter how to speak Chinese and the following G.D.F.R. revelation popped into my head:

“Holy sh*t, I’m actually talking to my parents about being a parent to my kid, that’s so crazy!…But wait a second…I’m still their kid!”

It may seem like nothing, but when you actually talk to your folks about parenting stuff you’ve officially removed the last set of training wheels.

momdadmeAnd almost immediately it made me wonder what they must be going through at this point.  As this is their first foray into becoming grandparents, I kind of wonder how that feels for them. Do they live vicariously through me now? Do they now officially close up the parenting shop knowing that they’ve successfully completed their task of raising a person who is now going to open up his own shop?

I wonder if they had a G.D.F.R. revelation too thinking:

“Holy sh*t, We’re actually talking to our kid about being a parent to their kid, that’s so crazy!…But wait a second…He’s still our kid!”

Wow it’s like parenting-inception.  It’s almost like a parent snake eating it’s kids tail while the kid snakes is eating…wait that actually doesn’t make any sense.

So from what has been a dream so far, I am now thrusted into the reality of becoming an actual parent, thanks to what I thought was an innocent conversation with my folks.

My parent’s are kind of really good at doing their job.

How so?  Well, even after 30 years of raising me and pointing me to right direction, my parents continue to teach and show me what it takes to be a parent to a kid so that I can one day parent-inception my kid back when they have this similar conversation.

That is totally like a parent snake eating the tail of their kid snake….nevermind.

 

My parents are cool!

Inception-PARENTING