Have you eaten yet?

Half of the posts I want to write about lately are about race, but I’m pretty confident that no one cares about my thoughts on race. You just want a funny gif to go with a story about how Otis got mad at me the other day and, literally, peed on me. My child Anger Peed on me.

Unfortunately, today is not your day. Today I saw the video below where a bunch of Asian kids call their parents to say ‘I love you’ out of the blue which is especially weird because Asian parents aren’t exactly known for being “affectionate.”

And I watched the video, and I realized that Not Asian people are going to watch this and think, “Poor Asian babies! Their parents don’t love them! And they are sooo cute! Why don’t Asian parents love these adorable Asian babies?!?”

But that’s not true at all! Asian parents are very loving, and in very practical ways. Like, you will never, ever go hungry because Asian parents keep very strict records about the last time you ate, even if you’re 31 years old and have your own child and haven’t lived in their house in years. Asian parents care very much about you not dying of hunger.

In fact, I once helped an Asian family as they walked through an incident with DCS. Their 6-year old girl had gone to school with bruises and the family was reported for child abuse so they had to do some parent education classes. We talked about acceptable ways to punish in the United States, and the dad said the whole thing was very confusing because he couldn’t believe that you couldn’t spank your kid but you could send them to bed without dinner (not a suggestion I gave him, but one he’d seen in American families he’d been around). An Asian parent might beat the snot out of you, but will never make you miss dinner.

So the reverse of this video would be Not Asian kids calling their Not Asian parents to let them know what they’d eaten for lunch and that they were happy and full!

But as soon as I saw the video I thought of my own family. My Asian mom was very affectionate with us as kids and we said “I love you” all of the time to each other. It wasn’t until I was an adult that she told me that my dad had to tell her to be affectionate with us. He told her that we needed to know she loved us with hugs and kisses and words. She said it wasn’t natural at first, but she is thankful that he taught/reminded her to love us in more ways than ‘just’ feeding us.

This is where mixed kids can get a raw deal. I think full Asian kids know that their parents love them because they are fed/taken care of (in the video none of the kids seem particularly offended to realize that they don’t exchange ‘I love yous’ very often), and full American kids know that their parents love them because they say it with words. But I wonder how many of us mixed kids grew up thinking that our Asian moms loved us less than our American dads simply because of the number of hugs or kisses or ‘I love yous’ we got. That because we grew up in a culture that showed parents hugging their kids at the end of every TV show, and we watched American classmates get love notes in their lunch box we started to believe that our Asian parent loved us less.

When, in reality, every time they fixed a plate for you even when you said you weren’t hungry or got mad because you wouldn’t try the fried bananas they just made they were saying with their entire heart, “I love you! Here’s your rice.”

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