Zhang Xiaowen, Ginling College, Nanjing, People’s Republic of China
“When I am standing in front of you, you will see both my old wounds and healing.” Every time I read these words, I tend to think of my mom, who once underwent those sufferings and miseries in her life while always carrying on without any pains. This is the portrayal of her life and she calls all her troubles, conflicts with life, as said in a casual interview.
That was a sunny afternoon; she sat beside me on the sofa, wearing a gentle smile on her face the whole time. She was just ready to start our interview which was for a piece of my assignment. I needed to learn about an honorable female around me to gain some new perspectives on females nowadays. The person I chose was my mom, whom I thought was worth speaking of. Except for this chance I would never have in-depth knowledge about her. Accepting my invitation with pleasure, she responded to each question in detail, recalling her memory of the past little by little. Everything was told in a light and peaceful way, seeming to have nothing to do with her at all. At that moment, it was just like telling stories to others, great pains and sorrows all going away, but as a listener, I could clearly feel bitterness in her words. Those so-called conflicts were not so easily skimmed over.
Mom was not fortunate enough to be born in a family capable of keeping her warm and fed, instead, she had to strive for her living all along. Maybe this could be the start of her conflicts. The family took it for granted that she should take on more work and responsibilities because of her identity that she was the older one of the two children and she was a girl. This meant that she ought to take care of her brother and always gave the priority to him. Thus, it was almost impossible for her to focus on study. Everyday after she was dismissed from school, she used to hurry back home and prepare dinner for parents after a hard day. There was nearly no more time left for her to deal with her own things and she merely adapted herself to such a life pattern without complaints, regarding them as her duty. As time passed by, she grew up, dropping out of school at the age of 16 and working in a textile mill. The tasks were usually heavy and tiring. She was forced to be strong in order to tackle the tough work, which required her to stand from early morning to late night and finish her daily workload before leaving. I once saw a photo of her during that period, in which she looked quite thin and weak. I could hardly imagine how she went through all these sound and safe, and what a determined will she had. Luckily or unluckily, she met my biological father later, with whom she fell in love and got married regardless of great disapproval from her parents. She left the former home and built a family of three people downtown. In spite of her marriage, she still continued with her career. In my childhood, I could only remember her setting out early and returning late everyday. It could be said that she spared no effort to work and support the family, and at this moment, life just had another conflict with her. I felt her regret, due to the idleness and irresponsibility of my father. After several quarrels, he finally left, taking away everything except me. I was only 6, just realizing that I had to live without a father and nothing would change, but this was totally wrong. I didn’t know that if her parents hadn’t offered her some help, what our life would have been, and if she hadn’t chosen to work and live independently, what would have been the ending. Gratefully, she found a new job and kept struggling to seek a livelihood both for herself and me. Apart from going to work with me, sometimes she made my grandparents look after me. She tried her best to raise me up and create a life for me as good as others’, giving me an equal opportunity to receive education. Although I really didn’t understand all that she had done for me, now her image became taller and clearer. It was my mother that sent me to school and picked me up no matter if it rained or snowed; it was my mother that helped me improve my study with the knowledge she learned by herself. Carefully evaluated by anyone, she was sure to be a qualified mother. She stuck to fighting her way on her own and was brave to confront the conflicts. Pain always came to her, however, she was able to recover from it with perseverance and optimism.
After conflicts, there would surely be something cheerful. In her thirties, she met my stepfather, a trustworthy and hardworking man. She viewed their marriage as a kind of blessing and cherished it with gratitude. Her life seemed to be changed and her conflicts with life were gradually relieved. She is now living a happy and quiet life without rushing about and heavy worries. According to her words, she has no other big dream or want from life but the well-being of the whole family. Only when people had witnessed different incidents, could they fully understood the true meaning of life, and she was fortunate to get the key point of it.
Thanks to those conflicts with life, she knew how to treasure happiness and fight against other troubles in her future life. During the dark years, she held up on hope alone and made every attempt to strive for a pleasant ending. What pushed her to seek for and get ultimate happiness are those torturing conflicts and sufferings. This was the right golden rule in life.
When her words finished, she still smiled. I almost had an illusion that her whole life was presented before my eyes, making my heart full of complicated emotions. Looking at her through warm lights, I suddenly felt satisfied and proud. This was my mom, the winner in her fight with conflicts.