My mom was always sort of a rebel. As a young woman, she thought differently than most of her friends and especially her mother, who didn’t quite know what to do with her. She was hot-headed, stubborn, and contrarian. I was a lot like her, in fact, which is why I don’t think I should ever have a bio daughter. Unfortunately, Didi seems to have inherited my (and my mother’s) personality.
This is a story that perfectly illustrates how she was as a young woman. She was in her 20s at the time, which I guess at that time in Taiwan was kind of old to not be married, and many of her friends already were. My grandmother despaired over whether my mom, being so stubborn and combative, would ever find someone to marry her. (Funnily enough, years later my dad despaired over the same thing, about me.)
My grandmother used every opportunity to throw suitors at my mother. Finally, one appeared who liked what he saw, courted her, and wanted her to marry him. She thought he was a dunderhead and wanted nothing to do with him. My grandmother, who thought that man was the answer to all her prayers, fought and argued and pleaded with my mom, but to no avail.
Finally, my grandmother decided on a plan of action. She sent a message to Dunderhead that my mother had agreed to marry him. They arranged a date and time and location, all without my mother’s knowledge. Her reasoning was, when the man showed up and everything was set, my mom would HAVE to go through with it, or risk humiliating everyone involved. Who would be so cruel?
Well. She obviously didn’t know her daughter as well as she thought.
On the day of, the man showed up in wedding attire, accompanied by his family, and loaded with gifts for my mother’s family. My mother wasn’t home, but her cousin found her and told her that her “husband” had arrived. Completely mystified, she went home to find out what my grandmother had done. They had a terrible row and my mother flatly refused to marry the man. My frantic grandmother cried, “But what am I going to tell him? He’s here and everything is set up!” to which my mother said, “Then marry him yourself!” and flounced off, leaving my grandmother to deal with the mess she created.
So… my grandmother gave him a pig. As payment for his pain and suffering. I guess that was acceptable enough compensation at that time.
The funny thing is – and I just realized this – that my mother’s Chinese zodiac sign is…a PIG!