Me? Sweet me? And you thought I was all sweetness and light. Me, too. I think the art of being a parent is to be tough when you need to but with unconditional love. And I think it is good to admit when you mess up or overreact, which allows them to admit their failings.
But that is not the point of this post.
With Michael in China this election season, I was pretty insistent that he vote absentee. Getting the ballot was not hard – it came by email – but getting it back to the La Crosse City Clerk was challenging.
Perhaps I had nagged one too many times, although I don’t know how to nag in Chinese. I suspect nagging mother is a universal language of its own, but I digress once again.
On the day I met with the oncologist and got such, shall we say, very not good news, Michael said he was going to get that ballot shipped via DHL.I T would cost about $40 so he had waited for some money to come in.
But did I mean to have my son risk life and limb to vote for Democracy in a Communist country? Let me think that over.
At 11:24 p.m. our time, he wrote: “Sending my absentee ballot. It’s turning out to be the most hectic and Chinese experience. I’m in the outskirts of Shenzhen and someone who knows only ten words of English is helping me assemble the envelope outside next to a flower shop while overloaded auto-rickshaws whiz by.”
Them at 11:40 p.m, he wrote: “It only got crazier – he suddenly disappeared for several inutes mid sentence, came back with a soda for me, then afterward gave me a ride to the metro on his motorbike – no helmet or fastening and at top speed with plenty of turns.”
And then a minute later, he wrote: “The kindness and the bewildering nature of it all.”
A friend had made that arrangement, which allowed Michael to pay half price to get that ballot to America.
At 11:42 p.m., he added, “I’m still in shock. … I could get used to it but it’s terrifying.”
Friday he told me his Chinese translation app made that all possible:
“Another detail – when facing a communication barrier, it was easiest for him to message me in Chinese so I could look up the words …And I successfully asked him how he was doing in a more colloquial way.”
Now, I was never allowed on a motorcycle – my parents thought they were too dangerous. Had I known that Michael was going to go on such a ride, I would have been terrified.
But I wonder if the terror of telling me he had not actually gotten that ballot back to the US was too frightening a thought. I’ve still got it as a scary mom. But what an experience he had.
I’m not asking you to have a terrifying ride to the polls. I’m not playing the cancer card to make sure you vote. Or am I? You can vote for whomever you’d like (but not Trump).
Don’t make me pull the cancer card. I have a deck full right now. Ask my kids if you want to face my wrath.
Thanks, Michael. So glad I didn’t know about this ahead of time.