Hey grandpa, grandma. Here are the words I wish I could say more eloquently in Cantonese. I only know how to do this in English, but I hope you can feel my appreciation in our day to days.
To my lovely grandparents,
I like to think that I’m a pretty lucky person; I have the privilege to go to school, I don’t have to worry about food or living, and I’m surrounded by amazing friends and family. Most of all, I was blessed with who I see as the most loving and generous grandparents on this planet. Grandparents are, for many people, the famed storytellers, the go-to snack providers, the peculiar gift givers, and the supporters on the sidelines. To me, you are all of that and so much more.
Thank you for the little things you do that often go unnoticed. As a child, I never understood why you always had a stash of fruit washed and ready to go at the start of each day. Why did you rush to the grocery store so often? How many snacks did you get this time? Thank you for showing up by my desk with a plate of cut up fruit when I didn’t even know I needed it. Only now in university, living by myself, do I realize that such a small action could mean so much.
Thank you for taking me to school everyday. I wish I knew earlier that you woke up hours before I did to help me get ready, to cook breakfast, and to drive me to school, or walk me to my bus stop. I will forever be grateful to you for making it so easy for me to get an education, for encouraging and sharing my excitement to see my friends and teachers, and for supporting my ambitions regardless of what they are.
Thank you for always being my #1 fans. Back when school was (much, much) easier and I thought I was a child genius, I would come home with straight As. You always celebrated with me. Grandpa, you never were very good at hiding your smile, tough guy. I see you clapping in the corner. Grandma, you love, and still love, to stuff my face as a celebratory ritual. When school started getting harder, I would come home, now with not as impressive grades and a look of disappointment. Both of you are still unconditionally supportive; this time around, Grandpa, you’d quietly bring me food while I moped and Grandma comforted me.
Thank you for coming to all of my school and extracurricular events. No matter how poorly I played at a piano recital, or how many times I stuttered at a Chinese competition, you would always clap for me. Grandpa, even if it became tough to walk around with a cane in hand, you would attend all of my cadet practices and parades. And you, Grandma, I know it’s hard for you to get around now but I know I’ll always come home to you asking for pictures and videos, smiling proudly despite not knowing exactly what’s going on.
Thank you for teaching me about our traditions and making me proud of our culture. Without learning from you guys, I would’ve never known that Chinese New Year was more than just red pockets and dressing up; you taught me to value that families come together to celebrate unity, and wish each other joy and prosperity for the upcoming year. I used to, and sometimes still do, struggle to find my place as a Chinese-Canadian, but you have taught me to embrace and love that part of my identity. You continue to teach me things about our language, beliefs, and customs everyday.
Thank you for being, arguably, the biggest inspirations in my life. I can’t imagine uprooting my life to move to a foreign country in hopes of starting a new, better, life for future generations. You have both been through so much, probably more than I know, and I am grateful to you everyday. Whenever I feel down in the dumps about school, I remember that you two have always told me to prioritize my education and to appreciate this opportunity, and somehow, I feel motivated again.
Thank you for literally being a second set of parents; for being consistent pillars of support, for bathing me as a child, for cooking for our family, and for so, so, much more. There are so many more things that I know you do for me and the rest of our family, and there’s probably even more things that I don’t know about. The two of you are a huge part of the reason why I get to live so freely, and I thank you for believing in me, teaching me how to be kind, and giving more to me than I will ever be able to give back.
P.S. Thanks for giving me dad too, he’s pretty cool.