I mentioned in my last post that the shed my parents were assigned to live in Siping was not a good place to raise children. Therefore, my mom went back to Beijing to give birth to her first child – my sister, who is also the first child in my generation. Needless to say, the newly-promoted grandparents and uncles and aunt were all very excited and poured out their love and attention on her. My sister stayed there in comfort until she was 9 years old.
My mom intended to do the same when I was on the way. However, my grandparents on my father’s side protested and they had every reason to. They hadn’t even got a chance to see their first grandchild yet, so the second one definitely had to be born in their sight in Changchun.
When I was about 40 days old, I made the first trip of my life – my mother brought me to Beijing to see my other grandparents (or rather, to let them see me). After some 20 hours on the train, I met them at last, as well as my almost-3-year-old sister.
I don’t have any recollection of that trip or my time in Beijing. My mom told me stories of how naughty my sister was then. When she came home after playing outside, my mom would tell her to be quiet because ‘your little sister is sleeping’. My sister would nod her head obediently. But the moment my mother turned her back, she would stomp her feet and make lots of noises. I would wake up and cry my head off while my sister ran away giggling. And my mom had to decide whether to comfort me or to chase my sister to give her a good slap on the butt.
After a few months, my mom had to go back to work in Siping. She wanted to leave me in Beijing as well, but it was not practical. My grandma was in rather poor health, and she was already taking care of two kids (see “who is this aunt that is younger than me?”). Besides, my other grandparents would be very upset as well. All things considered, my mom had to bring me back to the Northeast, where the living conditions were much more challenging in many ways.
As a result, while my sister grew up blissfully in Beijing, I had to go through quite some hardship during my childhood. I will write in more details in later posts, after sharing this photo of me from my very first trip. 🙂