You are not selfish. You are not a bad person. You are good.
These were some of things I’ve found myself repeating in my head as I spent my Saturday morning sneaking out of my own house for a 3-mile run around the park with the events from the night before still buzzing around my night like a fly that wouldn’t leave me alone.
My mom has a knack of making everyone around her miserable when she’s feeling miserable.
Oh I must be the Queen of everything – everyone’s feelings and motions must be under my command, you shall be happy or sad when I said, I control all money, and most importantly, my daughter cannot accept money from relatives.
Though she’ll deny it – because what kind of idiot would admit they’re an idiot – ’tis the absolute truth in the family’s eye.
So that’s why everyone shoves money into my hands behind her back.
Friday night was the night of the family Thanksgiving dinner. My aunt was discharged from hospital the day before (Thanksgiving) after spending 3 nights there following her second procedure to reconnect some vital organs which were removed in August along with the tumor. She looked much better than before but still groggy from her long afternoon nap.
Dinner was supermarket roast duck, pork belly, and hot pot while my other aunt managed to gorge down 6 blue crabs all by herself. I can now see why her cholesterol is through the roof even though she’s smaller than me.
After dinner, I continued to help my uncle to find a health insurance plan that suited for his family. I hate shopping for health insurance on the marketplace and to do it for 3 families, it’s my ultimate nightmare. For some reason, everybody decided to join around the table looking at insurance plans. Within 5 minutes, as I tried to explain the plan coverage to my uncle, everyone – mom, her brother, and sister – began to babble altogether about what “50% coinsurance after deductible” meant.
My head felt like it’s about split at any moment with my aunt’s squeal in my left ear, my uncle’s quack in my right, and mom’s just-annoying-know-it-all voice in front of me. All were clueless especially my aunt and uncle who don’t know English.
An hour later (or what it felt like an eternity), I finally got my uncle to understand what deductible and maximum out-of-pocket meant. I thought I was home free. I put on my jacket and slung my bag over my shoulder when my uncle ushered me over to browse sofas and couches online.
Within 15 minutes, an order for a couch was placed under my account. Immediately, my uncle gave me $300 even though plus tax, the couch cost $278. “I don’t have change right now, you mind I give you change later?” I asked.
“No need.” My uncle replied.
10 minutes later, walking into my house from the garage, my mom said, “You shouldn’t had accepted the money.”
“What are you talking about? He bought a couch under my card, what am I supposed to do? Gift him the couch? I’m not made of money.”
“No, you should had given him change.” Mom replied.
“Didn’t you hear me say I don’t have change right there? I don’t have any cash on hand.”
“You should had only kept $200. I don’t remember teaching you to be so greedy.”
I’m sorry, did she just call me greedy? Her words made me so angry at that moment. All I ever think about is making everyone else but me happy. The guy bought a couch for almost $300 and gave me $300. Am I supposed to give it back and say “Oh I don’t need the money. You can just keep ordering and pile on my credit card debt under my name?”
That’s madness but I knew exactly what brought it on. An hour before, she had learned one of her tenants was moving out early, which would mean no rent for probably the next few months. No rent means miserable, irritable mom which will mean torture for me.