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What It Means To Have Asian Parents

January 14, 2010

When I was little, I use to write classifieds for my family in my journal when I was especially mad. My little business woman coming out in me at a young age. Most kids want to run away. Why run away when I could make some money out of the deal and maybe keep the house? There might be some dumb schmuck kid out there who thought they having parents (even parents like mine) were better than no parents at all. Or who thought their parents were the worst. Little did they know… So I would write little short stuff to send in to the papers (even though I never did get around to doing it). Like “For sale: One Mom. Cooks awesome fried rice and spring rolls. Is gone at all most of the day and comes home only at night so you can play. Has no restrictions on Saturday cartoon watching.” So on and so forth. You think I am kidding. I am really not. My mother went on sale more often than my dad for whatever reason. This wedding is making me remember all the reasons I wanted to sell my parents. However, we are emotionally attached now. Rats! They did pay for my college. I guess they are endearing in their own little way. Here is what it means to have Asian parents while planning an American wedding.

My parents always make me eat my words

 First, with my no plus one guest list.

Dad: So, do we have extra spaces at this American wedding?

Me: Well, we always account for extra people, Dad.

Dad: Oh okay good. Your great-grand uncle invited the friends he was staying with to your wedding.

Me: I beg your pardon?

Dad: He. Invited. His –

Me: I got that part. Why? They are not going to know anyone.

Dad: Well, your grand-uncle, your grand aunt, your aunt Carol, your uncle Adrian. There is 4 people there they can talk to.

Me: Dad. This is not a dinner party. There is no flipping polite conversation to be made. It’s a wedding.

Dad: I know. They probably won’t come. But your grand-uncle wanted me to issue them an official invitation.

There is no asking why. Really. Don’t try and understand. I am just going to have to practice my best “Hi, welcome to my wedding. I am so glad you have come to see my husband and I pledge ourselves to each other even though you have no idea who I am, who my husband is, who my parents are, or who his family is. But whelp, since you are here, what did you think of the crab cakes?”

I am going to just assume my grand-uncle does not have horrible manners and chalk it up to Asian really liking large weddings. With karoake.  And red polyester tablecloths. I should just be thankful he just invited two extras (that I don’t know) and escaped the other two. Joy.

They buy you your favors because they are Asian: Them and The Favors

Wanna see my favors? Well, my mother has decided on my favors for me. And bought them already. I am giving chopsticks!

It’s suppose to symbolize two working together in unity to make a good marriage. I think. I lied. I made that up. Let’s see what Google tells us. After some intense searching, I found:

. . .chopsticks are also a popular choice for wedding favors. You may wonder why chopsticks are so popular. Chopsticks come in a pair. As a result a pair of chopstick bears the meaning of being together. And this is just like a blessing to the couple!

Okay, not entirely their fault. They did ask me about them but they were excited about the chopsticks and the silk pocket they came in that I had not the heart to say no. With Asian parents, you pick and choose your battles. If I had said that the wedding had nothing remotely asian about it, that would have ensued another battle. If I had said it was not what I had envisioned as the wedding favor, they then would have shot down every favor I brought up after. And seeing as the chopsticks (imported from Malaysia) are RM (ringgit = Malayia dollars) two which equals to approximately $0.50. Each. I would be hard pressed to find cheaper (and in my parent’s eyes therefore means better) favors. Bother.

They Have Double Standards

I bought 20 inch sparklers now I want something to put them in. I sent out a mass email to some of my girls to ask if anyone of them have something that can hold twenty inch sparklers that looks awesome so I don’t have to buy anything. Mom sends me a picture of a tin bucket. With dangly Christmas charms. It use to hold a poinsetta. “What about this?” she asks via text message. I don’t think so. I cannot say no or I was going to get one of them guilt trips. So I hedge.

“Maybe. I am still waiting on the other girls. Maybe others have something more appropriate”.

“It’s just going to hold sparklers. So cares what it looks like?”

This coming from the woman who retied all the knots on our DIY invitations because they were “not pretty enough”. Someone shoot me.


I love my parents. I really do. They just sometimes (okay, most of the time) drive me up the wall. The worst part of all, is that everyone of your friends think your parents are cute. That your dad is funny and your mom is the best cook they have ever met. So they think you are crazy/ exaggerating/ ungrateful when you bitch (which is probably true on all counts but still). On the plus side, dad really can never tell you “no” (not for long anyway) and mom really is the best cook in the world.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. January 14, 2010 10:41 am

    HA! Thanks for obliging.

    I think our parents sound different*, though my grandmother is very traditional and I am trying to keep from her that the wedding is um, rustic, and not in a hotel.

    *My mother is a terrible cook.

    I am putting my foot down about guests though and my grandmother is like why can’t you invite X family [second cousins]. In her words, “It’s only an extra 30 people.” I was like grandmother, I swear, I am going to disinvite you if this keeps going. My other idea is to threaten them with my fiancee and chalk everything up to his “Caucasian traditions.” Unsurprisingly, he is not amused my this idea.

  2. January 14, 2010 8:15 pm

    This post made me laugh because I could TOTALLY relate.

    Last night my Mom sends me a text message: “I am about to reserve the best ballroom in the hotel. It’s the one with a view of the lake. Please confirm if this is okay with you.”

    My response: “Does it have to be the “best” one, Ma? maybe the smaller ones will be a bit cheaper? We only have 100 guests…”

    Mom: “I’ll take that as a “yes”.

    Huh? I guess Mom wasn’t really asking me for my opinion…

  3. January 14, 2010 11:44 pm

    Oh mothers. I can’t imagine I’ll be any different in 20 odd years!

    • Jesselyn permalink*
      January 15, 2010 12:15 am

      Oh the horror. Don’t jinx me.

  4. January 15, 2010 3:17 am

    hahaha… this is SO right on!!!

  5. January 21, 2010 3:12 pm

    Omg…this post was freaking hilarious! I purposely decided to do a destination wedding so no “extra’s” would be invited! Fortunately my mom has been pretty hands off.

    I love the chopstick favors btw!

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