In honor of Mother’s Day this weekend, I had a long conversation with my own wonderful mother about her own life, what I was like as a child, and her hope’s for the next generation of women in our family–my own daughter Maya.
And even though the day is coming up this weekend and shipping deadlines have passed, I’m also sharing some of my favorite Mother’s Day gift ideas that are always in style to make mom smile all year long! –Kathy Kuo
My mother and I–now (top) and then (above)
My Mother’s Day Faves
Were there any similarities between me and you as a child?
We were both sweet, polite, and shy with new people, and always fond of adults and being around adults.
Did you have a best friend when you were a kid? What were they like?
My childhood memories of “being a kid” was my life before I was 12. My parents were small business owners–they made matches. Yes matches! The little sticks that you light candles (and other things in those days). We lived above the match factory, and I remember my childhood being primarily filled with helping my parents at the factory, and taking care of my five brothers and sisters while my parents were at work.
All my siblings were my best friends and I’m fortunate enough to say that they all still are! After I started high school, school got really competitive, and the days were long.
After high school, I had two very close friends. We spent so much time together and in those days, we had many odd jobs so that we could save up train money to be able to leave our home city. I loved those adventures we would go on. I still can’t believe my mother let me go on a train outside of Taipei when I was in high school!
What are your favorite memories of me as a child?
When you were a kid, you were always very sweet, and beautiful. I loved dressing you up, brushing your hair, and taking your brother on long car trips when your father had time off.
Every time when we would travel, “Daddy” would carry a hand truck and load it with his heavy video camera. We had so much fun traveling throughout the US and am so grateful we have footage to document. Does anyone know where I can go to have VHS tapes digitized?
My mom with my daughter, Maya (top); with my family–I’m in the left in the pink shirt (above)
My Mother’s Day Faves
What was it like raising kids while traveling so frequently?
We’re lucky that we didn’t have to move countries every few years like your dad’s friends. Moving from small island countries in Europe, Asia, and Africa is so hard on schooling. We moved only three countries–haha–so, I don’t know. I think it was easy?
What were you like as a kid?
My mom (your grandmother) says I was a very clean and neat kid, always had my uniform pressed neatly, while all my other sisters were always wrinkled. I was very polite to adults, and quite disciplined. I was also the eldest of the five, so I got a lot of attention. I guess you could say I was fairly type-A, haha.
When were you most proud of me?
When you became a mother! Watching you juggle your career and business while raising a family has been extraordinary to see, since I’m not sure how you even have time to put on makeup and take a shower.
I know that there is no way I could have done what you are doing now. You work so hard at raising your family, while building your business and it seems that both are not failing. haha
What accomplishment are you proudest of?
Looking back the past 75 years, I don’t think there are any major life decisions that I would change. The majority of my adult life has been working toward assimilating myself into America. Today I can say that America is my adopted country now and I’m so happy that I genuinely feel that way.
While this may seem easy for most, it was very hard for me. I had to learn a new language, pivot my career, and raise a family at the same time. Your father was very very busy and as a Diplomat he got to work at the Taiwanese consulate, speaking Mandarin, and eating Chinese food haha, while I had to learn how to work in an American workforce and speak English and adopt American cultural norms.
Making funny faces with my mom and my daughter (top); with my mother by the water (above)
My Mother’s Day Faves
What were your biggest fears about having children?
Having children is a huge responsibility–once parents decide that they want to bring children into the world, it is their duty to protect, educate, and guide them through the years till they are independent. My moral compass has always outlined that as long as I live and act the righteous way, then my kids will see this and follow suit.
What are some lessons from your own mother?
It is hard to have both family and career success, and there is no such thing as perfect balance. Balance is just a mind set! Re-shift your mind set and you can have balance!
What do you hope for Maya’s future?
Maya is so outgoing, curious and bright. She is also so physically strong! My hope is that she continues to have the same amount of levity and joy, and that she grows up to be a loving, compassionate, and resilient girl.
What surprised you most about me as an adult?
That you pursued your core passion which is design from a little girl, and ultimately stayed the course through college, your different jobs, and now your business. You were crystal clear about what you wanted. Most of my friends have had jobs completely unrelated to what they learned in school, or have had multiple career changes.
You just kept building on the same core passion…completely unwavering which was not how I was at all! I have had three huge career changes!
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