I suppose it’s not a spoiler to say that the book leaves off where the rest of our lives begin. Yes, we go to America. At one point, we decide to go back to China. More on that much, much later. But you have to know WHY we went back and this picture is part of it.
This is William’s childhood home. Yes, when he lived in it, all the walls were there and it wasn’t falling apart, but every Chinese New Year visit during those early years when our kids were young, this is what Baba’s childhood home looked like.
We needed the kids to see this, to feel this. They needed to understand that this is what their father came from. He was still happy, still hard-working, and still responsible. But he knew what it was like to be hungry, to go without, and for things to not be fair. These kinds of experiences are all about the BITTER and the SWEET and recognizing that we need both, that each of these categories serves a purpose in our lives.
The kids know what bitter soup is. Granted, it’s not a regular part of their lives, but there is time to reflect on it, and in those days, it was during our annual Chinese New Year trip home to Baba’s Lao Jia.