It doesn’t matter what time of year I come home or what the weather is like outside. I can always count on my parents’ house to be a complete ice box. It was pretty miserable and cold when we arrived yesterday afternoon, but if you can believe it or not, their house was even colder than it was outside. Chris remarked a number of times how cold he was. He would wake up extra early and take a hot shower just to warm his body up. There is zero insulation on the second floor, and while there is a relatively new and well functioning HVAC system, my parents rarely use it unless it’s during the dead of winter and they are desperate. I think the “natural state” of my parents’ house temperature is likely in the 50s. The concept of 68 degrees Fahrenheit being “room temperature” is completely absurd to my dad; he thinks that’s too hot. I still remember the annoying days shortly before Ed passed away when they would battle over the heat being on. All Ed would do is turn the heat on and set it to 68 degrees. Dad would get mad and turn it off. So it was a constant on-and-off fight all day and night long. I’m sure it’s also motivated by the fact that my dad doesn’t want to pay for heat because he’s cheap, but seriously: when you get to a certain age, don’t you just want to be… COMFORTABLE IN YOUR OWN HOME?!
So my mom has proceeded to fuss over whether I am warm enough, and now, when she fusses over whether I am warm enough or wearing enough layers, it’s also about whether “we” are warm enough — the baby and me. “Don’t let my baby get cold!” my mom would caution me, as she tried to cover up my belly with my long cardigan-coat that doesn’t have a zipper or buttons in the front. When we were eating dinner last night at the dining room table and I reached over to grab a plate, she raised her voice at me and said, “Don’t reach so far! That will hurt the baby!’ When I bent down later in the evening to grab a tupperware container from a low shelf, she yelled at me and told me that bending down isn’t good for the baby. “Do what I say! I know more about pregnancy than you do!”
She also believes in the old Chinese wives’ tale that when you are pregnant, you should eat one boiled egg and warm milk every day. If you do this, you will have a nice, healthy baby who will have rosy, chubby cheeks. She has proceeded to boil a number of eggs and set them aside for me in the morning. My aunt also told me the same thing: don’t forget to eat a boiled egg and milk every day until you give birth!
My dad has, oddly enough, gotten into hard seltzer. I don’t look at my dad as the kind of person who jumps on the band wagon when it comes to trends of any kind, so this was pretty amusing to me. He also rarely drinks any alcohol of any kind. He showed me the hard seltzer he got a case of in multiple flavors and said that after dinner if I wanted, I could have one. He rummages through a cupboard, stops, then hesitates and looks up. “Actually, maybe you shouldn’t have any alcohol now. No alcohol for you. You can have milk before bed.”
While my family drives me crazy, at their core, I know they love me very much and just have different ways of showing it. These are always the funny moments that make me realize their love.