A-Ma is trying to get me to meditate. She found the sweet spot for energy in the house, smack in the middle of the kitchen. She instructed me to perch there, on the edge of a dining chair, and focus all of my energy on one finger. And when that finger gets warmer, apparently I’m on to something. You cannot know how routine such a discussion is here at the Lee’s. Bernie and I have always shied away from his parent’s insistence that we practice meditation. Maybe it’s a great and good thing… but I’ve got legos to assemble and laundry to sort.

Partly because I’m amused and partly to understand this (nonsense) better, I asked A-Ma what is the difference between meditation and prayer. This was ill advised. After 25 minutes on the history of biofeedback and its relationship to XiGong, the answer was simple: “if you feel the warm connection from God, then you don’t need all of this.” I realized then that A-Ma and A-Gong are worried about our connection to Him, and think it’s their duty to make certain, especially now, that it is established.

I became an Asian child when I married into this great family. I get unconditional love, unchecked and unending financial support, endless babysitting services, fantastic food, disgusting food, and lots and lots and lots of unsolicited advice. The latter comes in the form of many “You need to…” statements that have me at times giggling behind my chopsticks, and other times praying for patience. In this family, I will always be the child deferring to my elders. It would be so easy to throw down the cancer card, remind them I have multiple degrees in science, or drink heavily. But instead, Bernie and I retreat to our bedroom at night and have giggle fits… and then admit that, yes, some of that batshit crazy stuff is true.

My wonderful in-laws have helped me raise little boys who will eat almost anything (early introduction of fried rice), sleep peacefully (energy beads), and know God (without an advanced degree in meditation). There are so many things I have done correctly because of them. However, right now the “you should…” statements are more irritating than giggle-worthy. I don’t need to do anything right now except pray and protect my boys—Bernie included. But it’s the Asian parent way… to “you should” the child onto the right path. But they can’t discipline me out of this diagnosis. And I don’t need the magical portal amongst the appliances to connect to God. I have all of you.

At a very low point today, I got a text from Al… how could he know I was about to pull over to the side of the road and lose my mind? And Nancy sent me a message that nothing I could do or say could “jinx” anything (a big fear of mine). When I get too exhausted to pray, I know Bob is offering up a song for me, and David a rephuah schlema (google it), or this from Drew: “We will love you most on January 17th. Until January 18th, when we will love you more.” Your prayers feel like extra credit assignments I get to turn in as my own. And I want A-Ma and A-Gong to understand that we’ve got this covered. But I might have to sit in the kitchen pretending my finger’s getting really hot to convince them.


My beautiful mother in law, A-Ma!

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