In my decadent youth a date meant caviar and champagne, flowers and the whole works.
When I asked Yin out, the first meal we had was a lavish one.
But of course.
Prior to our second date, she said “I’m quite happy with hawker food.”
From that moment on, I knew immediately that this woman would make a good wife.
Was I wrong?
We’ve been married for 28 years now and like every couple, we’ve had our ups and downs.
Yin and I couldn’t have been more different.
She is petite while I am big and tall.
I’m casual with money, she’s prudent financially, what with her father being a bookkeeper and all.
She is rather reticent to demonstrate her physical affection while I’m all bear hugs and kisses.
Not surprisingly often I find her cold and distant.
But for a woman whose parents have never hugged her or demonstrate physical intimacy she has come a long way.
Don’t get me wrong, my in-laws are upright, decent, hardworking folks but they are typical Chinese parents and very conservative.
I come from a more demonstrative, loud, and somewhat boisterous, animated and rowdy camp.
What to do? We are Hokkiens, southerners, of peasant stock.
Yin has been a silent pillar of strength behind me all these years.
I go crazy with my pipes, single malts, cigars, cameras and all kinds of men’s toys but Yin’s only indulgence seems to be her guitar, her peanuts – her favorite snack – and Korean soap operas.
Whatever spare time she has, she spends on her knees praying for us.
Being a godly Christian woman, she believes in the goodness of others and she hasn’t a scintilla of jealousy or possessiveness in her.
Sometimes I wish she’s not so blasé.
Yin wakes up early in the morning then goes to the market to buy fresh food. She comes home to prepare lunch for our two boys – not hastily prepared meals, mind you, but usually, complete, nutritionally-balanced, wholesome meals which she then cling wraps and labels. Because both boys’ taste buds are not similar – very often she actually prepares two separate meals and labels them with each boy’s names.
Then she goes off to her surgery to start her professional work.
She does that every weeknight, including the two weeknights a week when she has to drive back to do night surgery.
Yin has night clinics on Monday and Thursday evenings but on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday evenings when our youngest boy has classes, she makes sure that he gets there on time and she tries her utmost to pick him up from school when he’s done.
On weekends she makes every effort to do some cooking herself and invites our married daughter, and our son-in-law and our grandson home to dine. In addition to that, Yin has housework and laundry to do. (We do not have a live-in domestic helper.) She also ensures that the fridge is always stocked with fresh fruits and that there are enough healthy snacks at home and that there’s enough ice for drinks, etc.
I often wonder where she gets her energy from and my ex-MBA student and good friend Kiki tells me that Yin “is fueled by the love for her sons.”
I believe Kiki is right because I as the husband often feel very neglected and even resentful at times. I often accuse her of spoiling our boys. “One is 19 and one is 17 – they know how to prepare their own meals and they jolly well know how to phone for a pizza worse comes to the worst,” I’d say. Yin tells me she really doesn’t mind doing all that for our boys day in and day out because she really enjoys taking care of them; besides, time flies and before you know it, our boys will soon become grown men and there won’t be many more opportunities to do stuff for them.
My children are lucky to have Yin for a mother and I am thankful Yin is wired this way.
We are so blessed.