My Singer Model and Actress of a Mother

I used to be a fish when I was little. I’d swim and swim and swim until it got dark and cold outside. So cold that I stayed in the pool and my mom would stand by the sliding glass door from inside and ask, “Ready?” and as I floated in the water, I’d nod to let her know I was ready. Then, she’d open the sliding door and I’d run into the house, up a flight of stairs and into the bathroom where a tub was filled with warm water for me. I only had to deal with 20 seconds of being cold if I ran quick enough through the house.

That is one of my favorite memories of my mom and perhaps one of the best stories of how she always cared for me – even when I was a brat. Even when I’m still a brat at 29. No one has loved me more unconditionally than my own mother.

If I really think about it, I’m a mommy’s girl. It sort of also bleeds into being a daddy’s girl when your mom has your dad wrapped around her finger. Mom will convince dad to give, buy and do anything for me. And it’s not like my dad doesn’t want to, in fact, I’m doubly spoiled by my dad as well, but it’s an even better idea when it comes from mom (or, it just so happens to be just a little more instant when mother insists).

When I was home my mom showed me a journal she wrote in when she was pregnant with me. I am the first born, oldest of two so my mom was really excited about the whole pregnancy thing, I guess. She continued to write in it when I was a baby and up to a few years old too.

She wrote about the time I had Jaundice and had to stay in the hospital after being born that she cried because she just wanted me home. And about the night that I just wouldn’t stop crying which then made her cry because she wasn’t sure what was wrong with me. She mentioned the characteristics I had of crying every time someone told me “no.” (It still happens).

This is my mom smokin’ hot when she was in her early 20s. She had won a singing contest as a teenager which then landed her a record deal in Taiwan which lead her to travel all over Asia with her mother during the years of being on soap operas, television game shows, stage performances and modeling gigs. After her mom passed in her 40s, my mom was heartbroken and in her mid-20s decided to attend an arts college in San Francisco where she then met my dad. She married at 28, and 2 years later, her favorite thing appeared (yes, I’m talking about me).

When I was little I used to sing nursery rhymes in Mandarin. I spoke a little Cantonese too, because mom spoke English, Cantonese, Mandarin and Japanese. For fun, she make up math problems for me so I could solve them because I loved math that much.

When I was little I couldn’t say my name. Diana was just too hard apparently. So, I’d call myself “Nana” And I’d talk about myself in the third person at times. At home and in public places, my mom still calls me Nana. She says when I’m 70 she’ll still call me Nana. I don’t mind, in fact, it’s almost something I’m used to until new friends come over wondering why my mom calls me that.

When dad battled cancer she never left his side.  She slept for days on the cushions in the hospital and my brother had to convince her to go home and shower and just rest and sleep.  She would awake in the middle of the night every time a nurse came in to give my dad medication, would write down what it was and check with the next nurse to avoid any sort of accidental medicine dosages would prevent my dad from recovering.  She’s loyal and cautious like that.

If you ever come over, my mom will give you hugs, feed you even when you swear you are full, and she’ll tune out and chime in halfway through a conversation which will make everyone stop and wonder where she went. She makes funny gasping sounds when she messes up, says “ah-yah!” and when she sleeps and you want to crawl into bed to hug her she’s like a toaster oven, she has that much body heat. I feel like I just listed myself off in this paragraph. I am just like my mother. I even look down at my wrists, fingers and I feel like I’m staring at my mom.

She currently serves at church and loves to help people. She LOVES people. All sorts – and she’s always been like that. Giving things away, taking things off herself to give to someone who needs it more, loves knowing all the answers to be helpful, loves to teach and share her talents (used to have a singing group and growing up it was the most awful thing having amateur singers at the house).

I hope you all had a wonderful mother’s day with your mom’s and if you weren’t able to for whatever reason, I hope that you hold onto all the wonderful memories you had with your mom and know that so much of who you are is because of her.

Love you, mom. You’re my best friend. Love, Nana.

Mom’s passport photo / When I was on Fiesta Bowl Princess, this was New Years 2002

Diana Elizabeth swears the older she gets, the more sensitive she has become. She sort of doesn’t like this, whole, emotional thing. She’s afraid one day she’ll cry every day because she’s too sensitive. Can that happen?

Diana Elizabeth is an author, photographer, and obsessive antique shopper. You can typically find her in her garden wrist deep in dirt, at a local estate sale or planning her next epic party.

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