Stitches: Excerpt from a Memoir

My mother-in-law, Wang Wei, has a key to our flat. She moved to Beijing when I was very pregnant with Echo, our daughter, but she didn’t move in with us as most Chinese mothers-in-law do. Instead, she rented a flat in the same compound, just a building over, because, she said, living with us would be bu fangbian (inconvenient). The unspoken reason was our cultural differences, but I didn’t care about the why; I just exhaled, gratefully.


That didn’t stop her from entering our flat first thing in the morning and not leaving until after dinner every day. You see, in Chinese culture, a child’s home must be fully accessible to his or her parents. But for twelve hours a day? There were no boundaries.

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