After they were married, my father was assigned to work in Beijing as demanded by the government policy of the time. My mother could not go with him and stayed in Xi'an: They had to live separately for eleven years. This situation was very normal in China during that period. My father could only take two weeks off each year to come to Xi'an and see his family. We three sisters were born one after another during those years. My mother brought us up and took care of her parents and her parents-in-law by herself.

Every year, my mother took the three of us from Xi'an to Beijing to see my father. It took us more than twenty hours by train and the four of us had just one seat. My mother always gave the seat to my elder sister and me, and stood in the aisle hugging my younger sister. Two weeks were all too short, but it was the happiest time of the whole year for my family. Every time we took pictures in front of Tian An Men Square. Our friends all admired us for taking train. When my mother could not manage all this by herself, we three sisters had to roam in our cousinís house.

 

Now, half of our family is in China, half is in the United States. My younger sister and I have left the home where my parents had so carefully brought up the family, and we live in the United States. My elder sister is still in Beijing with my parents. Each of us left our family through our own choice. No matter how far away we may be, in our hearts we will always be thinking about our family. We can make many choices in life, but we will never forsake our parents.

 

Thirty years is but a moment. These pictures are a miniature of our family covering several periods. They are full of meaning: the happiness and the harshness of being a husband, a wife, parent... I believe every family has a warm story, no matter how commonplace it may be.