A Story of Leftovers

Once there was a traditional family of five: Two parents and their three children. The father worked while the mother stayed home to look after the family. Every time the husband came home from work, he would say to his wife, “You’re so lucky. You get to stay home and do nothing. My work gives me headaches every day!”

Being a virtuous woman, the wife listened to his complaints without a word. When the children came home from school, they would demand food or whine that they needed a break from all the hard work at school. They even blamed their mother for not appreciating the difficulty of schoolwork, since she stayed home all day doing nothing.

One holiday, the mother told the rest of her family that she had to take the day off to visit her sister. She asked that her husband and children look after their own meals and all the housework. The husband was an expert at management, so he organized the children to work with him. He would do all the cooking, assisted by the seventeen-year-old daughter, who would be responsible for cutting the vegetables and setting the table. The only son would water the garden and sweep the patio, while the youngest daughter, who was thirteen, would dust the furniture and sweep the floors.

When the day was over, the father and the three children were all tired and irritable, each of them complaining that doing housework was too much work. At that point, they realized that the work the four of them had done was all completed by the mother alone. They realized that it was wrong of them to accuse their mother of having nothing to do at home. From then on, the whole family appreciated that it was not easy to take care of the house!

Time passed, and the mother was about to celebrate her sixtieth birthday. The children wanted to thank their mother for all the work she had done for the family. They sat down and discussed what would be the best gift. Over the years, they had tried to buy her clothes, but she always declined the gift. Someone suggested maybe they should treat her to a traditional banquet dinner, but then she never liked to eat that much food. After much discussion, the son said, “Mom enjoys leftovers best! On her birthday, we should bring her leftovers to eat.”

On her sixtieth birthday, her husband and children smiled happily and said, “You always tell us you like leftovers; therefore, we brought you leftovers for your birthday celebration.” Tearfully, the mother replied, “Yes, for these many years, I have loved leftovers!”

The twists and turns of the story illustrate the life of a housewife and mother. It also shows us how compassionate and wonderful a woman can be. The most powerful show of love in the world is understanding and appreciation of the hardships of others. While it may not be easy for us to witness such virtues in society, there should always be understanding and appreciation within a family!