Cilla Lee-Jenkins: The Epic Story by Susan Tan

Cilla Lee-Jenkins: The Epic Story by Susan Tan


Author:Susan Tan
Language: eng
Format: epub
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press



“Take care” is something my mom calls “a very Chinese” thing to say. It’s what Nai Nai and Ye Ye and their friends are ALWAYS telling us to do. Sometimes “take care, take care” means “you’re swinging too high!” or “the sidewalk is icy, don’t fall!” Or if you’re trying to walk on top of the monkey bars, it means “get down right now, Young Lady—you’re going to hurt yourself.” And when they say it when you’re taking a pan out of the oven it means “that’s hot, use a potholder,” and also maybe “let me do it.”

So even though there are lots of different ways it can be meant, it all comes down to the same idea. It means “be careful.” And even more than that, it means “I’ll take care of you.”

It seems simple.

But I’m learning that taking care is actually a really hard thing to do.

Which is strange to discover.

Ye Ye’s had SO many visitors recently. Lots of people come, and friends from Chinatown and the community center visit, and sit with him, and bring him soft foods (there’s TONS of tapioca pudding, which is excellent because I love it too, and Ye Ye is a great sharer). All around his walls are cards from friends, and his windowsill is always filled with flowers. And Auntie Stella and Uncle Gerard made friends with Ronnie and even bring him flowers, too. So their entire room is bright and beautiful.

Seeing all these things makes me happy. I’m glad Ye Ye has his friends, and that they can make him smile, and it’s great to see them and say hello.

But I also know that they can all speak to him in Chinese, and I can’t.

So really, they’re better at taking care of him than I am.

Ms. Paradise and Ms. Moody, and Mom and Dad, and my Nai Nai, Grandma, and Grandpa all keep saying things like “Do you want to talk about anything? Is there anything I can do to help?”

But the answer is “no,” because unless they have a magical orb that teaches you English when you touch it I don’t think there’s anything anyone can do.

Ye Ye hasn’t been upset since I saw him that day. He’s making progress, the doctors say. And lots of days, after school, I go to visit him. Some days I try to teach him vocabulary, and do charades, which he thinks are funny. But they haven’t worked quite yet. Plus it can be hard because we get interrupted a lot, by things like doctors and nurses and physical therapy and speech therapy.

But we’ve had fun times too. One day, I brought my tuba to the hospital to show him my progress. Gwen danced around and sang the Batman song, waving him in the air while I played. (I was playing the “Macarena,” not the Batman song, but she made it work.) And Ye Ye waved his arms around and danced, which made Essie laugh and giggle and drool on his sweater.

This weekend, I wasn’t planning on going to the hospital.


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