Ruth Chao and her three daughtersWith my first breath, I began my life and she became a mother. I am blessed to be her first-born. Over the years, she became the mother of five more daughters. Named Xiaolan, which means “little (Mu) Lan,” in honor of my mother, I am an extension of her, forever linked to her through shared ancestry, blood, and spirit.

As is our family tradition, the whole family returns home every Christmas from wherever we are to celebrate the holidays with our parents and siblings.  Every Christmas Eve, we gather by the glittering Christmas tree, where we joyfully reminisce and recount entertaining and poignant childhood memories.  We listen to stories from our parents’ childhoods and how they grew up in their hometowns. Our parents share their blissful times together and sorrowful times apart and they discuss the challenges and rewards of raising six children.  We are mesmerized as they relate their emotional journeys, spiritual beliefs, and greatest hopes.

To the right is Mrs. Ruth Mulan Chu Chao and three of her daughters.

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