Four years after his wife died, he still is living in the home where he relocated his entire family from war-torn Laos in 1979. His eldest daughter would bear a daughter as her eldest as well. This daughter would go on to have her own children. Within same home, the 81-year-old Laotian patriarch has been able to get to know the newest generation of refugee descendants and holiday visits are a time where this four-generation gap meet.
He would call her “Ee Theek Noy” (“Little Girl Theek”) because everyone knows how she looked exactly like her mother as a baby. Theek is the family’s first female grandchild and now have some -noys of her own. My grandfather is lamenting how Lanoy shares my baby traits of peach fuzz hair and many tears in new environments. While she is basically frightened of anyone other than my boobs, Lanoy has still somehow connected with Paw Tao Yai (“big/great grandpa”) just at the cutest distance.
The state of the octogenarian’s health leaves very little windows of interaction. My grandfather is mostly resting his aching body in his room once shared with the love of his life and comes out to eat his meals. When we visit, he interacts with the great-grandbabies by kissing their heads and warning them to stay away from the stairs in a cute, soft great-grandpa way. He would have to get so close to each great-grandchild as his increasingly clear-colored eyes are failing to differentiate which -noy he’s kissing. Like I said, Lanoy is not very fond of unfamiliar faces so she doesn’t immediately reciprocate Tao Yai’s affection. When she is ready though, this is what Laotians, four generations apart, look like:
What generation are your kids?