This Is What A Laotian Four-Generation Gap Looks Like


20131228-020004.jpgFour 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:

Laotian great grandfathe and baby r.jpg

What generation are your kids?

18 thoughts on “This Is What A Laotian Four-Generation Gap Looks Like

  1. I love this!! It’s beyond precious! I wish my son could of met my mamang and papang. They would of been putty in his adorable little hands.

    • Those are cute words! I was very close to my Maey Tao and she passed in 2009. Humnoy is the first great-grandchild in our family and was born in 2011. If only, I wonder…

      Is mamang and papang pronounced phonetically? Like, ma’am-ang or “ong?”

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      • The ‘a’ takes on more of a ‘u’ sound so its more ‘puh-pung’ and ‘muh-mung’… My papang passed before I was even born but of course my mom has so many stories so it helps bring to light who he was. But my mamang passed in jan of 2011 and I didn’t conceive till oct of that year. But oh was I mamangs baby. If I was to be found anywhere as a baby it was always with her.

  2. It’s so unfortunate that Meese won’t have a closer relationship with his Yai (grandma), and may never get to know MY Yai and Tha (grandpa). He’s yet to meet my dad, and I’m sure he’ll never know my dads parents, as they never really came around to the fact that their son married an Asian woman despite their best efforts. I watched my cousin explain to her very Caucasian twin boys that they were, in fact, Thai, and they were beyond shocked! They see their Yai multiple times a week. I just hope Meese will understand and appreciate his heritage, even though he may not see very much proof of it.

    • No, I see you giving that baby Thai life lessons; Meese will be fine! That is still hard, I’m sure. Just this weekend at my mom’s, Hum understood my mom’s Lao perfectly as I do a bit of Lao-lish at home but nothing to brag about. It’s the little things that Meese will appreciate as I hope Hum will. 😁

      How often are opportunities to visit any of your family? Meese has met your mom then, right?

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  3. “she is basically frightened of anyone other than my boobs, ”

    LOVE this line – boobs do become their own entity in a family with nurslings…

      • We live with Hubby’s parents and one set of his grandparents live locally (Richmond). We see them about twice a month. The other set lives in So Cal, which is convenient, because thats where my parents and one set of my grandparents live. We see them every 2-3 months. Frequently enough for Dragon Baby to recognize them in pictures & by their voice on the phone. I have another set of grandparents in Texas she’s met once, and Hubby has a step grandma in Hong Kong she has never met.

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