|Xing Rui (R) hugs with her daughter at the Tianjin Binhai International Airport before going to Wuhan City, Central China's Hubei Province, on January 26, 2020. [Xinhua/Ma Ping]|
TIANJIN, Aug. 3 (Xinhua) — Surrounded by pink balloons and friends, Song Yunhan cut her birthday cake with swan-shaped cream decorations, and made a wish on her eighth birthday party on July 27.
Instead of fancy Barbie dolls or ice cream, the little girl only wanted a big hug from her mother Xing Rui, 34, a nurse from north China's Tianjin Municipality, who was dispatched to the city of Wuhan, once hard hit by COVID-19.
"Since I came back from Wuhan, my daughter has never asked for gifts like toys or candies, but has always wanted a hug," Xing said.
At the beginning of this year, when Song's school was just out for the winter holiday, the little girl encountered a Chinese word "Wei Nan" in her homework that she did not understand. Xing pointed at the news about COVID-19 on television and explained; "It means danger and disaster. It can be used to describe the situation in Wuhan."
Xing applied to go to Wuhan just a few days later. It was the first time that she was absent from her daughter's winter vacation.
"Mommy, you told me that when I finished drinking a box of milk, you would come back home. I have finished a few boxes for quite a long time now, so why aren't you home yet? I miss you so much," wrote Song in a letter to her mother.
"I was touched and so happy when I saw the letter. My daughter called out "mom" three times before going to bed every night. She hoped to see me at home when she opened her eyes in the morning," Xing said.
But Xing also knew that her daughter was acting bravely. "She understood what I was doing in Wuhan," she said. "As a parent, I must set a good example."
On March 31, Xing came back to Tianjin and finished a 14-day quarantine period. When Xing came back home, her daughter ran to her and gave her a big hug, which the little girl believed was the best gift for her mother.
"We had never been apart for such a long time, and I could feel my daughter's sense of insecurity. I really cherished the time with my daughter during the summer vacation. For kids, a parents' company is one of the most important aspects of their growth," Xing said.
During this summer vacation, many medics chose to spend more time with their children to make up for their absence during the winter holiday.
My Mom Is a Hero
Since Tianjin waives entrance fees to major scenic spots for medics who went to fight COVID-19 on the frontlines, Lu Jia often takes her 6-year-old daughter to museums during the summer holiday.
Lu's daughter always says to the staff at the scenic spots with pride: "My mom is a hero!"
Lu, 35, a doctor at the nosocomial infection management department at the Tianjin Medical University Cancer Institute & Hospital, was among the same batch of medics with Xing.
"My daughter was a source of power to me, and supported me in bravely battling COVID-19. Every time she sang songs for me on video calls, my heart was filled with mixed feelings," Lu said.
When Lu came home, she was pleased to find that her daughter had become taller with a longer hair, and even lost a tooth.
During this summer vacation, Lu's family spent happy times together and tried many new activities. They went camping, visited a zoo, played rope skipping, and did scientific experiments at home.
"In Wuhan, I saw separation and death. I really value the time with my family," Lu said.
A Caring Daughter
For 19-year-old Shi Huihua, the epidemic has taught her to take more responsibility and do chores for her mother, Chen Guijun, 55, a doctor with the infectious diseases department in a hospital located in the Jizhou District in Tianjin.
Shi has sharpened her cooking skills and cooked different dishes for her mother every day this summer.
"I'm happy to have these delicious dishes, but I felt sorry on the other hand," Chen said. "I have no time to take care of her and, instead, she takes good care of me."
Shi gave her mother much support. "My mother might sometimes cry on video calls, and I would comfort and encourage her. Love and dedication should be mutual. I have grown up now, she can rely on me."
In Shi's eyes, her mother is a superwoman who protected people's lives. As a medical student at Tianjin Medical University, Shi was taught an unforgettable lesson amid the epidemic, and now better understands why her mother devoted herself to her beloved career.
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