My Other Mother
The Walrus|September/October 2020
My Other Mother
My nanny helped raise me. Now it’s time for me to get to know her children

WHAT DID YOU know about me when you were young?” I asked Angel. The question had been on my mind for years.

“That she took care of you day and night,” Angel replied.

I smiled awkwardly, not quite sure what to say. Growing up in Hong Kong, I’d had all the love and attention from Angel’s mother, my former live-in nanny, that a child could expect, whereas Angel saw her mother for only three weeks a year, when her mother would fly home to the Philippines.

I’d thought that, after my nanny retired, she would finally get to parent her own children. But, when I visited Auntie Zeny’s house, last December, I was surprised to see that her living room was plastered with relics from my childhood, including a foam Mufasa with its head half severed and a stained Santa Claus refrigerator magnet that used to hang on our fridge door.


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September/October 2020