The year’s Spring Festival marked the first one Li Liping spent with her mother in almost two decades.
According to Xinhua, the 18-year-old from Sichuan Province could hardly remember anything about her mother and had nothing more to go on than a few blurry images at best.
“Parental relationships are crucial for a child’s mental and social development. Love and care can prevent children from experiencing feelings of abandonment and neglect,” said Zhao Hong, who works for the Women's Federation in Li’s hometown.
After Li signed up for the “Left-over Children Reunion with Parents” program sponsored by Xinhua, she found herself fortunate enough to meet her mother.
At first, Li was hesitant about seeing her mother, who works at a knitting factory in Zhejiang.
According to statistics from the Ministry of Civil Affairs of the People’s Republic of China, there were more than 9 million left-over children in 2016.
It wasn’t a long journey to the reunion,but Li was quiet, selecting her words carefully while looking out of a window thinking about her mother. She kept her feelings to herself throughout most of the trip.
Li’s mother, Zhu Chunyan, was waiting at the train station for her little girl.
The first thing Zhu said to her daughter was, “Have you finished your mock exam?”The conversations usually begin with subjects that pertain to education and then go on from there.
Despite initial awkwardness, the loving warmth only a mother knows how to give a child was found to be intact. At home, Zhu had gifts waiting for Li, such as clothes, shoes, and snack food.
And then another surprise revealed itself. Li had a step-sister.
After Zhu divorced Li’s father, she remarried and started another family.
For Lunar New Year’s Eve, the three of them had dinner and took photos with one another. Li couldn’t have been any happier.
“She said this was the best Spring Festival she had ever had, and she promised to return next year,” Zhu said.