The Cross Over Of A Loving Wife - 21
Even though the days were cold in a village, the people just could not sit around and do nothing. Therefore, early in the morning, they would dawn their snow clothes to go complete their chores. Meanwhile, the children go play with their friends for a few hours. Due to the harsh environment that the children suffer from, their bodies become sturdier and resistant to most any kind of weather change. It was only the younger ones that needed to be watched carefully, to ensure their safety.
Though the three milk bottles fell into the category of the younger children because of the care they had received from Ding-Xiang over the past few months, they were even sturdier than the older children in the village. Thus, Ding-Xiang allowed them to go out and play in the yard, but this was only after they were covered from head to toe, with their thick snow clothes.
As Ding-Xiang looked out at the two from the door, he became aware of just how cold winters could be before global warming. He huffed and blew on his fingers opting to go further into the kitchen; Aunt Ming saw this and shook her head with a small chuckle. She remembered that when she was pregnant. Even though her family was one of the better-off ones, she still needed to do chores here and there. even in the snow, she never had the luxury of being afraid of cold.
However, she did not look at Ding-Xiang with ridicule but just found him rather cute. The person in question looked at her with pouted lips and crimson cheeks, and she could not help but laugh again. The older woman put her hands together and rubbed hard before she went over, and covered Ding-Xiang’s marshmallow-like cheeks with her hands.
She could swear on her life that even though Ding-Xiang was not fat, he was the fattest pregnant woman or ger she had ever seen in her life. Maybe the madams of those wealthy families in town were like this but she was sure none of them was as cute. She continued to rub her hand and warm Ding-Xiang’s cheeks until the redness receded, looking at his milky face, she resisted the urge to pinch his cheeks.
Since she had first been acquainted with Ding-Xiang, she had seen him as a good child but as of late she wished he really was her son. Thinking of this she could only sigh, such a poor child, it was known in the village, just how terrible the Yu family were. Nevertheless, because they never went over the line no one said anything it was only when that child, Sheng’er, had passed that they had shown their true faces.
Many were fearful they would ruin this small family. So they became happy when De-Lun chose to leave the Yus. He was not afraid of the consequences and stood firm in his choice to leave. Even though no one said it, all of the elders were pleased and they wanted to laugh aloud when they learned how well the child could earn money. The Yu family became a low-key joke among the other villages.
That family had been rich before but just like Wei-Sheng, there was another person that had been used as a working mule by that family, Wei-Sheng’s youngest uncle. The poor man was born at a time when the family was doing terribly and because of this, the deceased old madam had mistreated him. Even then, he still turned around and worked hard for the family when he became older.
The poor man had eventually worked himself to death not even having a chance to marry a wife and leave behind a child, so a few years later only a few remembered him. Of course, when one working mule was gone, another should take its place, and Wei-Sheng was the unlucky candidate. However, this child was not so much of a fool to work for nothing, so the family could not mistreat him like they did his uncle.
Too bad, he passed away and left behind his wife and children. The adults could only lament but knew just like in the past the old family would quickly use out the riches brought by the mule and they have to go back to their old poverty-driven ways. As far as Aunt Ming was concerned they deserved it, she just hoped that they would not try to pull down the child that had managed to getaway.
Aunt Ming looked at Ding-Xiang who was now drinking a glass of hot water and wondered if she should start looking for someone to marry him. She began to go through the list of widowers she knew of, and then picked out the ones that lived well. From that list, she picked out the good-tempered ones, and the ones with good reputations, she looked at the gossip she had heard about their children and looked for the widowers with peaceful children.
It was because she knew Ding-Xiang wouldn’t let his children suffer so trying to get him to marry required finding a good man that also had good and opened minded children. Maybe someone with older children, as she thought of all these things she finally settled on three candidates but scratched one out because his village was too far away. She wanted Ding-Xiang to be close enough that if anything happens they could go and help him.
Ding-Xiang who sat across from Aunt Ming watched her nod to herself, before looking out to his children who were now covered in snow. If he only knew what this old woman was thinking, he would be sure to go into labor because of fright. Even though he only knew this because of what he read, he was sure that Wei-Sheng’s mind was not too stable right now. He could only imagine the catastrophe this old woman would bring on her family if Wei-Sheng came home to hear talks of his remarriage.
As Ding-Xiang watched the milk bottle play, Hui-Ling suddenly paused and let out a little sneeze that was Ding-Xiang’s cue to call them back. The children sat down, their pants legs were folded up and their little feet that had turned pink were placed in a basin of warm water. They were wrapped with a warm blanket and given a glass of warm honeyed water to drink. This was one of the things, that even though it was expensive, Ding-Xiang made sure to stock up on it.
When the children looked warm and the pinkness had receded, he took their feet out of the tub, dried them, and put them in a fresh change of winter clothes. The fact that they have a baby in the family, doing the laundry had to continue even through winter. Therefore, the bamboo poles had been brought inside and put on a rack that Ming Shi had made. The damp snow clothes were placed on them to dry. Ding-Xiang spared no effort when it came to preparing his milk bottles’ things for the winter. Thus, the children had four sets of thick snow clothes each, something Aunt Ming considered extravagant.
If it were a regular family, one set of winter clothes would be prepared for each child, and that one set would be made bigger than the child’s actual size so they could wear it for a few winters. If there were many children, then when that set got small for the child, it would be passed down to the younger sibling and over the years, it would be patched when necessary. It was only when the snow clothes had been worn out beyond saving, that they would be replaced.
In addition, they reuse those worn-out winter clothes for the children to wear in other seasons. Most of the children in well-off families would have two sets. The noble children would have three sets in these areas, but that depended on how favored they were. It was only the youngest child out of all the children in one family that could be considered to have many options because he or she had been given all the wearable hand-me-downs.
If Aunt Ming had known of Ding-Xiang’s plan to spoil his children like this before, then she would have tried to talk him out of it. Not that she would have succeeded. One of Ding-Xiang’s dreams in his old life was to be a father. He wanted to be a good parent just like his mother. Now, that his wish had been granted, despite how it happened, all he wanted to do was spoil his children.
Ding-Xiang could attest that if he had been transmigrated into a well-off family, then four sets of clothing for one season would have been nothing compared to what he would do for them. If he were born with a status of royalty, then he would work as hard as he could to get Hui-Ling the right to study, but those were things that did not happen. Ding-Xiang could only lament and be satisfied with how to spoil his children with what he has now.