Walking down a shop-lined street in Kyoto.
Mom: [to me, cheerfully] The thing that makes me happiest in life is you and Tom. I support all of your dreams. If there is anything you feel passionate about doing, I will support you.
Me: Oh really? I actually just had a new desire around 4pm today. I was eating at that unagi shop when we split apart for the afternoon, and I was reflecting on how my life is too heavily weighted toward selfish things -- improving my knowledge and career, buying clothes and real estate. Even raising children in a few years is a selfish goal, because it's still about my small sphere. I want to start volunteering for a cause that I believe in.
Mom: I support you.
Me: Great! I gave some thought to the causes I identify with. Like maybe a big-sister little-sister program, or helping a shelter for battered women... In the end, I thought that since I'm really in favor of abortion, so in the end, I might donate time helping a non-profit lobby for abortion rights.
Mom: No, I think you should pick a different cause. Volunteering is fine, but don't pick abortion.
Me: Why not?
Mom: Because the anti-abortion people have a good point. They think it's ending a life, and ... even if they make it illegal, they'll still allow it in rare cases to save the life of a mother.
Me: [picking jaw off Kyoto sidewalk] What? How can you be a pro-lifer? You had 2 abortions!
Tom: [to me] Well, looks like you have your first challenger.
Mom: I only had one abortion. We'd just gotten to the States at the time, and your dad said we didn't have enough money. If I kept listening to him, we wouldn't even have your brother now!
Tom: Hmmm. When I think about it that way, Niniane, I'm against abortion too. [grinning] Can't help you with this one.
Tom: [to our mother] I have a dream in life too. I want to buy a Japanese World Cup soccer T-shirt, even though it's really expensive at 25 dollars.
Mom: [quickly] I support you.
Tom: Awesome! [to me] Thanks for making that easy for me.